The guest speaker was Lisa Whelchel who played Blair on the TV Show the Facts of Life was the keynote speaker. (T. Swann)
On Thursday, Special Kids announced at its Friendraiser Banquet that the organization has received a nearly $1.5 million grant from the Christy-Houston Foundation to build a new facility and expand its services to children with special needs.
The announcement was made at the organization's 15-year anniversary celebration to the 450 guests in attendance.
The Christy-Houston Foundation’s grant will provide funding for the building project on two acres of property located on the corner of East Main Street and Arnette Street in Murfreesboro.
The organization plans to build a 6,000-square-foot building that will house its rehabilitation services and allow the nonprofit to refit its existing building to expand its pediatric prescribed skilled nursing program. Special Kids officials said they plan to break ground this fall and have the project completed in the spring of 2014.
"We recognize that there are many worthwhile organizations in our community for the Christy-Houston Foundation to support," said Chris Truelove, executive director of Special Kids. "It is humbling that they would choose to fund us once again, but it is also a tremendous blessing that we have the opportunity to serve even more children in Middle Tennessee."
The Christy-Houston Foundation was a key player in helping Special Kids to open its doors debt free in September of 1998 through a $110,000 grant, he said.
Co-founders of Special Kids, Dick Klienau and his daughter Carrie Goodwin, both had a vision to serve Jesus Christ by meeting the needs of children with special needs. Through their efforts, the organization has served more than 2,500 children since that time, with an average of 400 children per year.
"This expansion will allow our rehab and skilled nursing services to double the amount of children we currently serve," Truelove said. "This is a tremendous leap in meeting the goal of our vision that we will glorify Jesus Christ and meet the needs of everyone we touch -- one child, one family, one community at a time.
"In our growing community, it has been a constant concern that with our limited space, we were not truly able to meet the needs of our community. Now, with the help of the Christy-Houston Foundation, we have hope that we will meet the growing need in a much more impactful way."