FLOWOOD, Miss. (WJTV) – Taking care of a child with special needs isn’t easy for parents. The Little Lighthouse of Central Mississippi is designed specifically to help kids with special needs meet their goals.

“We are a tuition-free preschool for children with special needs. Our parents don’t pay a dime and we don’t accept any state or federal funding. The only way we are able to continue to serve our children tuition-free is through fundraising events like this. This is our 18th Annual Garden Party,” said Director of Development and Marketing Crystal McCann.

The program specially caters to kids up to six years old. Those who went through the program as children say it made them feel not as different from everyone else.

“It’s an amazing school. It’s important to me because it kind of showed me that I’m not so different when you look at the bigger picture. It’s very important to me,” said Carter Griffin, who attended the school.

This year’s keynote speaker defied the odds and became a Triathlon Iron Horse athlete.

“It’s very important to be here and enjoy every moment,” said Chris Nikic.

“Kids are born. We’re given a lot of bad news about what they can’t do. This organization is amazing because they start working with the children and the parents early and early intervention is so critical to their full development,” said Nick Nikic, Chris’ father.

The Little Lighthouse provides a beacon of hope to parents and kids as they continue to navigate through life.