The 2017 Arkansas PROMISE Summer program ended with a huge end-of-year celebration on August 7, 2017. Arkansas PROMISE is funded by a $35.7 million federal grant to the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Education. Through the grant, 1,000 youth with disabilities received intensive services to support their educational and career goals. Central Arkansas Planning and Development District (CAPDD) was a partner that received funding to operate the work experience component for the youth.
CAPDD’s Business Service Team Member, Tiffany Hunter, teamed up with other partners to plan and coordinate the theme and event for the year-end celebration. With the intention of bringing a meaningful impact to participating youth, partners decided “Breaking Barriers” was the most influential theme for this year’s celebration. At the event, over 150 attendees, which consisted of participants, family members, and collaborative team members, enjoyed food, guest speakers, pictures at photo booth, and a commencement that highlighted completion of program and accomplishments of all participating youth.
Finally, this event marked a momentous time in the lives of the youth, especially after meeting influential people, such as John Kopta and Officer Tommy Norman. Officer Tommy Norman not only was the Master of Ceremony at the event, but he also participated in the awarding of certificates of all youth. John Kopta, with Motivate Life, delivered a powerful message about breaking barriers and overcoming obstacles, which encouraged a successful future to the youth participants.