SCOTTSDALE (3TV/CBS 5) - It takes a lot of love and patience to be a special needs teacher, and Janine "Gigi" Boras can't imagine doing anything else.
"I feel like they teach me more than we teach them," said Boras. "They teach me how to be more patient and appreciate the small things and be more loving."
Boras has spent the past four years helping children with autism at the Chrysalis Academy in Scottsdale.
The job itself can be extremely challenging, but the past few months have proven to be an even greater struggle as Boras battles through an assortment of health issues.
She been forced to take some time off from work, but she'd rather be in class than at home.
"It's been really hard, and they just bring such a light to my life," said Boras. "I feel like its definitely part of my healing process, physically, emotionally and spiritually."
Co-worker Ayesha Garnaj has seen how dedicated Boras is to her kids. In spite of her health problems, so she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to the most dedicated teacher she's ever met.
"She just makes the world a better place for the kids the staff," said Garnaj. "It's a good thing."
A CBS 5 news camera was rolling when co-workers surprised Boras in class and gave her $500.
"Gigi has more empathy and compassion for people in all walks of life than anyone I've ever met," Garnaj told Boras. "Gigi is the definition of kindness. She cares for these kids at school like her own. She is always supporting her peers and bringing everyone us. She is reliable and kind and selfless, so on behalf of channel 5 and all of us at Chrysalis, we Pay It Forward to you."