HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Kathryn Costley doesn't punch a clock, her profession is her calling. She is a special education teacher at Highland Springs High School.
"It is very gratifying. It is why I do what I do," Kathryn said. "I’m very dedicated to children."
Children like 15-year-old Avante, who lives with autism.
Avante's family moved to Henrico in November.
Kathryn, a former social worker, noticed her new student wore the same clothes day after day.
She quickly learned from Avante's mom, Terisha Ford, there was a very good reason for the child's repetitive wardrobe.
Terisha said a Maryland-based moving company she hired for $700, stole the family's belongings. The mother of four said she was left with very little.
"They took stuff that was really important to me. That can’t be replaced," Terisha said. “They took everything. TV’s, couches. My baby clothes. All the stuff I accumulated over time.”
When Kathryn learned about the family's struggles, she sprung into action.
She called friends and colleagues who donated clothes and household items.
“We’ve had so many people contact me, 'Where can we drop off donations? What can we do?'” Kathryn said.
She is using this as a real-life teaching moment with her students. The teens are helping organize the donations to help their classmate and his family cope.
“Life skills. Functional life skills. As you see they had to work together. They had to work as a group," Kathryn said.
A grateful Terisha said Kathryn was heaven sent.
"If you really believe in angels. This is it," Terisha said. “I don’t know what I can do to pay her back. It's tough to find people like that. It is very hard.”
Kathryn Costely a teacher whose dedication goes well beyond the three R's. Kathryn includes lots of TLC.
"Once you step foot into the classroom you’re part of the family," Kathryn said. "It doesn’t matter if you’re here five years, two years or 10 days. You’re part of the family.”
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