Libraries are usually quiet places, but sometimes, they are places to laugh, talk and have a great time at Horn High School in Mesquite.
That’s because on some days, Horn’s Heroes meet there.
It’s a football player-driven program where the athletes spend time with students who have special needs.
Cam Jackson, 17, is one of those football players.
"I have a sister and she has special needs, so I live with that and know what it’s like," Jackson said. "So, every time I see students like him in the hallway, I always speak to them because I know what they are going through."
The student Jackson is talking about is Xavier Shaw, 15, who loves football, math and just so happens to have special needs.
They met all thanks to a new program at their school called Horn’s Heroes. The Horn High football players and their buddies hang out different days out of the week.
The idea came from Kody Groves, who is now the athletic director of Mesquite ISD. A few years ago, he was the head coach at Poteet High School and started the program there, knowing that it would be two-fold.
It's a program teaching these young people lessons they won't learn from a textbook.
"You think it’s really pouring into and investing in the special needs kids, but [its actually helping] the athletes too, it’s amazing what it does for them," Groves said. "I took this job to kind of help kids learn how to serve and how to pour into the community. Not just outside but start with their campus. Learn how to treat each other right and invest in each other. If that becomes important to them, if that becomes important to them, then they will change the world."
Groves has seen so much success with the programs at Poteet and Horn, he said he hopes to get the program going at every high school in the district.
Jackson said he probably would have never met Xavier if it weren’t for the program and he is so thankful they are now friends.
"Everybody counts," Jackson said. "Every life is precious no matter what you were born with. No matter your difference. If you are alive you mean something to someone and Xavier means a lot to me."