Outstanding Volunteer Organization
By Renarda A. Williams | Photography by Rett Peek | Hair by Caitlin Neuwmann with Face Your Day Salon | Makeup by Aaron Perkins with Face Your Day Salon
Ozark Mission Project provides opportunities for youth groups to engage with surrounding communities – serving families, implementing home improvement projects, and transforming neighborhoods through fellowship and camaraderie. A mission within the Arkansas Area United Methodist Church, Karen and Britt Skarda became involved in OMP through their children’s camp experiences. As senior pastor at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, Britt recognizes the importance of “sharing the love of Christ through hands-on involvement in the community.” He adds, “Ozark Mission Project is a wonderful example.”
The Friends of OMP, the auxiliary group of Ozark Mission Project, is comprised of volunteers that make this work possible. This team has helped increase the organization’s fundraising by 800 percent in four years by hosting fundraisers throughout the state. Devoted volunteers, like Karen and Britt, have a network of friends and family across Arkansas willing to provide support. Karen notes, “Married 44 years now, we have lived in several communities with Britt serving United Methodist Churches for 32 years.” As a result of increased funding, Friends of OMP offers more scholarships for camp attendance and introduced a new elementary mission program.
“Our volunteers have worked more than 30,000 hours in the last year,” explains Ozark Mission Project Executive Director Bailey Faulkner. “Those hours represent wheelchair ramps built for families that are homebound. They represent youth that were inspired to help others in our state and bonds made for a lifetime. Our youth come to OMP and leave wanting to make our state a better place. We are proud to be Arkansas-based with Arkansans serving others.”