Youth in 3 cities to hold event to support Care Center

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published September 8, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 6, 2013 at 2:27 p.m.
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Wayne Bryan

Members of the the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Councils for Benton, Bryant and Haskell have joined together to organize a 14.8-mile bicycle race on Saturday to raise funds for The Care Center in Benton, which provides meals and other supplies for families in need. On the front row, from the left, are Abby Clay of Benton and Peyton Ellis of Bryant; second row, from the left, Bella Slaughter of Benton; Whitney Butler and Matti Botti, both of Bryant; and Michelle Eckhoff and Hannah Ramsey, both of Haskell; and top row, from the left, Becky Rand of Benton; Madison Berryman, Madison Morehead and Michelle Adibo, all of Bryant; and Austin Gregory and Anders Moen, both of Haskell.

BENTON — Youth from three Saline County cities are joining together to promote a charity event. Members of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Councils in Benton, Bryant and Haskell have come together to promote the Saline County MYAC Bike-A-Thon, a bicycle race of almost 15 miles through the county.

This is the first time the three councils have cooperated on one project.

“This is a good sign that young people are getting together,” Benton Mayor David Mattingly said at a joint meeting of the three groups at the Benton Municipal Complex on Wednesday evening. “It is also good that you are doing things, not only for the community, but to donate your time for an organization to help others — that’s what it is all about.”

More than 50 members of the three youth organizations came together to work out some last details and learn their volunteer assignments for the race, which will be held Saturday morning.

The Bike-A-Thon will benefit The Care Center Inc., located in Benton. The organization serves a hot meal on Thursday nights and provides other essential services and supplies for Saline County families in need.

Trevor Villines, a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, is leading the combined effort.

“We will have 59 volunteers helping out,” said Villines, a student at Benton High School. “This will take some skills and a lot of work, but the three organizations joining together is a great thing.”

It was also announced that while registrations for the race have not been as numerous as expected, donations have been gathered so that the councils’ members will be able to donate at least $4,000 to The Care Center.

Members of the three councils are students from grades 10 through 12. The groups hold monthly meetings, often learning how a city department operates or organizing as volunteers for civic events. On Wednesday night, several of Benton’s young council members signed up to work concessions for the Movie in the Park nights at Tyndall Park. The members of the councils in Bryant and Haskell do similar jobs for their hometowns.

“I wanted the students to learn about becoming involved citizens and to learn how organized volunteers can make a difference in the city,” Haskell Mayor Jeff Arey said when he first organized the council in his city in 2011, with students from Harmony Grove High School.

Bryant also began its youth council in 2011.

“It was one of my initiatives to get the youth engaged in their city in hopes that that kind of involvement will carry on for a lifetime,” Bryant mayor Jill Dabbs said during a meeting of the Bryant Youth Advisory Council.

The bike race will be 14.8 miles and will run from the Benton Public Schools Athletic Complex up through Bryant and out Alcoa Road into Bauxite, then return to the complex. Many of the riders who have signed up so far have been adults who are already engaged in bike racing.

“The race could be quick,” Villines said.

Registration will start at 7 a.m. at the sports complex behind Benton High School. The race will begin at 8 a.m. The entry fee is $25 and includes an event T-shirt.

Bryant and Benton police will aid with traffic control, and all the police agencies in the area are helping to make orange safety vests available for the young volunteers.

Timers will determine the winner of the race. Villines said racers will be timed in a very old-school way, using stop watches and entering the times on paper. To keep the process more relevant for the young volunteers, it has been suggested they place a stop-watch app on their phones.

Entry forms are located online at and at They are also available at the Benton Municipal Complex, Benton High School and the Bryant City Hall. The entry fee is $25.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be contacted at (501) 244-4460 0r at wbryan@arkansas

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or