TEAMworks International: Is a team of therapists and specialists who travel internationally, seeking to improve the lives and futures of children. Currently, we travel to Ukraine and Guatemala where we work with hundreds of children, offering individualized treatment plans, equipment, and education to improve quality of life.
Team Talent: Is an extra-curricular program providing adaptive acting and art classes to local children with special needs. These programs help the children to become involved in the community by promoting social skills and confidence.
Heroes for Kids: Is an initiative that raises money to pay for equipment such as bikes, trikes, and jogging strollers. The goal of Heroes for Kids is to help families with special needs children to get outdoors, get active and to have fun together.
How TEAMworks Began:
It all started through an adoption….
In 2001, Jimmie and Amanda Clark of Bentonville, AR had decided to adopt from Ukraine. After meeting an Ozark couple who had adopted a couple of children from Ukraine, including one with special needs, the Clark's decided to keep their hearts open to children who had special needs. So in May 2002, when they traveled to Ukraine to adopt. Amanda related, “We didn’t have our minds set on healthy or special needs, We kept our hearts open.”
Into those open hearts “leaped” Dimitri and Aleksei, 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. But the Clarks couldn’t find a family for Elena. So 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.” They showered Amanda with questions.
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 got the attention of the clinic’s owner, Kym Hannah, (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]. It’s a horrible, horrible place where kids lie in beds 24 hours. Their diapers don’t get changed. Nobody touches them. We’re trying to help kids be more adoptable. We can rehabilitate these kids.”
[The] team has been back to Ukraine over [ten] times now, and have 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 to the local community here in Northwest Arkansas. The goal and mission of TEAMworks is to assist and service all children with special needs by improving family education, community involvement, and quality of life.
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