WRTS St. Ann

Pay It Forward: Local mom gives special needs children safe and welcoming place to play – FOX2Now

ST. ANN, Mo. – Celeste Brown felt it was so important for her special needs son to play with children of all abilities that she spent her life savings to open an indoor playground that is fun, safe, and inclusive for all kids.

More than a thousand children have walked through the doors of We Rock the Spectrum Gym in St. Ann since it opened last year. Celeste’s mom, Lois, nominated her daughter for our Pay It Forward award – a $500 gift card from First Bank.

Celeste was considering retirement from her job as an administrative assistant at a religious organization a few years ago but that changed after she adopted a 6-year-old boy who is on the autism spectrum.

“I met him and in15 minutes I’m getting choked up,” she said. “In 15 minutes, I knew that he was going to change my whole trajectory and he did.”

Celeste’s son and hundreds of other children of all abilities have a colorful, sensory place with soft equipment to play. And red letters on the wall display the gym’s motto: “Finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry.”

“Everybody can play and you’re not lessening play for your typical developing children and you’re not placing play out of reach for your children with special needs, so that’s why I’m passionate about what I do,” Celeste said.

Pay It Forward is brought to you by First Bank. If you would like to nominate a deserving person for the award go to fox2now.com and look for the Pay It Forward page.

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