Terry Hartwick Provides Inclusive Playground for Special Needs Children - People Helping People

Friday, March 30 at 09:00 AM
Category: People Helping People

Terry Hartwick set out to serve his community by providing a safe, all-inclusive place for park-goers of all ages and abilities to play together. 

“Everybody should be able to play on playgrounds,” Hartwick said. “No matter what their capacity, it’s for all people.”

Terry Hartwick is the 30th person and 14th Arkansan to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference. The idea came from the bank’s mission statement: “People helping people find financial solutions for life.” 

When he first began the project for the One Hart Playground, Hartwick admits he was a novice. He relied on parents who had the desire to do something special within the community. 

“I just knew I could raise the money and put it together,” Hartwick said. “It was a community effort. The biggest thing was the individuals.” 

Inside the park a sign is displayed with hundreds of donor names on it. 

“It’s a special park, it really is. There’s all kids playing on it, and it’s easy for parents and grandparents to bring their kids because it’s enclosed. It takes care of everybody, no matter what their capacity.” 

Amber Havens, therapeutic recreation coordinator, said before the One Heart Playground opened, an entire community of people were not being served. 

“Families have been lobbying for this type of park for a long time,” Havens said. “It took somebody like Terry to make that heart connection and really push through on the business side. He’s a bit of a bulldog when he gets something he’s passionate about.”

Ruth Eyres, a North Little Rock parent, says her daughter has multiple disabilities, and in the past when they wanted to go to an all-inclusive park, it meant going out of town, because there was nothing near their house. 

“When we’ve gone to other playgrounds, my daughter would not try things like the slide or things that were elevated off the ground because it would have steps — she’s not as comfortable with steps,” Eyres said. 

Now at the One Heart Playground, children of all ages and abilities utilize the multi-functional playground equipment and sensory-engaging additions. Eyres says her daughter takes her fingers and runs down the different buttons to access the different types of music. 

“You’ll see the excitement when she finds the type of music that she likes most because she will just laugh and smile, and her whole face will light up from the joy of being here on the playground,” Eyres said. “Being all-inclusive, to me, means that it’s just a place where kids can play together and develop friendships.” 

“It was needed. We’ll keep moving forward and keep improving on it,” Hartwick said. “Is it life work? I do enjoy it – I will say that.” 

The MarCom Award-winning videos are available via Arvest’s social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the Arvest Blog – and the bank will make related posts each time a new story appears. Additionally, Arvest social media followers can help spread the word about these inspiring community members by sharing, liking and retweeting the videos. Hartwick’s video launched on March 30. 

About Arvest

 

Arvest Bank, named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” for 2017, operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 15 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.

Tags: Little Rock, People Helping People
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