Special needs students help Pay it Forward to cooking teacher

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Bo Larsen, with the Civitan Foundation, has seen firsthand the impact Rachel Morningstar has had on her students, so he reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the Culinary teacher with the big heart. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Bo Larsen, with the Civitan Foundation, has seen firsthand the impact Rachel Morningstar has had on her students, so he reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the Culinary teacher with the big heart. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Rachel Morningstar teaches gardening, food education and cooking. But that's not all. She also teaches life skills to some very special students.

"Every day I see something magical that makes me smile every day," said Morningstar.

Morningstar is a culinary instructor at Phoenix's Civitan Foundation, a place where folks with special needs live life to the fullest.

The devoted teacher has made it her mission to show students how to eat healthier, be more independent, and feel like they're no different from anyone else.

"Being able to make a difference, to make them feel good about themselves, to learn something new, to try something new is what it's all about," said Morningstar.

Bo Larsen, with the Civitan Foundation, has seen first-hand the impact Morningstar has had on her students, so he reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the culinary teacher with the big heart.

"She leaves here with a smile on her face and that music in her heart because she's doing it all day," said Larsen. "Every class she does is full of love."

A CBS 5 news camera was rolling when Larsen surprised Morningstar during one of her classes.

"You always have fun with all our members," said Larsen.

"You teach them so much about safety, food products, how to do things, but you make It enjoyable and not just for class but entire Civitan building. On behalf of CBS 5 News I nominated you for Pay it Forward and I want to give you $500."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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