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story.lead_photo.caption Pictured are Lesley Graybeal, left, fundraising chair for the upcoming virtual omelet-breakfast fundraiser Omelets With the Toad Master, and Teresa Little, executive director of Milestones Services, which the event benefits. ( Staci Vandagriff)

After taking a few years off, Milestones Services in Conway brought back its omelet-breakfast fundraiser, Omelets With the Toad Master, last year, partnering with the annual Toad Suck Daze. The effort raised more than $12,000. This year, however, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the breakfast fundraiser has been moved to the virtual world.

“This year, we can’t group together, and Toad Suck Daze has been postponed,” said Teresa Little, executive director of Milestones Services, which provides early intervention for children 5 years old and under who are at risk of developmental delays because of medical conditions. “So we are hosting a virtual event, where we will have a schedule of people doing different things.

“We have a guest chef, Marvin Williams, who will be making an omelet waffle.”

Little said one of the board members, a local principal, will speak about the program and how it has helped her own children.

“One of our parents, who performs as princesses, will read books, and Santa Claus will be on hand to make omelets as well,” Little said.

Omelets With the Toad Master is scheduled from 8-11 a.m. May 3. Guests can participate in the fundraiser by purchasing tickets or T-shirts at www.milestonesconway.org. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Once the tickets are purchased, email

omeletswiththetoadmaster@gmail.com to request the call-in information for the virtual event. Lesley Graybeal, fundraising chair for the event, said by purchasing tickets, guests will receive the log-in for the virtual event, and their purchase will be honored when the fundraiser is rescheduled for the fall.

“We are also encouraging people to make donations,” Graybeal said. “We are still waiting to see if Toad Suck Daze is going to be rescheduled for the fall, and once it is, we will reschedule [the actual breakfast fundraiser] once things are opening back up.”

Brian Ratliff is once again this year’s Toad Master, and he will be available during the virtual event, working as its master of ceremonies.

“We are going to do a biscuit-making demonstration and a kids cooking activity, as well as some arts and crafts,” Graybeal said. “We’ve got our schedule public, so people can see what they would be most interested in and can drop in and out.”

Graybeal said it is hard to judge the level of interest for this year’s event, since it will all be done online.

“Life is really hectic these days, but we definitely want people to give it a chance,” Graybeal said. “It is something different and [an opportunity to] engage with others in ways they might not be able to otherwise.”

She said that last year, about 100 to 150 people participated in the breakfast. She said the organizers hope to raise more awareness for Milestones this year.

Little said that as a result of sponsors, this year’s virtual event has already raised $14,000. She said that including T-shirt and ticket sales, she hopes to either reach or exceed the goal of $15,000. She said the money is used to “enhance what we do and buy the extra things we normally don’t have money for, like playground equipment or things for the classrooms.”

Milestones Services, at 1700 South Blvd., has been opened in Faulkner County since 1961.

“We assist with areas of development, including communication and cognition, as well as personal social skills and motor skills,” Little said. “We have therapists on staff, including physical, occupational and speech therapists.”

“Milestones provides early intervention services, including therapy and rehab services, and also provides inclusion development,” Graybeal said.

Little has been the executive director for Milestones for four years but was previously the early-childhood director for 33 years. She said she has participated in several omelet events.

“Last year was the best we have ever had,” Little said.

Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 244-4314 or spierce@arkansasonline.com.

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