The Ascension Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Ascension cut the ribbon on Monday, May 1 for a renovated Sensory Room at the Arc of East Ascension in Gonzales.

"It's a sensory room designed for people with special needs," PR Marketing Director Sharon Morris said. "It is for people with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome."

The walls which used to be painted white, are now adorned in pastel blue, yellow and green paint. The ceiling is painted to imitate the sky with white clouds. The tables are horseshoe or kidney-shaped. The room now has 35 lockers with key locks.

Members of the Arc of East Ascension cheered loudly as Parish President Kenny Matassa exclaimed, "This is a very big project, and no one needed this more than you people right here. This is great for Ascension Parish."

"I'd like to thank Leadership Ascension class of 2017," Executive Director Norma Dukes said. "This is awesome! This is Amazing! This is wonderful! Every day is a blessing to be able to come here to provide for the individuals that we serve."

Other features of the renovated room include new books, even books for the blind and an illuminating light for reading. Members have a "quiet corner" with the resemblance of a tree to sit or lay under with a book.

Moreover, the room now features an exercise bike, exercise balls and hand weights. The room also features three Snug Vests, which provide deep pressure therapy for individuals with sensory disorders such as autism. At the other end of the room are puzzles and a new sandbox that can be made into works of art.

The rest of the donation went to the $2500 scholarship fund so that individuals who cannot afford things like trips to the bowling alley and movies may now attend, according to Morris.

"We saw the need here and put something together," Team member Luke Trosclair said. "We did a fundraiser. We were able to meet our goal and buy the equipment and furniture we needed. Our whole group did a really good job.