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Mom says Gardiner Scholarship will open new opportunities

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More sunshine and less gray days, that’s how a local mother of three calls Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement earlier this month to remove all families from the waitlist for the Gardiner Scholarship.

The scholarship provides funds for families with students with special needs. Those funds can be put toward a variety of programs including schools, therapists and more.

Brittney Wilson says her three children -- two with special needs -- are on the waitlist but believes taking them off the waitlist will help her children grow.

The three Wilson boys are homeschooled and learn in the comfort of their own home.

“The frustration and the worry he was going through wasn’t a good fit, so we decided to bring him home and my other two shortly followed after,” Wilson said. She adds that homeschooling was the best option for each of her three boys. Jamari, 8, has ADHD. Josiah, 4, has a speech delay. Jace, 2, has autism.

“We’re really building around their interests and strengthening on what they need strengthening on but they just get to be themselves,” Wilson said.

However, homeschooling comes with a price tag.

"As a mom, a special-needs mom at that, worrying is at the top of our list. Can we do everything? Can we give them everything they need​?" Wilson added.

That’s why the governor’s announcement last month at the North Florida School for Special Education brought a huge smile to Wilson’s face.

Nearly two thousand families would be taken off the waitlist for the Gardiner Scholarship.

“My eyes lit up that’s when I found out about it. I was so excited,” Wilson said.

Her two youngest sons will be eligible for the scholarship and she’s hoping they receive them this summer. She said her sons’ futures have never looked brighter.

“I pray and I thank God for the scholarship, and what it means for us specifically but just to an entire community that needs it,” Wilson added. Brittney said music and animal therapy are just a few new services not covered by insurance that her sons may be able to receive with the help of the Gardiner Scholarship. For more on the Gardiner Scholarship, visit: The Gardiner Scholarship Program.