AFT and SISD staff group photo and therapy tools

The Socorro American Federation of Teachers, a partner in education with Socorro ISD and a local teachers association, recently donated more than $1,500 worth of behavioral therapy tools for students with sensory needs at Desert Wind School.

Socorro AFT President Veronica Hernandez unveiled the new resources in the sensory room on Feb. 8 with Desert Wind School administrators and a special education teacher at the school. Some of the students with special needs have already had the opportunity to use the new tools, which are helping them manage their daily tasks during the school day.

“This is going to help our students out tremendously with their sensory issues by helping them self- regulate,” said Melissa Delfin, special education teacher in the structured learning unit at Desert Wind School. “I’m grateful to Socorro AFT who really go out and help the community, specifically here at Desert Wind. In the past, we’ve also had book donations from them, so this is just an added cherry on top for our children with special needs. I’m glad they were included in this round of donations.”

Delfin said the new equipment, including a crash mat where the students can lay down, sensory boards, a small trampoline, rings, and hand toys, will allow the students who have unique sensory issues to take a break from their assignments, relax, and refocus their energy during the school day.

The donation was part of the national AFT’s funding from its Powerful Partnerships Institute, showing a commitment to help build strong public schools and communities, according to a Socorro AFT press release.

Hernandez said the association aims to offer programs, benefits, and donations to provide better public education and they continually work toward ensuring suitable funding for public schools.

“Today, we are ecstatic to provide students from Desert Wind with sensory equipment to help with instruction and to also help the teachers. The equipment is helping students with their challenges and helping them with their academic focus,” she said. “We want to make sure the community understands that we need to stand together and fight for what we think is important for public education and push our legislators and governor to provide adequate funding for public schools.”

The AFT funding, totaling $1 million nationally, will support projects designed by and for the community to seed, scale and sustain solutions for items students need, such as items for schoolwork, emotional support, career services, nutrition assistance or broader needs.