Art to Achieve

Young Miranda Fargo of Olive Branch applies paint to her work during the art period at Art to Achieve, the Arc Northwest Mississippi’s four-week-long program for intellectual or developmentally disabled young people held at First Baptist Church of Horn Lake.

First Baptist Church in Horn Lake has been abuzz on Saturday mornings this month with activity, as the annual Art to Achieve has continued there, an activity done through the Arc Northwest Mississippi, based in Southaven.

One of two major annual activities for the people it serves, Art to Achieve is a four-week program for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It has been held each Saturday morning since Jan. 12 and will continue through Feb. 2.

The other major event the organization holds is Camp BOLD, which is held in the summer at Longview Heights Baptist Church in Olive Branch.

Art to Achieve provides those people with the ability to show their artistic skills and also interact with others, said Arc Northwest Mississippi Executive Director Rebecca Treadway.

“It gives them a fun thing to do on Saturday instead of being stuck at home when there’s gloomy or cold weather,” said Treadway. “It’s a great activity that allows them to socially interact with same-age peers in the community and lets them work on their artistic abilities as well as being able to do fun games and have a good time with their friends.”

Geared toward those with disabilities from kindergarten age on up, participants this year have ranged from age six to 27.

First Baptist Church in Horn Lake has hosted Art to Achieve for three years and Treadway said she was grateful for their support, along with the volunteers who this year have come from across the county, including DeSoto Central, Horn Lake, Lewisburg and Olive Branch high schools.

Some of the works that are done during Art to Achieve include ceramic and canvas items with selected pieces included as fundraiser auction items during the Arc’s Boots and BBQ event later in the year.

“This and Camp BOLD are two programs that really reach out into the community and get lots of people involved,” explained Treadway. “It’s important for us to address not only individuals with disabilities but encourage typical members of the community to get involved with us and to have that great social interaction between both groups.”

Art to Achieve does more than just art, as participants also have physical education, music and game time during the morning. Their involvement also allows parents and caregivers some “me” for themselves.

“It gives parents and families some time for them to go grocery shopping, clean their house, take a nap, or just have time to interact with friends over a cup of coffee, just some time to be a regular person,” Treadway said.

Fifty youngsters and young people were signed up for Art to Achieve this year and on average about 20 or more take part each Saturday.

For more information on Art to Achieve or any of the programs of Arc Northwest Mississippi, Treadway may be reached at their new office phone number, which is 662-510-8989.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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