DENHAM SPRINGS -- Launch Therapy Center, a non-profit organization that provides services to children with special needs, received the most votes for Carnahan Andrews CPA’s 7th Annual Christmas Open House and Community Give Back Event.

The social media competition featured four non-profit organizations from the Livingston Parish area, with fans voting on which they believed deserved the grand prize from Carnahan Andrews CPA in Denham Springs.

Shelby Andrews, owner of Carnahan Andrews CPA, said the idea for the give back event started when she purchased her business’ property in 2012. Andrews decided to get social media users involved in the competition about two years later, and now her focus is on helping smaller and local non-profits that may not have the budget or manpower of larger ones.

“We’ve done some of the larger non-profits in the past, but those tend to get a lot of their own donations,” Andrews said. “So we decided to scale back a little bit to work with the newer non-profits and the ones who don’t have a budget for their marketing.

“When you’re a non-profit and you’re just starting, you depend on the community to help you with your mission,” she continued. “That’s what we’d like to see, to help those non-profits get some legs underneath them.”

This year’s contest featured quite the quartet of organizations that each provide their own distinct services: Denham Springs Montessori Learning Center, an early childhood learning center; the Foster Village, a donation center that provides local foster families with gently used/new items free of charge; Mighty Moms, a food pantry for children; and Launch Therapy Center, which has served more than 900 children and families since August 2015.

For winning the fan vote, Launch Therapy Center received a check for $1,250, while the other three non-profits took home $250 apiece.

“This was a wonderful surprise,” said Chantelle Varnado, founder of Launch Therapy Center who has opened locations on Hatchell Lane and Veterans Boulevard in Denham Springs. “Our goal is to do what the child needs, and this money will be used for extra therapy or extra equipment or more specific equipment we otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide.”

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