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The Pinnacle of Stick Horse Racing

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Southern Silks Stakes

By KIM MEYER-WEBB | Photography by JACOB ALLINSON | Hair & Makeup by  SUZY BENDER with SERENITY SALON | Wardrobe from BARBARA JEAN | Artwork by MELANIE BUCHANAN

United Methodists believe  that community is where God’s love and people come together to transform the world. It is acts of kindness that cultivate and inspire faith. Melanie and Matt Buchanan are not only deeply rooted in Central Arkansas, their family takes this vision into fruition – serving some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.  Next month, Melanie and Matt will welcome friends to the Pinnacle of Stick Horse Racing at Southern Silks Stakes in celebration of the continued mission fulfillment work of Methodist Family Health.

These native Arkansans met at Lyon College, married and move to the Capital City where their family enjoys a bounty of opportunities. Matt is a banker and Melanie teaches art at Little Rock Christian Academy; their commitment to building a better community is something they share with their daughters through effective volunteerism. “We are heavily involved in our church, our daughters participate in Ozark Mission Project and we all love being outside in nature.” Melanie remembers the Lyon College Service Day as an experience that impressed her. “It was my freshman year and everyone signed up for different projects in the community. Choosing to do this as an adult … that was the moment that service became a part of my life.” Matt’s father was a Methodist minister and notes that these family values remain paramount.

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Melanie and Matt were initially introduced to Methodist Family Health through Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church. “Being members, we heard about Methodist Family Health through special offerings and volunteer opportunities,” Melanie recalls. “Our good friends Becka and Brian Webb invited us to join the Southern Silks Stakes planning committee a couple of years ago. The more we learned about the organization, the more we realized this is exactly the kind of place we want to serve.”

Established as an orphanage in 1899 by the state’s Methodist community, Methodist Family Health has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of children in Arkansas and continues to evolve to meet the needs of families. The organization offers programs and services for families and children struggling with behavioral, emotional, psychiatric and spiritual issues. These resources are provided throughout the state at residential treatment centers and counseling clinics as well as the Kaleidoscope Grief Center for children and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES).

Proceeds from Southern Silks Stakes support this continuum of care. Melanie emphasizes a startling statistic: Arkansas ranks #1 in the country for childhood trauma events. “Methodist Family Health helps families combat addiction, mental illness and grief; education and resources let Arkansas families live happier and healthier.” Melanie recognizes the fabulous faux horse races and festive fair, inspired by the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horseracing, has a fundamental purpose. “While we’re having a blast, we’re also raising money for the little extras that make a child’s experience at Methodist Family Health more positive.” For the Buchanan family, showing God’s love is a daily practice. “We believe in growing where you’ve been planted. We love Little Rock and want to do everything we can to grow our community.” 

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