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story.lead_photo.caption Bryce Kemph of Fayetteville makes his approach shot on hole 18 at J Beast Disc Golf Course at a previous benefit tournament for the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter. Dynamic Discs is helping the shelter organize the Disc Golf for the Kids! benefit tournament Aug. 22 at the shelter’s new disc golf course on its Bentonville campus. (NWA Democrat-Gazette file photo/J.T. Wampler)

Disc golf devotees and Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter supporters are welcome to the Disc Golf for the Kids! tournament Aug. 22 to benefit the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter.

Kate Lunsford, NWACS grants and marketing manager, says: "This is the first time that our disc golf course has been open to the public to play. The course was provided for the kids by Hormel Foods and designed and built by disc golf professionals. We often receive calls asking if the course is available to play, but due to the privacy needs of our children, we have not allowed it. This is a one-time opportunity for local disc golfers to play the course. There are three different divisions for the players, from novice to expert. All ages and abilities are welcome, and we are very grateful to our partner, Dynamic Discs of Northwest Arkansas, for helping us organize the event."

The Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter is a private, nonprofit organization offering 24-hour residential care for children and teens who are victims of abuse or neglect. Founded in 1993 with five girls as residents, the 48-bed shelter serves some 500 children annually. Residents may stay up to 45 days in a six-month period until returning to their families or being placed in foster care.

Lunsford added: "The coronavirus crisis has not affected the need for our programs at the shelter. Our staff is still here, 24 hours per day, to ensure a safe haven for children who have suffered the trauma of abuse and neglect. In fact, we are preparing for an increase in the number of children in need of our services once schools in Arkansas reopen. Natural disasters and pandemics put a lot more stress on families, and when that happens, there is usually an increase in violence in the home. These children have also been away from the watchful eyes of teachers, counselors and other school staff who are most likely to notice and report suspected child abuse. Unfortunately, the Children's Shelter may be needed now more than ever.

"We are also preparing to open the doors to Hope Academy of Northwest Arkansas on Aug. 24. This tuition-free public charter school is an extension of the services provided by the shelter. It is the first trauma-informed charter school in Arkansas and one of only a few in the United States," Lunsford said. "It is designed to meet the specific needs of children who have experienced significant childhood trauma that has led to difficulty succeeding in a typical classroom environment. In our first year, we will be serving students in kindergarten through third grade. We will then add one grade each year until we are serving kindergarten through sixth grade."

Proceeds from Disc Golf for the Kids will support both the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter and Hope Academy. Registration is available at https://bit.ly/2E8tPwf.

-- CARIN SCHOPPMEYER

[email protected]

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Disc Golf for the Kids!

Who: Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter

What: Disc golf, lunch, prizes

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 22

Where: Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter in Bentonville

Entry fee: $50 at discgolfscene.com

Information: (479) 795-2417, nwacs.org

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