A fortnight or so ago, a group of volunteers who have a solicitous feeling for the Conway Human Development Center staged a fund-raising bowling tournament and counted $19,000 in their coffers at day’s end.
It was a whopping amount of money but not surprising in view of the money-making proclivities of the Volunteer Council that has been at work over the years proving the CHDC with several elements of improvement.
The council is an amalgam of local people committed toward the idea of aiding the more than 600 disabled at the huge facility built along Siebenmorgen Road. Working in tandem with concerned employees and parents and guardians of clients, the Council has been able to provide many refinements for the facility.
The granddaddy of the council’s fund raisers is the annual walk-a-thon that is a fixture during the fall, a spectacle that creates thousands of dollars, enabling the organization to plan for, among other things, such structures as a $200,000 plus building that is in the final stage of construction. The structure will serve as a home away from home for parents and guardians if they are so inclined to spend time visiting on the campus.
At the moment, construction of the home is moving forward apace with the completion of designs for electrical and plumbing work. It is expected to be completed later this year. The facility will be built adjacent to the Visitation Complex which too, was built with monies raised through projects orchestrated by the council.
Each month, the council is called together to eat lunch, hear reports and develop new concepts to aid the clients of the CHDC. For the past seven years, the council has been led by Sally Sellers, an employee of CHDC who lent her expertise to the organization.
It was announced recently that Sellers is leaving her position as director of volunteers to become the program coordinator on a shelter living team. She will continue to work with the Volunteer Council until a successor is hired.
Sellers and other volunteer directors who have gone before her, through their planning and some old-fashioned energy exerted by local people, have improved the lives of individuals who perforce need help to get along. The council, since it was organized 30 years ago, has sponsored the construction of a therapeutic pool, fitness center, family visitation complex, iron fencing cross the front of the campus along Siebenmorgen Road and metal awning covers around the campus that provide shelter from inclement weather. They have also sponsored a new park,playground equipment and many needed improvements to buildings and the pavilion park itself.
In addition, several thousands of dollars were raised to provide CHDC with a system for repairing and remodeling wheelchairs for the many clients who need specialized seating because of certain conditions they endure. More than 300 clients must use wheelchairs.
The Volunteer Council conducts two major benefit events. These essentially provide the funds for the high dollar expenditures for large ventures. Other events include clothing sales, promotions with Belk department store and lesser moneymaking endeavors.
Stephanie Vann, of First Security bank, is president of the Council. Jan Fortney is vice president, Jerry March is treasurer and Lorie March is secretary. Rudy Dominguez and Fred Petrucelli are members at large.
Other Council members include: Anita Price, Virco; Alesha Arnold, Bank of the Ozarks; Frances Cardin, Kimberly Clark; L.T. Clark, Mary Kay Representative; Vickie Clements, Arvest Bank; Jerry Cooper, First Security Bank; Ron Fowler, RDJ. Specialties; Caesarene Green, Molex; Marcelle Heath, Faulkner County Court; Linda Johnson, Conway Corp; Jan Mallett, Mallett’s Print Galery; Tina Mankey, UCA; Andy Shock, Faulkner County Sheriff; Robert Wright, Boys and Girls Club.
Gail Braley, Debbie Ferguson, Janie Hogan, Becky McCrory, Leora McMillan, Gail Miller, Sarah Murphy, Dorcas Pitts, Calvin Price, Sandy Smith, Christy Via, and Carnie Wilkerson, all of CHDC.
Dr. Roberts Barnes, Jeanie Blumenkemper, Patricia Clayton, Marilyn Colclasure, Jim Elliott, Martha Etheridge, Brenda Fry, Robert Huber, Adrian Huff, Laverne Prior, Janie Sutherland, Annie Stell, all retired.
CHDC is one of Arkansas’ state-managed residential training facilities and the largest for people with developmental disabilities. The essence of the facility is to provide services and support clients by helping them maximize their capabilities and achieve the best possible quality of life.