Champions Club now open for special-needs kids - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Champions Club now open for special-needs kids

Mila, 3, enjoys hanging out at the Champions Club (Source: Raycom) Mila, 3, enjoys hanging out at the Champions Club (Source: Raycom)
LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KVHP) -

Michelle Freeman and her husband have three children together. The youngest is Mila, a three year-old with Down Syndrome.

Even though it was tough for her parents to deal with, they knew they weren't alone in caring for Mila. Regular attendees of the Christian World Ministries Church in Lake Charles, they heard about am new program that would benefit not only Mila, but the entire family.

"When we found out our little girl Mila had Down Syndrome, I cried a little bit," said Freeman. "Then I thought God is never going to give us more than we can handle. I found Champions Club right here at Christian World. Our children's pastor's father founded it at Lakewood (Houston), Joel Osteen's Church.

"I just had a conversation with God. He stopped me and said, 'Look at what you're going for typical kids,'" said Craig Johnson, the founder of Champions Club. "It looks like Disneyland. Look at what you're doing for special needs kids. Those kids deserve the very best - just like every other child.

Champions Club is a designed developmental area for kids, youth and soon, for adults with special needs. They help kids like Mila spiritually, intellectually, mentally and physically. The program was founded by Johnson, who has a child with autism. The club began at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston.

The latest one is now in Lake Charles. The highly anticipated grand opening was this week - and families are excited.

"When you hear about Champions, you never know what it all entails (until) you have a special needs kid that is actually in it," said Freeman.

"Having this Champions Club is amazing," said Johnson. It's a huge blessing. Just having them go to an environment that will meet their needs of physical and spiritual I don't even know if I have words to describe it."

Even with 41 chapters (including the one in Lake Charles), Johnson and his staff are not satisfied. They plan to build Champions Clubs across the globe.

"We want this to be something that could help no matter what their situation is, no matter where they live," said Cory, Johnson's son, who is a children's pastor at Christian World Church. "They don't have to live in a big city. They can live in a remote place and still be impacted and still be cared for."

Copyright 2016 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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