A Special Place For Us

Like most teens, Troy Butler enjoys playing sports and games with friends.

But Autism makes life a little more challenging for him.

Thanks to his mom, Cheryl, Troy and other young adults with special needs are gaining confidence and competency for life beyond high school while having fun.

“Troy has had a great time through high school and like all parents of special needs kids, we’re worried about what’s going to happen after,” said Cheryl. “So I wanted to create somewhere he could continue to have socialization with all his friends.”

So she began the organization “A Special Place for Us.”

One of the group’s signature events is the “Saturday Spectacular” where members gather at the end of the week for kickball, karaoke, Wheel of Fortune, and art.

“I think I decided to come because I wanted to get out of the house and do something,” said Taya Finch, a freshman at Neuqua Valley High School.

“There’s so much laughter and it’s so much fun and it’s some place where they can go for three hours on a Saturday night and hang out just like any other kid,” said Cheryl.

Other high schoolers make the evening possible, helping Butler set up and then facilitating the various activities.

“They do need to have this night because they are people and want the same thing as everyone else,” said Maddie Martin, a teen volunteer with the group. “It just comes harder to them.”

“It’s just such a great environment,” said Lindsey Graham, also a volunteer. “Everyone’s so happy here and the kids have such a positive energy, it puts me in such a great mood and I love it so much.”

Cheryl’s son and Troy’s older brother, Sean, volunteers as well and says it’s a great way to spend his time while home from college.

“What I see when I come in here is a million smiling faces, laughter, everybody’s having a great time,” said Sean.

A $5,000 donation from neighbors helped get “A Special Place for Us” started with a bunch of equipment Cheryl stores in her garage. She hopes to one day have a social center and art studio built for the group. In the mean time, she’s working to make it a registered not-for-profit.

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