Bridge walkers show their support of Methodist Family Health

Participants in the 9th annual Walk for Children and Families write messages of encouragement on graffiti walls that will be displayed at Methodist Family Health facilities around the state. COURTESY PHOTO

Participants in the 9th annual Walk for Children and Families write messages of encouragement on graffiti walls that will be displayed at Methodist Family Health facilities around the state.
COURTESY PHOTO

Event yields highest fundraising total in nine years

By Jane Dennis
Special Contributor

More than 600 souls on Aug. 7 braved temperatures that soared past 100 degrees to take part in Methodist Family Health’s 2015 Walk for Children and Families.

The annual event invites participants of all ages to step out in support of those served by Methodist Family Health by meeting at the Arkansas River to walk over the Big Dam Bridge and back. Headquartered at Cook’s Landing Park on the North Little Rock side of the bridge, the event includes live music, free pizza and ice cream, fun and games. In addition to individual participation, dozens of United Methodist youth groups join in the Walk as a precursor to the Conference Council on Youth Ministries-sponsored lock-in later the same evening.

“We truly appreciate everyone coming out and making the 9th annual Walk for Children and Families a big success,” said Denise Luft, associate director of development for the MFH Foundation and event coordinator. “Yes, it was hot, but it’s a worthy cause that supports an organization that makes a difference in the lives of so many.”

A trio of graffiti walls was a new addition to this year’s Walk. Visitors were invited to draw and write encouraging and positive messages to those in the care of MFH. The walls will be displayed at the Methodist Children’s Home campus in Little Rock and other MFH locations around the state.

A live remote broadcast by Little Rock radio station B98.5 FM was also new this year. Newk’s restaurant was on board for the first time, as well, serving lemonade and iced tea. Perennial favorite Frosty Treats ice cream kept young and old cool by handing out free frozen desserts.

Thanks to corporate sponsors and generous donors, in addition to participant registration fees, the event raised more than $90,000, the most in its nine-year history. Proceeds benefit the programs and services of Methodist Family Health, which provides comprehensive psychiatric and behavioral healthcare to children and families in Arkansas.

MFH cares for more than 2,400 clients daily through its multiple venues of care, including a 60-bed hospital, therapeutic group homes, residential treatment centers, counseling clinics, emergency shelter and other specialized programs. For more information about MFH or how to lend your support, visit methodistfamily.org or call 501-906-4202.

Dennis, a former editor of the Arkansas United Methodist, serves as communications director for Methodist Family Health.