Research shows that walking leads to impressive physical and mental benefits. The benefits of walking include strengthening your heart, joint pain relief, a mental stress reliever and overall improvement of your health and fitness.
The Grand Prairie Job Center, located at 407 S. Maple St., started the “Walk With Ease” program to help individuals with developmental disabilities be healthier.
Their 3-day a week program, started this past summer with 14 individuals who have stayed committed throughout.
According to Melody Riley, Executive Director of the Grand Prairie Job Center, most individuals with developmental disabilities become obese. “We are teaching them healthy habits and exercising more,” said Riley. “We talk about healthy eating alternatives, the importance of water and stretching.”
The “Walk With Ease” program is geared towards older individuals who suffer joint discomfort. The program has also partnered with the Special Olympics to promote healthy athletes.
The Grand Prairie Job Center participates in the Special Olympics.
The mission of Special Olympics Arkansas is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.
“Fall sports include bowling, basketball and bocce,” said Riley. “We will be participating in bocce this year.”
Special Olympics Arkansas has partnered with the University of Central Arkansas for the 1st Special Olympics Arkansas Unified Sports Fall Games, Nov. 1-2 in Conway.
Special Olympics Arkansas serves athletes from all 75 counties in the state. The counties are divided into 17 “areas” which have their own volunteer Area Director who is responsible for the training and competitions for the athletes who live in their area.
Area 9, which includes Arkansas County, is looking for a Special Olympics coach.
“If there is anyone that is retired and has a heart for volunteerism and working with this population, maybe a former athlete themselves, the Job Center is looking for a coach,” said Riley. “Special Olympics will take care of the training.”
According to Special Olympics Arkansas, Coaches play a unique and indispensable role in Special Olympics around the world providing the sports skills and spirit that define a true athlete.
In addition, coaches are role models and character builders. Coaches give athletes the most immediate awareness of their own worth, ability, courage and capacity to grow and improve.
Coaches are the key to a successful sports experience for the Special Olympic Athlete.
Interested candidates can apply at the Job Center or call 870-673-8261.
The Grand Prairie Job Center is a non-profit agency whose purpose is to meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities through a variety of programs.
Their mission is to assist individuals with developmental disabilities in living more independently and have a meaningful day every day.
The Grand Prairie Job Center day service program includes: transportation for adults, educational training, work activity, socialization and vocational training.
They currently serve the following counties: Arkansas, Monroe, Lonoke, Prairie, and Jefferson county.