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St. Nicholas Center continues serving community, now from a temporary building

Updated: Nov. 13, 2020 at 10:32 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Like many non-profits, the St. Nicholas Center for Children in Lake Charles was significantly damaged by Hurricane Laura.

Now the center has a new temporary location open to provide therapy sessions for autistic children.

“Whenever you get to see those children and they smile and give you high fives, it makes every minute of all of that hard work worth it," Executive Director Brittany Schwem said.

That hard work by the St. Nicholas Center for Children has brought them through a global pandemic, hurricanes that destroyed their building, and taken them to a temporary location on Ihles Road.

“Our therapy rooms and office rooms [are] all kind of spread out and scattered but it has been much needed from COVID and the two hurricanes," she said. “Our kids have been without their therapy for so long.”

Schwem said they hope to have all of their students back very soon.

“We’re hoping to be back into the Dore Center for Autism on Ryan Street as soon as possible," she said. "As you all know that is going to be a process though; we’re all going through the same rebuild.”

A community-wide rebuilding process that’s left some of their staff and families still without a home.

“It’s been a rocky transition but we’re so blessed to be able to be back up and running with everyone that we have still; we’re just very appreciative of our staff whose been so faithful to us and stuck with us through the hard time," Human Resources Coordinator Lauren Mullican said.

The building might look different but at its core it’s the same - people helping children be the best versions of themselves.

“Our team members and children surprisingly have been very, very adaptable," Schwem said. "We are making-do with the spots we have and as you can see from the inside of the building, we are using every inch of it.”

While it’s been an adjustment transitioning from their permanent building to this one, the employees said they’re just happy to be back working with the kids.

The St. Nicholas Center is partnering with Crying Eagle Brewery to host St. Nick’s Sip and Shop on Dec 5.

The event will feature local vendors and Santa Claus. Ticket sales will go towards helping rebuild the center. You can purchase tickets on their Facebook page.

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