November 29, 2023
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The MISD special education program has built a bridge with Shelby’s Bridge to enhance hands-on job training and workforce skills for one another. 

“Some of Muleshoe’s special ed students come over here to train, and some of our friends go to Muleshoe for life skills classes at the junior high and high school,” said Shelby’s Bridge administrator Donna Smith. 

MISD special education director Darla Myatt said two students travel to Sudan with part-time special education teacher Brenda Black on Wednesdays. The program has been in place for three years. In the past as many as five special education students made the trip. 

While in Sudan, MISD students get practice in money skills, retail, restaurant and floral design. 

“It’s a wonderful program,” Myatt said. “Donna Smith and Shelby’s Bridge even helped the kids get hooked up with Spartan transportation to go over there.” 

Shelby’s Bridge participants, known as friends, come from Sudan to help out at Crazy Consuela, a downtown Muleshoe store that designs T-shirts and other clothing items. In addition, they take transition courses at Watson Jr. High and one class at the high school. These classes reinforce money and retail skills. 

“We love Shelby’s Bridge,” Myatt said. “After graduation last year they offered two of our students jobs. One of them continues to work there.” 

According to the Shelby’s Bridge website, Shelby’s Bridge in Sudan is a nonprofit gift and thrift shop, the brainchild of Shelby Leopold. Leopold, who taught special education for 10 years, saw a need for adults with disabilities who had left high school to keep up their skills by helping to run a retail store. 

“Donna and Shelby are just wonderful,” Myatt said. “Shelby comes over here and teaches our kids one day a week.” 

MISD contracts with Shelby’s Bridge for their services. 

“They charge us a fee, which is part of my budget,” Myatt said. “It’s a service that we provide our kids. The money is well worth it.” 

Gail M. Williams, Muleshoe Journal Correspondent


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