Ball residents start non-profit organization for special needs children

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BALL, La. (KALB) - Members of the community of Ball are stepping up to meet the needs of their neighbors. It's an organization called "The Broom Tree", with a mission that hits close to home for a couple of the founding women.

Image Source: Broom Tree Organization

"We both have kids with significant needs but very differently,” said Rachel Sasser, Broom Tree board member. “Like my child has cerebral palsy, but he doesn't have autism, and so it's not about what your needs are. Everybody's hard is hard."

So, friends and community leaders decided to help with those difficulties. The Broom Tree is a non-profit organization aimed at supporting special needs children and their families, with a meaning behind its name. The Broom Tree was taken from Scripture as a symbol of the hope that comes from despair.

"It's not just about monetary funding,” said Sasser. “It's about emotional support, community support. Just kind of a place for everybody to come and feel safe together no matter what your kids' significant needs are."

It's still a budding organization, but last Saturday, they held a community day to kick off the project that's already made steps toward accomplishing its mission.

"We were actually able to award a family in Ball an amount of money for a trip that's coming up to the mayo clinic,” said Amy Chandler, another board member.

The community event brought attention to the organization and its mission.

"We wanted to bring families together to meet up, because a lot of us don't know one another…and help one another out,” said board member Challie Mercer. “And then also we wanted to offer a free event for kids to come out and play and… just a family day, just a fun family Saturday."

But starting the organization hasn't been the work of just a few people. It's been a community effort. Marc Mercer, a Ball councilman who also owns his own business, is giving up his entire councilman salary to get the organization on its feet.

"What I'm planning to do is help the town and at the same time I think I have a good way to help the town and then also help special needs children in the town,” said Mercer.

Since taxpayers’ money pays Mercer's salary, services provided by that money will stay in Ball, but all other funds will go to help out all of Central Louisiana.

To find out more on how to help and get involved, you can visit The Broom Tree Facebook page.

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