CHICAGO — A classroom on Chicago’s West Side has morphed into a full-on wood toy workshop.

The assignment in Peter LeGrand’s Proviso Area for Exceptional Children is to build a toy, with love, for Christmas.

“These guys have intellectual challenges, physical challenges,” LeGrand said. “We have kids who had cancer, kids who have had brian surgery. And they have fantastic attitudes. They come in every morning with a big smile, lots of hugs.”

Every boat, car and dino was handpainted with a young child in mind.

All of the toys are going to other kids.

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A gift that gives as much to the toy maker as the kid who will receive it.

“I think we all need to know we make a difference,” LeGrand said. “I think these guys really need to know they make a difference and they do.”

It’s a lesson about the ability we all possess to put something special out there in the world.

This is the 20th year LeGrand has had his students make wooden toys to donate to area shelters at Christmas.