Fifty volunteers gathered in the cool of an August morning Saturday to build a playground for the kids at Oakwood Village Trailer Park.
Under the direction of Phillip Fletcher, founder of City of Hope Outreach, teams put together a playhouse, a swing set and other equipment that will provide a safe place to play for the dozens of children who live in the neighborhood.
The project has been two years in the making and most recently was sparked with contributions from Conway Corp., the Conway Kiwanis Club and Nabholz Construction, who gave not only money but also hands-on construction skills.
The new equipment is nestled in a shady row of mobile homes that includes a unit set aside as the community center, where mothers can do laundry while looking after the kids at play.
City of Hope Outreach is the umbrella organization for the Oakwood Learning Academy, a big part of the tutoring and mentoring program that makes sure that the children are encouraged to get their lessons.
A technology center at 608 E. Robins St. provides access to computers and the internet.
King’s Club is an every-other-Saturday event that provides snacks and games with a Bible school theme.
As neighbors would gather to sit among the trees, two churches were organized, The Church at Oakwood and The Church at Oakwood South.
At the request of residents of Brookside Mobile Home Park off Oak Street, similar programs are starting.
"United for the City," an all-day conference for churches and non-profits is set for 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Conway Mosaic Church, 1925 Lee Ave. Tickets are $10 and includes lunch and dinner.
"Conway is a growing city with non-profits and churches that do a variety of activities to address the needs of the poor, but at times there is overlap or little awareness about other organizations," said Nicolle Fletcher, COHO co-founder with her husband, Phillip.
"We each have a unique role to play and we can learn a lot from each other. Our hope is that we become informed on what is happening in our city, hear solutions that are currently being implemented by various practitioners, and brainstorm how we can better serve our city as one body."
A "Homeless in America Panel" will feature Cassie Hammett, Beth Goodrich, Derek Jones and Judi Lively.
In addition, "An Evening of Elegance: A Red Carpet Gala," is set for 7-9 p.m., Sept. 14, at Conway Country Club with tickets at $50 to benefit City of Hope Outreach and its projects.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 505-1234.)