Tiny Super Heroes


Sometimes a person comes into our life that changes everything for the better. This article is about how showing someone you care can make a world of difference in their worldview perception. The person I would like to thank today is Mrs. Stephanie Wunderlich, an amazing Special Ed teacher in the K-W school district. Stephanie is one of those people who go the extra distance to make her students feel special. This in turn can change the outcome of a child's education, and indeed, the child themself.

Stephanie grew up in Mazeppa, and graduated from Zumbrota-Mazeppa school. She then went to Rochester Community Technical College to continue her education.

She began her college education in Law Enforcement, and soon discovered that that was not the life path she wanted. She changed direction and received her Associate's Degree in Human Services from RCTC, and her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from St. Mary's University in Winona. While working as a paraprofessional she began a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education while working as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher in Spring Valley, Kingsland School District. She then moved to Faribault and began working at Cannon River STEM school in Faribault, and 2 years ago came to the Kenyon-Wanamingo school system, and from what I hear, that was a good decision all around! She is married to Guy, who is a Kenyon-Wanamimgo graduate, they have 3 children. Mila is 7, Sloane is 3, and Harlow is 3 months old. They live in Faribault.

When you think of a SuperHero, you can see that they have capabilities beyond the normal human. They are strong, helpful, smart, and always a positive influence on others. Super Heroes wear capes that give them special powers to help others. The cape is meant to distinguish the one who wears it as a person who overcomes adversity, and this is what the program is all about. There are about 130 special needs children in the K/W school system currently, and I dare say every one of them deserves a cape!

This past February, Stephanie nominated Keshawn, a student with Down Syndrome and alopecia, to the Tiny SuperHeroes Capes and Community Program. This program empowers extraordinary kids as they overcome illness and disability. The Tiny Super Heroes Program was started a few years ago by a mother with special needs children. The program is meant to show the kids that they can be superheroes, and that everyone has a special gift to share with the world. To read more about this program, you can visit Tinysuperheroes.com. The Tiny Super Hero Squad is over 100,000 children from 28 different countries strong, and has been featured on several popular television shows to bring awareness to the needs of children with disabilities, and those who have debilitating illnesses to overcome.

I asked Stephanie to tell me about Keshawn and the impact the Capes program had on him. "Keshawn is a vibrant 5-year-old Kindergarten student who brings joy to everyone he comes in contact with. Keshawn's family moved here last year when he was in preschool and very quickly became part of the KW family. I heard about Tiny Superheroes through a former coworker and Keshawn was the first student that came to mind. Keshawn is a student with Down Syndrome & alopecia, but first and foremost he is a little boy who lights up a room. He is so full of joy and happiness, he continues to raise the bar in all he does, and he just overwhelms me with happiness. When I first started working with Keshawn, he wasn't communicating or interacting very well. Fast forward to now, and he is doing both so wonderfully. It is a heartwarming victory to watch him learn and grow. Keshawn's Tiny Superhero Cape represents his extraordinary qualities that make him different from others, and reminds us to celebrate the differences that make him unique. His campaign was launched on February 8th, and his cape was funded within a few hours of being live. Once his cape was funded with $30, the money that is raised beyond that goes to personalize his cape with patches chosen unique to him & also to sponsor capes for other amazing kids like Keshawn. We recently met our next goal of $200 which allowed other capes to be sponsored and also allowed me to order patches to add to his cape." It sounds like the Cape's program is working for Keshawn!

If you would like to sponsor a child for the Tiny Superhero cape program in the K-W school system, you can contact Stephanie at swunderlich@gced.K12.mn.us to learn more about sponsorship. If you have a desire to sponsor a child outside of K-W, there are forms on the Tiny Super Hero website for you to make your contribution.

March 21st is the Down Syndrome Awareness Day. In honor of this day, all students and faculty of the K-W schools are asked to wear brightly colored socks to commemorate this day....so let's Rock Your Socks, people!

Congratulations to Keshawn on his new cape, and to Stephanie for her ongoing commitment to helping those lucky kids in her care!