For some 30 years, celebrated walk-a-thons have pumped thousands of dollars in the coffers of the Conway Human Development Center for the benefit of hundreds of clients with disabilities.
Manifold groups of people - school children, parents and guardians of CHDC clients, and concerned community activists — have supported the events that have generated monies for a number of improvements on the huge campus — funds not available through state appropriations.
The upcoming walk-a-thon bids fair to be as productive as those gone by - with a goal of $25,000 projected, making it one of the more productive walk-a-thons extant. The capital raised will go to make major improvements on the playgrounds and the park’s amenities on campus.
This walk-a-thon, as all that have gone before, is the creation of the Volunteer Council of the Center, an amalgam of local citizens whose volunteerism is key to many CHDC projects. The Council, numbering some two dozen people of varied interests, meets monthly to plan events designed to create monies for CHDC projects.
The colorful 2012 walk-a-thon gets underway at 8 a.m. today after the hordes of walkers are fed a sumptuous breakfast.
The walkers who have arrived by buses, automobiles, and even those on foot coming from their domiciles on campus make turns around the huge grounds of CHDC wearing signature T-shirts. Hordes of students representing virtually every school in Faulkner County take part in this community undertaking.
Prizes, awards and trophies for groups and individuals who raise the most money will be awarded during a ceremony at the finale.
CHDC officials, including Calvin Price, superintendent of the Center, and Sally Sellers, director of volunteers, are the agents that give support to the volunteer council’s planning.
In the early 1980s, the council raised some $270,000 to construct a visitation complex on the campus for emergency use by parents of the clients, meetings by the parents association, the volunteer council, community groups and other CHDC meetings and training sessions.
That set the tone for the many accomplishments by the volunteer council over the years. Among the completed works produced by the council since 1983:
•$20,000 to build coverings over the ambulance bay and walkways used by clients.
•$25,000 to make renovations and improvements at the CHDC park plus $15,000 to make improvements on bathrooms and purchase recreational equipment at the park.
•$427,750 raised by community donations and special events to build a therapeutic pool and fitness complex.
•$39,960 to build a safety fence for clients across the front of the campus.
•$24,200, $52,500 and $75,000 in separate construction projects for awning covers over the sidewalks on the campus - covers that help shield clients during inclement weather.
•$6,500 for equipment to make repairs and modify wheelchairs for the more than 200 clients at CHDC who use these chairs
Funds that will develop from the upcoming walk-a-thon will be used to make repairs and acquire new equipment for the huge clients park on the northwest section of the campus
The work of the council will be capped by the construction of the parents’ home on campus. This project carrying a price tag of more than $ 200,000 is the design of Conway architect Ric Sowell.
CHDC provides comprehensive services including medical, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, orthotics and special education. Domestic and personal skill development, habilitation training and recreation are also provided, in addition to employment training.