Joy Center hopes to raise funds for theme park trip

Jake Old • Updated Feb 18, 2017 at 11:00 AM

When Sue Denney, director of the Joy Center, saw the look of disappointment in the faces of her children who could not enjoy all of the rides at an amusement park due to physical disabilities, it tugged at her heart.

The Joy Center is a nonprofit organization that works to help individuals with special needs. Denney has adopted nine children with special needs, and eight of them still live with her.

“We, as parents, have seen the disappointment on faces when they can’t get on the rides,” Denney said. “In their minds, they know they can enjoy it, but with their physical disabilities, there’s liabilities.”

Denney eventually caught wind of Morgan’s Wonderland, an amusement park in San Antonio, Texas, that was built with special needs people in mind.

“That became a goal for my family, to be able to go there and have that experience,” Denney said.

Instead of just her family, however, Denney and other volunteers at the Joy Center want to bring all of their clients — also called VIPs — to the amusement park.

The Joy Center is looking to pull out all the stops when it comes to raising funds for this trip. They have several fundraising events planned, such as a yard sale in April and car washes, and they also accept donations on a GoFundMe page.

The goal is to raise $15,000 by July 1, so they can surprise their VIPs with the announcement at the organization’s annual Christmas in July party. The money will cover transportation and lodging during the trip, which is scheduled for Oct. 5-10.

“We want don’t want this to be a financial burden on the families because of all of the expenses with having special needs individuals,” Denney said. “We want to provide it free of charge for our families, except for minor expenses.”

If more than $15,000 is raised, the remaining funds will go toward the organization’s building fund. They currently meet at Silver Springs Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., but they have outgrown the space.

For more information about the Joy Center and its endeavors to raise money for this special trip, visit joycenterinc.com. A link to the GoFundMe page can also be found on the website. 

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