Getting ahead and giving back: Leadership Walton helps improve north and south organizations

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 04:17 PM.

"I toured the facility and talked with Kim Lonas, the executive director who is an amazing woman," Burlison said. "It really touched me."

The Arc is a national organization that advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Their local office, in DeFuniak Springs, partners with the Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School to provide service to local individuals.

After several other class members visited Walton County 's Arc, there was no convincing needed when choosing to support the organization.

"It has been fun working with the team members — knowing that we're making a difference," said Katina Laird, assistant supervisor at Walton County Tax Collector. "We've had the chance to meet a few of the clients they serve, which was a great inspiration."

With a little more than a month until graduation, the service projects are not yet complete. The team is continuing to raise money to purchase supplies for each organization's projects. The goal is $5,000.

"The organizations are growing," Burlison said. "Especially Arc since they provide services to Bay and Okaloosa County as well. As the programs grow, they're going to need updates."

And after eight months of Leadership Walton, these 15 people aren't classmates anymore, they're friends.

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