SANFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Students at Sanford Junior High School surprised a local family with more than $1,700 worth of gifts in an effort to pay it forward.

The school's "Jobs in Maine Graduates" program held a penny drive over the last few weeks to raise the money. Two-year-old Emmie Pray was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after her first birthday. Her family has had her in a number of different therapies to help with walking and movement. Her most recent therapy is called hippotherapy, which involves individuals working with horses to gain strength and balance.

Emmie's mother Jessica told us she loves riding Wally the horse at Carlisle Academy.

"It kind of gives her a chance to just be a kid instead of just being in, you know, an occupational therapy setting," said Jessica Pray.

The family said the donation is extremely, as most of the cost that comes from these therapy sessions are not covered by insurance.

"Financially it's definitely going to help, most of this therapy is not covered and for us to be able to continue it with her is a really big deal, its a way of giving her therapy but also letting her have fun," said Emmie's father, Ross.

Sanford students hope more "pay it forward" gestures will come from this act of kindness.