4RKids is in the midst of a capital campaign to fund renovations and additions to the existing facility to expand the vocational center, create a resource center, provide a variety of therapy options, and more.  4RKids is an non-profit organization that has provided vocational, education, social and recreational opportunities to children and adults with special needs in northwest Oklahoma since 2003.  The organization serves 154 children and adults with special needs, and 462 family members in the area.  The organization employs adults with special needs to manage gift shops, operate the Putt Putt course at 710 Overland Trl., and run the paper shredding and cardboard processing business.  4RKids board members began planning the campaign years ago, Executive Director Tricia Mitchell said, and they did a feasibility study in 2012.  “We developed materials and began asking big donors for money in 2014,” she said. “Just our board members have raised $168,000. Right now, we’re at about $550,000.”

4RKids hopes to reach half of the $4.25 million goal before applying for grants, Mitchell said. Through the campaign, the new center would triple the amount of people they could serve, Mitchell said. “We are crowded,” she said. “We have 50 employees. We have no storage. We have no room. We have no office space.” Mitchell shares an office with another employee, and three other employees share a closet-sized office, she said.

The employees work at 2nd Story gift shops in the Putt Putt facility and downtown in the Non-Profit Center, 114 S. Independence, work at food banks like Loaves & Fishes, and make dog biscuits, jewelry, bath products and greeting cards to sell in the gift shops. There is limited space in the 4RKids facility, so the organization takes the employees out in the community, Mitchell said.

“That’s why we bought the shred building down the street, we go to Loaves & Fishes every day, we go out in the community picking up recycling, we go to the downtown store,” she said. “We try to get out, because we have no room here.” The capital campaign would fund renovations to the current building, which Mitchell said is “falling apart.”  “The ceilings are separating, and outside, the wood is rotting,” she said. “We’ve got to do something. We are bursting at the seams.”

The campaign would also fund a 10,000-square-foot addition to the west of the current building, she said.  The addition would house office spaces, dance, music and sensory therapy rooms, a resource center, and workrooms for making dog biscuits and other projects, Mitchell said.  They also hope to refurbish the putt putt courses, she said.  “There are two 18-hole courses out there, and want to take it all down and build one big 18-hole course that looks like the city of Enid,” she said, complete with models of the Vance Air Force Base and other land marks. “Like a destination golf course.”

In 2015, 4RKids employees provided more than 5,000 services hours at food banks and working in the community, served more than 10,000 customers in the gift shops, made more than 5,000 greeting cards, produced more than 1,300 pounds of dog biscuits, and processed more than 91,000 pounds of shredded paper and cardboard. 4RKids is seeking donors for the capital campaign, and every donor will be recognized on the organization’s website, but sizable donations will merit naming opportunities, Mitchell said.  A $1 million donation will receive the building dedication; $250,000 will receive the lobby dedication; $200,000 will offer work, supply, laundry and office room dedications; $100,000 will merit the covered patio dedication; $75,000 will receive the break room dedication; $50,000 will offer naming opportunities for conference, art, music, dance, sensory, therapy, game, work, and bear stuffing rooms, and the 2nd Story Store; $25,000 will offer the resource center or golf simulator dedication; $10,000 will receive indoor or outdoor golf hole names; $2,500 will name park benches; and $500 will receive paving stone dedications. Donors providing $1,000 or more will be recognized on a donor wall, Mitchell said.

4RKids will throw an campaign launch party 1-4 p.m. April 23 at the Putt Putt, with information about donating.

Story by:  Enid News & Eagle