PHARR - The dreams of a special needs student and sports fan at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) have become a reality, after accepting a job offer to work at Pro Image Sports at the Plaza Mall.  

Kevin Martinez, who is part of the district's Pathways Toward Independence (PTI) Program and one of seven seniors who will be graduating this May with numerous certificates from South Texas College, has loved volunteering at Pro Image Sports for the last few months. 

According to the Pro Image Sports General Manager Derrick Locke, it has been an honor to work with Kevin and help make his dream of working there come true. 

“We believe in giving people a chance at life. This is a way for us to give back to our community,” said Locke. “It is a pleasure to see a smile on his face. Kevin brings a great spirit to the store when he is here. It is very uplifting. “ 

As part of the PSJA Special Education Department, the PSJA PTI Program promotes the continued development of vocational training skills and/or functional independent living skills to assist special needs students ages 14 to 21 in becoming emergent adults in the community. Through the continued partnership with South Texas College, students like Kevin can earn college certificates in Employability Skills, Customer Service, Office Skills, Floral Design, Photography and Cake Decorating. 

With graduation fast-approaching, PSJA ISD in partnership with Texas Workforce Solutions and Olympia Placement Services recently hosted a vocational adjustment training to help the seniors learn how to navigate the metro system in order to ensure they get to their jobs.  

In addition to Pro Image Sports, PSJA ISD would like to thank the over 15 local business partners, which include businesses such as, At Home, Best Buy, Dairy Queen, Goodwill, Peter Piper Pizza, Pharr Memorial Library, Vany's Flower Shop, and Quinta Mazatlan to name a few. These businesses help provide internship and employment opportunities.

For Locke, he hopes more business owners in the Rio Grande Valley become inspired to provide opportunities for students. 

“We look forward to having Kevin start in August," said the General Manager. “Hopefully it can open the doors for other stores who want to help give these students a chance.”