JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "Be Your Own Beautiful" was the theme of a gala that took place on Friday at St. Bernards Auditorium in Jonesboro.
Volunteer Deana Weeks with the Volunteer Council for the Jonesboro Human Development Center said the gala is a chance to show what amazing people clients of the JHDC are.
"This is really to celebrate our residents and their amazing talents," Weeks said. "We have their artwork, they will be modeling fashions from Dillard's and we also have some musicians. And so, we're just so excited to share that with the community and raise awareness of the center within the community."
The Jonesboro Human Development Center houses over 100 adults with special needs that are 18 years of age and older.
"It's like a city within a city," Weeks said. "The medical team is there for any needs the clients have. They have a school. We just want to raise awareness and let the community know the importance of the center and the services provided there and what a great job they do in caring for the residents."
Weeks said the gala was made possible by members of the Volunteer Council.
"The Volunteer Council of the Center is actually hosting this event tonight," Weeks said. "It's a fundraiser as well as an opportunity to raise awareness. I think of the Volunteer Council almost like a PTA or parent and community support arm as our schools have. Because this is a government agency and there aren't a lot of outside funds."
The evening included dinner, a silent auction, a keynote speaker, fashion show, and musicians.
Weeks said she hoped the event was not only memorable for clients and their families, but brought future partners into the JHDC.
"I think the most important thing is to have community partners," Weeks said. "Community partners can provide more opportunities for residents. For instance, the residents garden. So, we're always looking for volunteers who have that interest or area of expertise. They love to do art. And so, we really think the center is their home and we're looking to bring in some more community involvement."
Weeks said their crowd was bigger than they planned for.
"We had planned for 144 people," Weeks said. "That was kind of our original goal. And we are so delighted at the turnout. That we have exceeded that and we hope to expand even more in the future."
Weeks said the event sold out to 240 people.
Money raised from the gala will help provide transportation, overnight stay, and meals for Special Olympians.
Some funds may also go to things needed in the center, like art supplies for their clients, or Miracle League registration.
For more information about the Jonesboro Human Development Center, click here.