4th grader, teacher working to raise money for sensory room at NKC elementary

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A family in the North Kansas City School District is working towards a lofty goal. They want to raise enough money to build a sensory room for students at Gracemor Elementary.

Wilson Reynolds is a curious fourth grader in Mikaela Kingsolver’s class.

He recently turned 10 years old and his mom, Leigh, decided to organize a reverse birthday parade where they would drive around town and see his friends.

“So I thought, well, we’ll play hooky. We’ll play hooky and take the day off. And I’ll surprise them and we’ll drive around town, and I thought I’d have some fun different activities for him to do around town,” she said.

During the drive, Leigh came up with an idea of what to do with Wilson’s birthday money.

“It’s fun to have a party and open the gifts, but he he doesn’t need it. I thought all of that could be better used if we could leverage it to help raise some money for this sensory room,” she said.

A sensory room is a room designed to help kids improve their motor skills and maintain a sense of calm and comfort. The rooms are especially helpful to children who have autism, like Wilson.

Wilson remembers his time in a sensory room in the first grade.

“It’s like fun,” he said. “It was fun.”

Kingsolver said the room will have a light table and a soft area.

“Over here, we’re hoping to have a little soft area with like a light table so that we can have the kids in there and have some sensory input with lights and things of that nature. Over in the corner, we’re gonna have a big bubble wall with mirrors. So that it looks like there’s a lot of different bubble walls,” she said.

Kingsolver, along with the Reynolds family, set up a fundraiser to help raise money for the sensory room. You can donate to the fundraiser on her Donors Choose page.

When the room is finished, Wilson’s birthday adventure will have an impact for years to come.

“It made me feel happy,” he said.


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