SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) -- In the halls of Washington Middle School in Springfield, students are faced with more than just the daily challenges in the classroom.
"The majority of our kids qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch, said Roxanne Baker, the school social worker.
Of the 650 students who attend there, many of them come from single-parent homes.
Principal Vincent Turner said, "We have a wide diverse group of students and some may not have the same opportunities as others."
But one school employee is going far and beyond to reach out to those kids: Darryl Williams.
"Daryl is dedicated to working with the students here,” Principal Turner said.
Baker said, “He's the first one to notice if a kid is wearing the same outfit every day or maybe their shoes aren't the nicest."
Darryl has been the Security Guard at Washington Middle School for thirteen years. A few years ago he started the 50 Smiles Program to raise money and clothing donations to help these children.
Darryl Williams said, "I feel good being able to walk down these halls every day to see the people in need and be able to help."
Darryl realizes feeling safe and secure is something that goes far beyond these walls.
"A lot of kids don't have a father figure,” Williams said. “It could be games where the father can't show up so I'll step in. It's just something that comes with the job. You have to be passionate about what you do."
It's that passion that makes him unique which is why we've chosen Darryl as this month's Pay It Forward recipient.