The look of concentration that comes over Adam R.’s face as he prepares to throw his ball at Flint Hills Lanes is quickly replaced by one of satisfaction as he knocks down nine pins Thursday afternoon.
Adam, a consumer of Hetlinger Developmental Services, is a natural bowler who enjoys trips to the bowling alley, which are made possible through donations to Hetlinger’s Everyday Heroes campaign.
Hetlinger provides programs and services to increase independence, productivity, integration and inclusion for adults with developmental disabilities who live in Lyon, Morris, Chase and Wabaunsee counties through work programs, community engagement, arts and crafts and enrichment programs. The Everyday Heroes campaign was established in 2018 to help the organization continue to fund those enrichment programs.
With the 2019 campaign surpassing its fundraising goal, consumers can expect more enrichment opportunities in 2020.
“We raised around $13,500, and our goal was to raise $10,000 to get the matching funds,” Director of Development Alex Mosakowski said. “So, we’re looking at $23,500. We’re thinking we can still continue to build on that success, so we’re not finished yet, but we are excited to be sitting where we are. It’s pretty phenomenal.”
Mosakowski said Hetlinger provides a number of opportunities for enrichment to its consumers as a way to break down barriers within the community and promote interaction and inclusivity with a population that is not always understood.
To date, some of the enrichment programs include music therapy with licensed Music Therapist Katie Just, workout time at the Emporia Recreation Center, classes at the Emporia Arts Center, day trips to neighboring community zoos and attractions and more. Because the bulk of Hetlinger’s funding comes from Medicaid’s waiver program, the organization is limited in what it can do with those funds. That’s what makes private donations so vital to the organization.
“That’s what the great thing about Everyday Heroes is,” Mosakowski said. “It really helps us to fulfill our mission, which is, in addition to being productive, they get to be integrated into the community and included in activities, as well. For some of them, all they have is Hetlinger or some other services that allow them to have these opportunities. Otherwise, they’re home because they don’t have their own vehicle or they don’t have someone to take them out or they’re home late — those kinds of things.”
For Adam, who is active in Special Olympics Kansas, the opportunity to take trips to the bowling alley and the recreation center is another way to stay active throughout the week.
“It’s kind of like an added bonus and stuff,” he said. “I like to go bowling with Hetlinger. What I do is, I just wait to figure out which way I think the ball’s gonna go and I just bowl. A lot of people say I just have a good form for bowling, and when I first came to Emporia, I was scared of bowling. When I saw the pros do it on TV, I was like, ‘I want to do it like them.’ I kind of taught myself from watching them.”
With a spin that would make any pro bowler proud, Adam easily claimed his split shortly after his interview with The Gazette.
David P., another consumer, said he enjoyed bowling, but his real passion was taking the art classes at EAC. Recently, he was able to take a pottery class at the arts center with his fellow consumers where he made several vases.
“I like to do the art classes with the ceramics,” he said. “I made five. I liked working with the wheel. I did it in school. We didn’t get to paint them yet, but I’m looking forward to it.”
David said he likes to sell his art to raise money for Special Olympics Kansas, where he’s a Hall of Fame fundraiser.
“You’re talking to a Hall of Famer,” he said with a grin.
Mosakowski said he hopes to continue to raise funds throughout the year as a way to keep a growing account for opportunities. Those interested can mail donations to Hetlinger Developmental Services, PO Box 2204, Emporia, KS 66801, or call 342-1087 for more information.