DENHAM SPRINGS -- Special needs children and their families are invited to the “Rylee Gives Back Fall Festival” at North Park in Denham Springs on Sunday, Oct. 13.

The festival will be held from 2-5 p.m. and will include activity booths, candy stations, food, crafts, face painting, balloon characters and more. There will also be trick-or-treat tables, refreshments from Smoothie King, and volunteers from multiple churches and organizations.

The point of the festival, according to organizer Amber Roberts, is to create an environment where special needs children “won’t feel judged and can just be themselves.”

“We want it to be just for special needs children and their families,” said Amber Roberts, organizer of the event. “This will be a time for them to have fun, relax, and just enjoy themselves.”

The event is being sponsored by Rylee Gives Back, a local non-profit organization dedicated to assisting special needs children.

Amber and her husband Matt formed Rylee Gives Back in memory of their daughter, who passed away at 2 years old on March 14, 2018. Following her passing, the Roberts family started the non-profit organization to benefit other special needs children, like Rylee, who was born with a genetic disorder called Miller Dieker Syndrome.

Since its formation, the organization has made weighted blankets for local autistic children, feeding tube kits for children, and receiving blankets for the local neonatal intensive care unit. Rylee Gives Back has also purchased and donated preemie/newborn onesies and socks to the local NICU.

“Our goal is to reach out and help those with a true struggle in need,” the organization says on its Facebook page. “We hope that with these deeds we can keep Rylee’s memory alive and help other disabled children.”

For more information, visit the “Rylee Gives Back” page on Facebook.

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