4RKids Foundation hosted a ribbon cutting Friday for its new mini golf course, the first completed phase of a multi-year $4.2 million capital improvement campaign.
4RKids provides employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities, support and outreach to their families, and supports local enrichment opportunities for the developmentally disabled, including Miracle League and Special Olympics.
4RKids Executive Director Tricia Mitchell said the capital campaign seeks to raise $4.2 million to construct a new building and renovate the existing structure at 710 Overland Trail, in addition to the recently completed mini golf project, which remade two existing miniature golf courses into one improved wheelchair-accessible course.
The capital campaign currently is about 52 percent complete, with $2.2 million raised and about another $2 million left to raise. The mini golf course was completed with about $475,000 of the funds already raised.
Mitchell said Friday the new course is a visible way of showing the public the progress in the capital campaign, and a way to support 4RKids' ongoing operations.
"We're really excited," Mitchell said, "because this is a really public phase of the capital campaign, it's something the public can enjoy, and it's going to provide more job opportunities for our clients."
Work on the project started Nov. 30 with design work by a company from New Jersey that specializes in miniature golf courses. All of the other contract work was completed by local companies, as well as numerous hours of volunteer work.
"Everyone who was local went out of their way to help us, and gave a lot of in-kind donations and just really went above and beyond to finish this," Mitchell said. "The support of this community is just amazing."
Local contractors involved in the project included Lavicky Sand, Davidson Electric, Enid Floral & Gifts, Water Wizards, Pioneer Survey, Mitchell IronWorks, Derwin’s Construction and Stoneworx.
Connie Sturgeon-Hart, a member of the committee that oversaw the mini golf project and former 4RKids board member, said seeing the project brought to completion "tugs at the heart strings, it's so exciting."
"This is something that will be fun for the community and also for our clients," Sturgeon-Hart said. "It provides our clients another work opportunity, and they can play also because it's handicap-accessible, so they can do everything out there we can do."
Sturgeon-Hart said she first became involved with 4RKids, and has volunteered there for seven years, because she's drawn to the clients' positive outlook on life.
"Their attitude about life is just fabulous," Sturgeon-Hart said. "They make me happy, and I want to give them the same opportunities everyone else has."
Kristy Lee, a board member and mother of Katy, a 14-year-old 4RKids client, said it was those opportunities that brought her family to 4RKids.
Lee said she was first introduced to 4RKids when Katy started playing in Miracle League ball games at 6 years old.
Having a place for Katy to play, work and grow has meant a great deal to the family, Lee said.
"It has meant hope ... to know there could be a place for Katy when she's older, to work, and be a part of the community and feel productive," Lee said. "Everyone wants to feel needed."
Completion of the mini golf course and the ongoing effort to raise money in the capital campaign signifies public support for 4RKids, and the foundation's clients and families, Lee said.
"It's just a vote of encouragement that it's going to happen, and other people want it to happen, besides just people who are directly involved in 4RKids," Lee said. "It really shows the community getting behind us."
Mitchell said 4RKids is on track to complete the capital campaign and begin building construction, with a target date of spring, 2019.
For more information on 4RKids visit 4RKids.com or call Mitchell at (580) 237-7890.