Twenty years ago Jackie Zigtema began taking her special education students on a Christmas shopping trip to help them learn valuable real-world skills. It was not long after that her brother Steve Mostyn decided to help find ways to help expand the program.
Today the Glenda Jean Mostyn and Joe E. Moreno Educational Foundation sponsor an annual Christmas Lights shopping trip and luncheon in 19 school districts, with more than 1,250 students.
“We did it on a small scale, (Steve) came and then said I came and he’d call me the next year and say let’s add a school,” Zigtema said. “It’s an unbelievable gift to these kids.”
Caring for special needs students is a family affair; the foundation is named in honor of their mother Glenda Jean, who spent her career working with students at the old St. Louis school.
Foundation Executive Director Monte Osburn said the event with Whitehouse Independent School District was especially meaningful this year. The family hails from Whitehouse and this marked the first shopping trip since Steve passed away in November.