Community Connections

Conway, Arkansas

Rising Star:

Community Connections was established in 2007 when the owners of a pediatric therapy clinic observed that children with developmental disabilities tended to be excluded from the greater community, and that parents were in need of support. Available to caregivers of children birth to 18-years with disabilities, Community Connections offers three-hour respite sessions monthly, at no cost to families, in three locations –– Bryant, Conway, and Little Rock, Arkansas –– in order to reduce family travel. Community Connections strives to support caregiver’s mental health by providing a worry-free short break from caregiving and guidance in time use to enhance the benefits of respite. Children with disabilities and their siblings are provided time spent doing enjoyable activities in community settings. In addition to a program director and nurse at each site, volunteers are recruited from local colleges and universities, and local faith based and service organizations to provide services. Each volunteer is supported with 1:1 training and staff support after having completed on-line respite training. Some volunteers providing respite service are bilingual, and Community Connections offers both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking parent support and parent education groups.