LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) – A new environment where all children are welcome is up and running in Laurel.

a store filled with lots of furniture: The Social Club in Laurel provides inclusive recreation for all children.

© Provided by Hattiesburg-Laurel WDAM-TV
The Social Club in Laurel provides inclusive recreation for all children.

Crystal Phillips, the founder and director of operations at The Social Club knew she needed to do something to provide an inclusive space for her son, Tristan, after he was diagnosed with Autism.

“This has been on my heart and my mind for about five years now,” said Phillips.

The Social Club provides an opportunity for those with Autism to interact with children without disabilities. It has a play space, arcade games as well as noise reduction headphones and sensory play items.

According to Phillips, it stresses the importance of inclusivity.

“Our space is open to all individuals because that’s the idea of being inclusive,” said Phillips. “It’s not to set them apart, it’s not to create one day a month that’s sensory-friendly, but it’s to create a space where they’re supported at all times.”

And, she says The Social Club has one main goal.

“The importance of acceptance,” said Phillips. “I think that’s the number one thing. I think one thing we hope to accomplish by this is teaching the importance of knowing that everyone is different… And, that’s what makes the world beautiful. And just the acceptance and understanding that just because someone looks different, or acts different or talks different doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun and we can’t be friends and we can’t enjoy life together.”

They need your help to keep expanding the facility.

“The next part of this is going to be a much bigger price tag than this,” said Phillips. “Luckily, we were donated a lot of the play equipment that’s in here, but this next part is going to cost us about $40,000-$50,000 dollars to make happen.”

You can contact The Social Club directly by phone at 601-342-5247. To visit their website, click here.

Copyright 2020 WDAM. All rights reserved.

Continue Reading