TEAMworks

Locations: 2474 East Joyce Blvd, Suite 2 Fayetteville
Phone: (479) 521-TEAM (8326)
Website: http://www.teamworksteam.org/

Mission: Improving and enhancing the lives of special needs children.

About: In 2001, Jimmie and Amanda Clark of Bentonville, AR decided to adopt from Ukraine. After meeting an Ozark couple who had adopted children from Ukraine, a special needs child, the Clark’s decided to keep their hearts open to children who had special needs. In May 2002, when they traveled to Ukraine to adopt, they met Dimitri and Aleksei, who both have cerebral palsy. Before the Clarks took the boys home to Arkansas, they fell in love with Elena, who also has cerebral palsy, and they vowed to find her a family as well. When the Clarks couldn’t find a family for Elena, they went back to Ukraine to adopt her themselves.

“When we adopted our daughter,” Amanda said, “We showed the caretakers at the orphanage photos of our other kids. The caretakers were amazed when they saw two healthy boys.”

Amanda started sending the orphanage therapy information from Children’s Therapy T.E.A.M., the clinic that continues to treat and help Dimitri, Leks, and Elena. Amanda’s efforts were brought to the attention of the clinic’s owner, Kym Hannah, who is also a Physical Therapist. Soon, Amanda was on her way back to Ukraine with an entourage from the clinic. They took education materials with them to teach caretakers at the orphanage how to provide various kinds of therapies for children with special needs, like cerebral palsy.

Amanda calls the trips a “grassroots effort” to get help for kids with special needs who end up in orphanages because there is no organized support system for them. “Our main goal,” she said, “is to keep them out of the [institution]. We’re trying to help kids be more adoptable. We can rehabilitate these them.”

The team has been back to Ukraine over ten times now and has expanded each visit to include additional orphanages and communities; assisting parents and caretakers to find that special potential in each child they see. During each visit they expand to take more information, more therapy equipment and more toys than previous trips. Over the years TEAMworks has grown and developed from Ukraine trips into a non-profit organization that services Ukraine and Guatemala internationally, and includes involvement with the local community here in Northwest Arkansas. The goal and mission of TEAMworks is to assist and serve all children with special needs by improving family education, community involvement, and quality of life.

Services:

International: 

Ukraine - During Ukraine trips they bring over 1,000 pounds of documents, toys, and equipment. The team visits different orphanages to provide basic therapy and education to improve the lives of orphans who have special needs. They hold family clinics where they distribute educational documents explaining basic therapy techniques. The team also demonstrates these techniques and distributes equipment to any and all children who require specialized items that are unavailable in Ukraine.

Guatemala- For the children in orphanages, the team provides therapy equipment and helps educate caregivers on methods for improving the children’s basic development, promoting physical, mental and emotional health. For children with families, they educate parents on basic development and provide therapy equipment for children. The team travels to remote areas in order to reach children that would otherwise never have access to therapy services. They demonstrate technique and distribute equipment to any and all children who require specialized items that are inaccessible in the area.

Local: 

TEAM Talent - A fun and creative after school outlet for children with special needs. The participation in weekly, one hour sessions provides the actors and artists opportunities for social skill development, creative direction, and life skills development. Each semester ends with an art gallery to display the artistic talents of the children or a Christmas play to display the children’s acting abilities. 

Heroes for Kids - Heroes for Kids is an initiative of Dimitri Clark, an innovative young man with Cerebral Palsy. Through his own experience, he realized children with special needs are often deprived of experiencing the great outdoors with their family and friends, due to an inability to acquire the necessary adaptive equipment. This insight motivated the research, development and initiative to create a program benefiting his peers so they might expand their experiences and abilities. 

Volunteer Opportunities: The team has been contacted with a new need. The next stop will be China. They will be sending a group to an orphanage in Southern China to assess needs of the children and grow trust and relationships with caregivers. Pray for the group as they leave in late October. People can get involved by adding this organization to their prayer lists. Donations can be made or you can contact them by visiting their website. You can also like their facebook page to become aware of upcoming events and fundraisers.