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Student creates activity event for KinderFrogs students

A student is recruiting volunteers to conduct the first-ever Froggie Day, an event for the on-campus KinderFrogs School, where students with Down syndrome can participate in games and activities with university student volunteers.

Mallory Walther, a junior special education major, said the university awarded her one of the Project Junior Give Back Grants to fund Froggie Day and to encourage other students to give back to the Fort Worth community through their own interests and passions.

Froggie Day activities include a bean bag toss, a coloring station and soccer and baseball games. Walther said the activities have to be simple so all of the children can be involved.

Walther, who transferred from Loyola Marymount University in California last year, said Froggie Day is based on a similar LMU-sponsored event called Special Games, where children with various disabilities came to participate in field day events.

After receiving the grant, the university gave Walther a budget and some ideas to help her get started. She said she also worked with KinderFrogs administrators and adaptive physical education teachers to plan Froggie Day and to get fliers circulating around the KinderFrogs campus.

Vivian Unger, the KinderFrogs School administrative assistant, said Walther approached KinderFrogs with the idea, and said she hopes it will become an annual event for the university and KinderFrogs.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the KinderFrogs participation,” Unger said. “We would love to continue to do this again.”

Fliers advertising the event were sent out to KinderFrogs parents and alumni, Unger said. Because it was specifically designed for KinderFrogs students, Unger said, she hopes there will be a large turnout.

Amy Watson, a sophomore speech pathology major, said the initiative is a great way to involve children with Down syndrome in the university community.

“I work with Down syndrome kids every day, and I think everyone should experience the joy that it brings,” Watson said. “The kids will absolutely love being involved in the games sponsored by TCU, and the student volunteers will be pleasantly humbled by the amount of patience it takes to work with special needs children.”

Walther said she is passionate about helping special needs children because she thinks they are forgotten too often. She said she wants to show the community that they deserve to participate in normal events and activities.

“I wanted to try and provide a day of fun for these children on campus that sometimes people forget to include,” Walther said.

So far, 25 volunteers have signed up, but Walther said she would like more university students to help out.

“I’m doing it also as an awareness event on campus,” Walther said. “That way the volunteers and people who walk around on campus that day will see that just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t mean they can’t have fun and do things like any other child without a disability.”

Beatriz Gutierrez, the AmeriCorps VISTA representative for TCU Transitions, said Project Junior Give Back usually gives grants to three students each year, but Walther and Katie Jones, a junior general studies major, were the only students to receive grants.

Gutierrez said Jones is working on an after-school science mentor program for Fort Worth-area elementary schools.

Froggie Day

When: 12-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Campus Commons

Contact Mallory Walther at [email protected] for more information.

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