Nonprofit center for children with disabilities needs help to keep doors open

Saundra Cunningham knows the challenges for families with children who have disabilities.

The Metro Detroit mom created safe space for children with special needs in Wayne, but is looking for some help to keep the nonprofit open.

"I am a parent of a child with a disability and a special need, I know the hurdles of what a parent needs," she said.

Cunningham, who is also a nurse, created a space for people ages 2 to 21 to have fun in a caring and loving environment as their families step away to tend to their own needs. It is called Vonnies World.

"Vonnie is my daughter," she said. "Her name is Savanaugh but we call her Vonnie - so it's Vonnies World and I’m just living in it."

Step inside Vonnie's World and Cunningham calls it a magical experience. Those who go there, like Cunningham’s daughter, see themselves and feel supported.

"We accept all ailments of disabilities and special needs as well," she said.

Cunningham says the typical stay for kids and young adults who come to Vonnies World, is two and half hours per visit.

"It’s $34.99 for the two and a half hours, which is a reasonable amount because they are special needs and you do have a nursing member on staff," she said.

Cunningham tries to keep the cost affordable so families are not stressed out by the fee. But she says the cost still does not cover the care kids receive from the staff.

"A lot of our parents can’t afford that out-of-pocket several times a week if they needed it," she said.

So despite rising costs to operate Vonnies World, Cunningham can’t increase prices.

"The need for this facility at the moment is being able to pay the lease, the lights, and the funding to keep the doors open," she said.

One of the things that’s making it challenging to keep Vonnies World open is the cost to rent this space.

"Without the extra support the doors can be closing as early as next month," she said. "Because it's time to renew the lease and they’re going up on the lease and the rent per month."

A GoFundMe has been created for the community to help Vonnies World stay open. CLICK HERE to donate.

"It’s a place we call family," she said. "We’re family here."

To learn more, go to

Saundra Cunningham and her daughter Vonnie.

Saundra Cunningham and her daughter Vonnie.