Jacksonville non-profit breaks ground on fifth cabin to serve families facing autism

Jacksonville non-profit breaks ground on fifth cabin to serve families facing autism
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 6:20 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 11:04 PM CST

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KLTV) - A non-profit nature retreat in East Texas is expanding, allowing them to serve more families with children affected by autism.

“Here at the retreat, it allows another 60 to 80 families to come out a season, which is huge,” said Elijah’s Retreat Executive Director Cheryl Torres.

This afternoon, the retreat in Jacksonville broke ground on their fifth cabin, the “T House.” The retreat is a 50-acre dude ranch for families facing autism.

Torres said they opened their calendar back up for reservations on Sunday, and within the first thirty minutes, they had 150 reservations.

“At the end of the first day, we had all of our weekends booked for the whole season, and I had 50 families on the waitlist for cancellations that come up, and so this will be able to accommodate those families, which is amazing,” Torres said.

The fifth cabin will allow them to serve about 400 families a year. It was made possible through the donations and volunteer efforts of many within the community, including people like Rob and Suzy Trimble.

“We fell in love with the place,” said Trimble. “We love the fact that they bring entire families out here. It’s not just a camp for kids who have autism, but it’s the family that gets to come out and act as a family unit.”

Torres said the retreat is a peaceful place for families facing autism to be themselves and have fun while exploring the outdoors.

“Here, you don’t have to explain your kid, you don’t have to apologize for your kid, you get to let them be just a kid,” Torres said.

She said they are always in need of volunteers. For volunteer opportunities, visit their website. For now, there is no date yet on the grand opening of the new cabin.