The mission of the Sunshine Social Club is to empower adults with intellectual disabilities, who have goals for supported or independent living, by creating social, educational and community opportunities.
"Friends are the Sunshine of Life"
That is the motto of the newly formed Sunshine Social Club and Sunshine Barn.
It all started seven years ago when Lisa Batts visited Down Home Ranch in Texas. "I couldn't get my mind off of it" Lisa told me. Lisa also realized, as so many of us do, that when her son Aron got out of School there was little to nothing for him to do. Not only were there not many options for Aron, but not many for Lisa's adult cousin, who also happens to have Down Syndrome. So Lisa began sharing her vision for a smaller version of Down Home Ranch in Boone County, Indiana. Lisa's uncle, Fred Cooney, a local Mass Avenue developer, entrepreneur, and artist could see Lisa's vision and wanted to help.
In the summer of 2014, an 8 acre plot of land containing a ranch style home and a machine shop, located south of Lebanon and just west of Zionsville, Indiana, was purchased. During the auction, Lisa shared with others what she wanted to do with the land. She soon found out that one of the neighbors adjacent to the property has a son with Down Syndrome. One of the potential bidders there that day has a daughter with Cerebral Palsy and a second bidder had a daughter with "challenges" as well. It was just meant to be that the Sunshine Society would get the property. With some help, that 8 acres containing a machine shop was transformed into The Sunshine Barn and opened in August 2014 just in time to celebrate Aron's birthday. It is a warm, welcoming, "down home" feeling ranch with rustic western themed décor, a stage for karaoke, and plenty of room to relax and unwind.
When asked what Lisa envisions for the future of the Sunshine Barn, she expressed a desire to have weekly events, such as: educational programs, exercise/fitness classes, art classes, and a garden in the spring. She wants the Sunshine Barn be a place of collaboration and opportunity. In short, she wants to create an environment where individuals with intellectual or physical challenges are welcomed and can thrive. "Individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities may not always be turned away from places in the community, but they aren't necessarily accommodated all the time either" says Lisa. That is why it is so important that there are opportunities to create friendships, hence the motto, "Friends are the Sunshine of Life".
For more information, please contact The Sunshine Social Club at: 765-894-0575
Board of Directors
Ryan Stewart - President
Lisa Batts - Vice President
Carla King - Secretary
Lori Garman - Treasurer
Deborah Clark - Board Member
Erika Hobbs Thomison - Board Member