Phonathon helps 'Make it Happen'

by Sonja J. Keith

Business and community leaders helped “Make it Happen” last week by soliciting financial contributions totaling nearly $125,000 to help fund a new Conway Senior Wellness and Activity Center.

James McAlister shares his story about the importance of the Conway senior center.

A radio phonathon was held at the former Agora Special Events Center on Siebenmorgen Road, which will house the new senior citizens facility. Conway radio station Y107 broadcast live from the event.

“When we planned the event and set our goal at $100,000, I think some folks thought we were crazy,” said Lori Case Melton, campaign co-chair. “Raising $120,000 in one night proves our community truly sees the need for the new center. The energy in the room was contagious.”

Among the contributions, a $50,000 donation was presented by state Sen. Jason Rapert, who sponsored a GIF bill to appropriate $50,000 to the Department of Human Services which made the grant possible. "I am happy to support our community effort to find funding to help Conway and Faulkner County senior citizens,” Rapert said. “Being able to help appropriate funding to projects that help seniors remain active and encourage better health is a priority for me."

Representatives of Conway car dealerships also presented the proceeds from the “Buy a Ride, Make it Happen” promotion held in September. For every car sold, they donated $50 to the “Make It Happen” capital campaign. The contributions included Smith Ford – $5,000, Crain Buick GMC – $4,000, Caldwell Toyota – $8,000 and Honda World – $2,350.

Teams participating in the phonathon included Acxiom, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, the Faulkner County Council on Aging, First Security Bank and Home Instead Senior Care. The First Security team raised nearly $30,000.

Linda Linn (holding “Dream” sign) with members of the First Security Bank phonathon team.

The new senior facility will have double the space and allow for an extensive development of education and activities to be offered to local seniors. The current facility at 1620 N. Donaghey was opened in 1980 and is inadequate in light of the growth of Conway.  

The senior center should re-locate to the new facility in the spring, with plans to sell the existing structure.

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