Joy Center reaches fundraising goal, plans to visit theme park

Jacob Smith • Sep 28, 2017 at 2:06 PM

The Joy Center will take its long-awaited trip to a theme park next week after it reached its goal in fundraising.

The Joy Center is a nonprofit organization that works to help individuals with special needs. 

The group will leave Thursday for Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio.

Morgan’s Wonderland is the world’s first theme park designed with special needs individuals in mind.

One of the caregivers for the organization saw the theme park on a website, and they began raising funds to make the trip in February.

“All of the rides there are built to be totally inclusive,” said Joy Center volunteer Melissa Henley. “So nobody will have to miss out on anything.”

The organization set a goal of $15,000 for the trip, which would take care of the bus there, as well as lodging.

Money was raised through yard sales, selling handcrafted kits at the trading post and performing challenges for donations.

“I personally faced one of my fears in raising money for the trip,” said Henley. “I’m terrified of snakes, but I promised that if we reached $100, I would touch one, $500, and I would hold one. And If we reached $1,000, which we didn’t, we reached about $780, I would let someone put a snake on me. So I just had to hold a snake.”

The Joy Center raised more than its $15,000 goal through its various fundraisers.

The extra money raised will go toward covering food and other extra costs on the trip. According to Henley, any money left over after the trip will be put toward the organization’s building fund.

The group currently meets at Silver Springs Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., but it has outgrown the space.


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