Project Sunshine held its first Meet and Greet Friday evening at the Katy and E. Don Walker Education Center, and volunteers, parents and children ate pizza while they talked, met their buddies and learned more about the disabled community in Huntsville.

Project Sunshine is a nonprofit and nondenominational student organization at Sam Houston State University that provides free services and programs to children/adults ages 3 to 22 with special needs and to their families.

Vanesse Zuniga is the historian for Project Sunshine and a senior at Sam Houston State University majoring in education.

“I got involved with Project Sunshine because it’s a great opportunity to make a difference, to show the children that we care about them, and it’s a great chance for experience in working with disabled people.” she said.

Project Sunshine is also trying to open up more opportunities for disabled children through sports activities and the buddy program. Beckie Berner has a son with special needs. Her family heard about the program from a support group and working with Project Sunshine’s faculty advisor.

“They don’t offer enough sports and recreation for special kids. That will help give these kids a chance to participate in sports activities and social programs” she said.

Angela Varner, one of the many volunteers present, is a senior at SHSU majoring in psychology.

“My buddy and I are very close to one another and working with her is giving me a better outlook. I have the chance to do things with her that her mom might not have time to do or just to give her mom a break for a while. I think this opportunity is giving me a chance to broaden my horizon as well as hers,” she said.

Project Sunshine will hold another event at the Fall Festival on Oct. 28. Get more information about Project Sunshine’s events through the monthly newsletter or on the Web site at or call Diana Willmann at (936) 662-0005.

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