Special Needs Group Raises Money For New Campus

Posted at 7:11 PM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 20:11:12-05

The non-profit group 'Empower Me' helps children in nine counties, but before they can build a new campus in Lebanon, the city has to approve rezoning for the land.

The group is trying to raise millions of dollars to build a campus in Wilson County. One parent told us there is a growing need for full-time help.

The daughter of Jimmy Wright of Wright Printing Company attends the Empower Me summer camp. When you walk in his business you'll notice the little girl, Paige Wright, front and center.

"I said give the thumbs up, and that's kind of her, Paige guarantees thumbs up service, so she likes the attention and all so," Wright laughed.

He loves his daughter. Paige has lived with cerebral palsy and a movement disorder called Dystonia for most of her life.

She's 20 years old. She started attending the camp for children with disabilities when she was 6 years old.

Wright said, "Those kids they relate to each other and they love each other and they're attracted to each other and when they get to be together they have a blast."

Empower Me has been around since 1999, but has no permanent home. Executive Director MIchelle Hill showed NewsChannel 5 a plan to build a campus like facility. It's called the Empower Me Center.

The facility will allow children to stay in the program longer.

There are even cottages for young adults who can be on there own with a little adult supervision.

Hill said, "We need a place of our own to be able to offer not just a summer camp and not just some year round events, but an actual young adult program so that these individuals can continue on to participate with us."

The facility would be built on 16 and a half acres near University Medical Center on Carver Lane. 

The cost was expected to be about 15 million dollars. Hill wants to start raising money, but first she needs the city to rezone the land.

Jimmy Wright is all for anything that helps his daughter.  

Wright said, "She should have the advantages that all kids have to be happy and have a place to go and enjoy and be with with friends."

The Lebanon Planning Commission passed the  proposal from Empower Me at its meeting Tuesday night, pushing it to the city council.