After more than five years of planning and fundraising, 4RKids broke ground Friday on a new $2.2 million facility to expand its services to those in need.

4RKids provides employment opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities, support and outreach to their families, and supports local enrichment opportunities for the developmentally disabled, including Miracle League and Special Olympics.

The planned building, designed by Easley Associates Architects of Enid at more than 10,000 square feet, will increase the foundation’s space for employment counseling and training.

4RKids Executive Director Tricia Mitchell said the new building, to be constructed by Henson Construction Co. of Enid, will triple the number of people 4RKids can serve.

“This is an exciting day for 4RKids,” Mitchell said shortly before the groundbreaking. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. I cannot tell you how much there is a need for this in the community.”

Dr. Barbara Whinery and Bret Whinery, founding members of 4RKids, spoke briefly at the groundbreaking, to thank the community for their ongoing support.

“This has taken a long time,” Barbara said. “It’s taken a village — it’s taken all of you. But, here we are, and we’re not stopping.”

Bret said the new facility will increase 4RKids’ already-important role in serving adults with special needs.

“We’re continuing to make a huge impact in the community,” he said, “and giving opportunities to people who otherwise would have to stay home.”

Mitchell said the fundraising to begin work on the building took many individual donors, and was put over the top by the family of the late Deborah Ann Traylor, who had special needs.

The building will be named in honor of Deborah Ann Traylor, Mitchell said. Traylor’s sisters, Nancy Burgett, of Enid, Norma Duane, of Grapevine, Texas, and Donna Kaminsky, of Plano, Texas, were present for the groundbreaking Friday.

Burgett said it’s rewarding for her and her sisters to be able to honor Deborah, and to help other adults with special needs find fulfillment.

“It just means everything to us that these very special people in Enid will have employment opportunities,” she said. “The three of us girls got to go to college and have jobs, and to get to see these people here get to have jobs and opportunities just warms my heart.

“Everyone deserves that kind of quality of life,” Burgett said. “We’re all God’s children.”


James Neal – Enid News and Eagle