Dozens of volunteers with Comal County’s 4-H program will help organize a special livestock show for youth with special needs who otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate.

The fourth annual Special Hearts Livestock Show will be held from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Comal County Fairgrounds. The event is free and open to the public.

“ It’s so meaningful for these children and their families to be able to participate,”  said Victoria Grissom, extension agent for 4-H and youth development with the county’s Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office. “We’re so grateful to our volunteers for putting this show together.”

Launched with 17 participants in 2016, Special Hearts has grown to include about 35 this year, allowing youths with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder and other special needs to experience a petting zoo, be paired with a lamb or goat, and show it before a judge.

About six ambassadors and 50 volunteers will be on hand to help the youth get comfortable with their animals and navigate the pageantry of a stock show, Grissom said.

“This show wouldn’t be possible without our terrific 4-H students and volunteers,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to include youth who otherwise might not have the opportunity to show an animal in a stock show setting.”

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