All Lisa Sacino wants to do with her after-school program called Red Shirt Rookies is change the lives of all involved.
"They become friends and it's magic to watch it happen, to watch it unfold," Sacino said.
She is the physical education teacher at Black Forest Hills Elementary School in Aurora. This is an Integrated Learning Center for the Cherry Creek School District where 21 students with special needs attend classes with traditional students.
For the past four years, Sacino has led Red Shirt Rookies a program where able-bodied students help their classmates with special needs experience sports.
"Kids show tolerance and acceptance just by teaching the skill of basketball, dribbling or when we did flag football," Sacino said.
Erik Gustafson is a fifth grade student who has helped coach athletes with special needs for two years.
"Because I care about these kids," Erik said.
His partner this week is 5-year-old Ashaun Ramsey who spends his life in a wheelchair unable to walk, talk, or see. Anthony Ramsey adopted Ashuan after the boy's grandfather brutally attacked him leaving with a traumatic brain injury.
"He was shaken at the age of two and so he wasn't supposed to live," Ramsey said.
Now, Ramsey brings Ashaun to the Red Shirt Rookies program where he appreciates kids like Erik helping his son learn how to play with a basketball.
"He could be a kid that just stays home and lays in bed all day, but instead he's getting to live life," Ramsey said.
In order to be in the program, Erik had to be selected.
"It's an extreme honor to be in this program," Erik said.
Sacino says when she picks a student, it's like a badge of honor.
"Kids have to show tolerance and acceptance in PE to get asked to be a Red Shirt Rookie coach," Sacino said. "It's not just a given. It's earned."
She says it's a program that helps every kid -- be a kid.
"He makes a huge grin on his face and he laughs so much and I love it," Erik said.
Ramsey says this is a making a big impact on Ashaun's life.
"When you get to see that, there's no better feeling. No better feeling to see him smile, hear him laugh," Ramsey said.
The Red Shirt Rookies Program was created by the Special Olympics. Sacino says more schools should reach out to Special Olympics to explore the idea of creating their own program.
"I couldn't tell you who it's more beneficial for, the athlete who's our special needs student; the coach is our kid learning how to coach -- or me -- cause I get to sit back and watch the magic happen," Sacino said.