Thomas County art program in need of special needs bathroom

Special needs bathroom will cost up to $25,000 for Thomas County art program
Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 18:30:29-05
  • Friends & Stars Inc. is in need of a special needs bathroom for its students. It will cost $25,000.
  • The non-profit services over 500 kids weekly.
  • Check out the video above to hear from the founder about the need.


"It's very important that she has this ADA regulated bathroom," said Ashley Mervin, Friends & Stars Inc.

Ashley Mervin works for Friends & Stars Inc.

An art program located in Thomas County for those with special needs.

Mervin is talking about the non-profit's latest venture, building an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant bathroom.

"When I came here, I noticed that there was a lot of kids that are not being served," said Dixie Lee Hedrington, Friends & Stars Inc.

Dixie Lee Hedrington founded Friends & Stars Inc.

The non-profit teaches skills such as mosaic art, painting, and sculpting.

"People meet me all the time and say, 'I've always wanted to do something, but I only know how to do stick people," said Hedrington.

I asked Hendrington how they've been making do for the last 15 years.

She says they have been renting porta potties.

Hedrington tells me that can cost $100 a day per unit.

"Most of my clients are children with disabilities. Some are wheelchair bound, a lot of them are medically fragile. So, if they need a change, we can't do that in a porta potty," said Hedrington.

The new bathroom would include handrails, a shower, and a changing table for adults.

Hedrington says the bathroom is estimated to cost $25,000.

So, to raise the money the non-profit is asking the community for their support.

"She has a heart of gold for kids with disabilities. Not just because she's a parent but because she's seen what it can do," said Mervin.

Friends and Stars Inc. will be hosting a fundraiser event, The Pecan Orchard Festival and art show, on January 20th.

Admission is free.