Mallory Skinner will see her dream become reality. The 24-year-old’s proposal to build a sensory room for children with special needs was selected for a $15,000 RBC Future Launch grant. The announcement was held at Southgate Community Church on Friday.

Skinner, a Kemptville native, is currently pursuing her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology at McGill University in Montreal. She noted her background is working with kids with special needs, which provided insight into best practices. Skinner explained the dollars will be used to expand the existing sensory room at Southgate. 

A sensory room is a space specifically designed to calm kids down when they get overstimulated – a safe place where they can play and not worry about bright lights and loud sounds, according to Skinner. She says the grant will be used to purchase specialized equipment, such as weighted blankets, and customize the space. 

Skinner noted Southgate is currently in the process of expanding and the timing was right. She explained the sensory room will be open to everyone in North Grenville, at no cost. Skinner says the grant will help get things up and running, but the goal is to grow services and programs to make it a community fixture.  

She noted there could be social groups, along with music and art therapy down the road. Skinner explained she has lofty goals for the sensory room, but if the project starts strong, it could be something really positive for the community. 

Work will begin on the new sensory room later this year. The North Grenville Community Fund and RBC Foundation partnered to provide the grant for a local youth-led project.