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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Special needs adults find place in community at Dazona, fundraiser supports cause

Special needs adults find place in community at Dazona, fundraiser supports cause

By Shannon Myers
Correspondent

Saturday, at the Carl Levin Park Pavillion, Dazona Life and Learning Center of Killeen, hosted their first Annual Summer Cookout and Petsapalooza. The event was free and open to everyone in the community.
“Dazona is a really good place. We are grateful for it,” said Mary Lehman of Killeen. Mary’s daughters go to Dazona and decided to come to the cookout to support and have a fun time over the weekend.
Established in 2013, Dazona Life and Learning Center is a day-rehabilitation facility for adults with special needs. Their goal is “helping our clients enhance their quality of life and broaden their horizons.”
“We’re out here today to make sure that we let the community know that our nonprofit, public charity is out there. After high school, when they age out, need a place to go, so they aren’t just sitting at home. They need to have a purpose and be a part of the community,” said Jennifer Buehler, day rehabilitation specialist and event coordinator.
Dazona’s cookout provided many activities such as bouncy house, a variety of six local vendors and young entrepreneurs, face painting, food and cold treats, caricatures by artist Gabriel Chavez, Rolling Video Games, a dunk tank, a pet show, and a table that showcased projects and art made by the students of Dazona that could be purchased.

Photo by Shannon Myers Merryck Brandon, 10, owner of Butterfly Delights, explains to a customer the different flavors and varieties of healthy cookies Dazona’s First Annual Summer Cookout and Petsapalooza at the Carl Levin Park Pavilion.

Photo by Shannon Myers
Merryck Brandon, 10, owner of Butterfly Delights, explains to a customer the different flavors and varieties of healthy cookies Dazona’s First Annual Summer Cookout and Petsapalooza at the Carl Levin Park Pavilion.

“It’s good they have places like this. My oldest son was handicapped and there weren’t many places in the country that would actually have a facility that would be able to handle what he needed. Back then, there was maybe four in the country. So, daycares like this are very, very essential and are needed badly,” said R.D. Jackson, who recently moved to the area.
Dazona provides a place for adults to learn life skills, continued education, field trips, vocational skills, cooking, and gardening.
“We are expanding. We need more room, more computers, and supplies, to keep us up and running. We hope we can reach out to more people in our community,” said Jackie Paprzycki, director of Dazona.
Paprzycki said the turnout was more than they expected. More than 100 people came out to the cookout. The funds from the cookout are going towards new computers for their computer lab.
“We’re looking forward to the dog show. We got his costume all ready,” said Heidi who was visiting her daughter, Bailey of Killeen.
Bailey brought Porter, a Standard Poodle therapy dog. Porter, along with several other therapy and service dogs entered the pet fashion show to show off their costumes and bring smiles to peoples’ faces.
Porter dressed as a hippie, took home first place prize of two tickets to Six Flags. Runner up was Bear, a service dog who is able to detect chemical imbalances.
“We are planning a lot more of smaller events like a yard sale in October. We want to plan events where we can incorporate the students as well,” said Buehler.
For more information on Dazona and upcoming events visit http://www.dazonalifeandlearningcenter.com/, their Facebook page, or call 254-699-2187.

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