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Pay It Forward: Rise School of Austin

This Austin preschool teaches kids empathy and compassion.

AUSTIN, Texas — It's not unusual for preschoolers to be a bit shy at dropoff. But once Charlotte steps foot in the classroom, "she is one of the funniest, sassiest little girls I've ever met," said Luvy Wilson.

Wilson knows Charlotte, a student, well. Wilson is her lead teacher at the Rise School of Austin off Manor road. 

"It's a preschool that serves students with developmental delays and students that are typically developing. They work and learn alongside each other and we do that because we have a low student-to-teacher ratio," said the head of school Anne Warren. 

That's four students to every one teacher. Classes are small, kids receive undivided attention and they have access to in-house specialists.

"We have occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and we're able to give every single child what they need to grow and learn," added Wilson. 

Providing these services costs money.  The school is a nonprofit and 50% of its operating costs come through fundraising. COVID-19 is making it difficult, but Charlotte had a plan. 

You see, her aunt created this lifestyle brand website called "Lotte 321." It's named after Charlotte. Lotte, the second half of her name and 321, an ode to Down Syndrome – three copies of the 21st chromosome. 

Each month they pick a charity to give back to and this month Charlotte wanted to support her school where children of all abilities can learn and thrive in an inclusive setting. 

"Oh, my gosh. Charlotte has grown in leaps and bounds," added Warren.

The Rise School of Austin is a place where empathy and compassion are taught. 

"So they might say, why is this friend walking a little slower or why is this friend doing this? We answer in a way that they understand that we're all different no matter what your ability might be," said Wilson. "They learn that acceptance and they learn to respect at such an early age. and then to carry that through their life is just an invaluable lesson to learn so early."

KVUE and Charles Maund Toyota rewarded Charlotte with $1,000 for her work in helping various charities, and well, she paid it forward by giving it to her school.

"I'm just, I'm speechless. That just means so much to us. So thank you," said Warren. 

"Donations like this definitely help us give the children just more service and keeps our school as amazing as it is," added Wilson.

Cheers to Charlotte and the Rise School of Austin for paying it forward.  

If you know someone who's paying it forward and you'd like to nominate them, email us at news@kvue.com.

WATCH: Pay It Forward: The Rise School of Austin


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