Volunteering with Friendship Community Care
Fourteen-year-old Payton Wornick is like many kids his age. He enjoys playing video games, hunting and spending time with his family and friends. But when he has free time, he spends it helping out Friendship Community Care.
Friendship Community Care is a state-wide, non-profit organization serving over 1200 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities based in Russellville.
Wornick said he first became involved with Friendship Community Care through his mom who works for the organization. “I went to preschool there too,” he recalled.
He is involved in the organization in many different areas. “When I was in kindergarten, I used to go to occupational therapy with a friend to give her encouragement,” Wornick said. “Now I help out at community events such as Walk Now for Autism Speaks, county fairs and fall festivals.”
While his efforts of volunteering may seem simple, they are appreciated by the many people he works with. “Everyone that works at friendship really appreciates the volunteers,” Wornick explained. “And the kids enjoy seeing the ‘big kids’ helping out.”
Dacia Petty, Pediatric Administrative Assistant, said that Payton is typically shy, but seems to open up more around children. “The kids always love seeing ‘new’ faces, especially when it’s a ‘big kid’ like Payton,” Petty explained. “When Payton helped his friend who was receiving Occupational Therapy, she loved it! She would actually enter the clinic and ask for Payton instead of asking for her therapist,” Petty recalled. Petty said that the girl Payton helped progressed more with a friend’s encouragement.
Wornick has no plans to quit volunteering for Friendship Community Care. In fact, he said he wants to take his volunteer efforts to the next level and help on a larger scale. “I plan to continue helping out. I would really like to help out at hospitals too,” the teen said.
Friendship Community Care has served individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1972. What started as the Mountain Springs Day Service Center in Russellville, Arkansas has grown into a state-wide, non-profit organization serving over 1200 individuals and employing over 1,000 people state-wide.
Services include Adult Programs, Residential Services, Behavioral Health Services, Health and Safety Services, Therapy Services, and Senior Activity Centers. For children, Friendship Community Care offers Early Intervention, Child Health Management, a Developmental Day Treatment Center and a Preschool.
One of the more popular programs is Pottery Worx, a pottery studio and party place that is a subsidiary of Friendship Community Care. Pottery Worx actively promotes community integration operating from the premise the best way to encourage the community to respect and value its members with developmental disabilities is to experience their skills, contributions and values firsthand. Guests can visit the paint-your-own pottery studio where all of the supplies needed are provided.
There are many ways you can help support Friendship Community Care. From donations and in-kind gifts to volunteering or fulfilling a Christmas Wish List, each donation benefits more than 1200 children and adults with disabilities throughout the state.