Center that cares for kids with disabilities in Wayne gets life-changing donation

Saunda Cunningham already had good news going into the new week after a story showcasing her center's dire financial restraints.

But she had no idea what gift would be waiting for her on Monday when she arrived ready to talk about the community's support for Vonnies World.

Cunningham's respite center is for families with children who have cognitive impairments and disabilities. Vonnies World caters to people ages 2 to 21 and provides a safe and loving environment that parents can drop their children off at while they step away to run errands or tend to their own needs.

But with rent rising from $1,200 to $1,375 a month, she could see the financial slope her business was up against. 

"I was very afraid of having to close the doors," she said. 

But after a story showcasing her business was broadcasted last week, she said $10,000 in donations rolled through. On Monday, she wanted to thank the biggest contributor who offered to pay for rent for a year.

But when Cunningham met Tanya Byars, a licensed clinical social worker, she whispered something in her ear. That's when Cunningham burst into tears.

"So it’s not for a year, it’s just for however long she’s open," said Byars.

Cunningham had a lot to say in between the cheers of joy, including hallelujah.

"Her program is just amazing because I have three kids that have disabilities and I wish I would have had something like this when they were young," said Byars. "I didn’t have the help and just to get a break was really hard."

Byars made the decision to support Cunningham after seeing the story about Vonnies World.

And with the added help, Cunningham has also received a number of toys for the center. Additionally, it could mean she will be able to offer even more help to parents who need it.

"When the community can come together, we are so much more together than we are individually," she said.

Find the organization's gofundme here.