The Arkadelphia Human Development Center (AHDC) recently expanded its partnership with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism by packaging a greater number and variety of specialty tourism brochures into the state’s award-winning travel kit.
The Arkadelphia center has 134 residents and is one of five Arkansas Department of Human Services residential facilities for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental delays. Its mission is to help residents enjoy a high-quality, independent life. Transitional placement and vocational training to prepare residents to return to their own homes or into supervised living situations are the primary tenets of the facility. The work for Parks and Tourism provides some of the vocational education.
Put into effect last month, the Parks and Tourism contract expansion presents a higher volume of work for center residents with an increased role in promoting the beauty, history and activities of the Natural State by increasing the number of orders and types of materials provided. The partnership has existed for many years and has been beneficial for both the tourism industry as well as AHDC clients.
“Tourism is a huge part of the state’s economy,” said Kane Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. “In 2015 alone, Arkansas attracted some 28 million travelers who spent $7.2 billion. The maps, brochures, state parks guides and more that are included in the vacation kits are designed to entice tourists here and to make their visits even more enjoyable. We want our visitors to come back again and again. This partnership helps us to reach a large number of interested travelers in an economical and efficient manner.”
The center stores maps, state parks guides and other materials – such as the Wedding Guide, Great Motorcycle Destinations and Trail of Holiday Lights – that potential travelers can order online or by telephone. The clients then package and prepare kits for mailing upon request.
“The program has been at Arkadelphia since the Alexander Human Development Center closed about six years ago,” center Rehabilitation Instructor Supervisor Annette Robinson said. “We have a smaller number of residents participating in the job program as compared to what we had at the other site, but this group has worked hard to prove themselves and grow the program.
“The residents feel a great sense of pride after completing their work,” said Robinson, “but they receive even greater reward when they are able to endorse their paycheck and cash them at the center’s bank.”
The expansion is expected to provide a chance to earn an increased amount of money with more experience in the workplace on a regular basis for residents.
To order a free vacation kit, call (800) 628-8725 or visit Arkansas.com. For more information about the programs offered through Arkansas Department of Human Services, visit humanservices.arkansas.gov or www.facebook.com/ArkDHS.