SUCCESS STORIES

Follow along with the progress of our First Step Funding awardee's programs as we feature a new success story each week!

Prism Education Center

Volunteers Make a Difference on United for Impact Day

Apple Seeds Inc.

Food Ambassador Training Camp

The Food Ambassador Training Camp will train selected children to take a leadership role in their school as a trained ambassador to promote healthy food choices and to support the school garden for all the students of the school. These students will attend focus group meetings at their school, attend a one week training camp, and return to their schools empowered to make a change with the support of their school garden/food committee. To learn more, visit our blog.

Big Brothers Big Sisters NWA

Mentoring Programs

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of NWA received two program grants from First Step Funding. The first allows BBBS to expand already established youth mentoring program along the I-49 Northwest Arkansas corridor, through mentoring programs that help children (“Littles”) stay off drugs and alcohol, stay out of fights, and stay in school through their one-to-one relationships with their adult mentors (“Bigs”).

The second First Step grant enables the organization to open and run a BBBS youth mentoring program in Siloam Springs.  Siloam Springs is a part of Northwest Arkansas, but is far enough away so that they unfortunately often get left out of NWA initiatives.This local presence will also facilitate organizing activities for the Siloam matches, so that they can participate in agency events and activities without driving all the way to Fayetteville or Bentonville. BBBS hope to match at least 25 children in Siloam Springs in the first year with a Big Brother, Big Sister, Big Couple or Big Family, thus giving them a needed boost to achieve success in life. To learn more, visit our blog

Gravette Schools

Student Welding Program

This year Gravette School District partnered with Northwest Technical Institute (NTI) to expand their Welding Program. The Welding I program is now being offered through the Western Benton County Career Center and is educating students from Bentonville, Gravette, and Decatur schools. Thanks to the First Step Funding grant provided by the United Way, these students have access to the proper equipment and supplies, adding to the success of this program. With the programs offered at the Western Benton County Career Center, Western Benton County Career Center is giving students the skills to break the cycle of poverty. In Arkansas, welders make an average of $17.17 per hour, which is more than twice the minimum wage! To learn more, visit our blog

CASA of Northwest Arkansas

Lifelong Links

CASA of Northwest Arkansas’ Lifelong Links (LLL) is a family finding program for teenagers in foster care. Teens targeted for this program are seasoned veterans of the system and will likely age out with little if any support system in place. Because of this, these young people are less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to end up incarcerated and/or homeless than their peers. Lifelong Links aims to change the course of these children’s lives by building a network of familial relationships to provide consistent support, a sense of identity, and a home outside of the foster care system (physical permanency)! To learn more, visit our blog

Boys and Girls Club of Benton County

Building New Futures

“The Pea Ridge Club currently serves ages 6 through 5th grade within the Pea Ridge school system.  We are so fortunate to have the use of the Pea Ridge Intermediate School gym to center around our Club programs – Academic Success, Good Character & Leadership, and Healthy Lifestyles. The need in Pea Ridge grew from many of their youth going home to empty houses.  Without supervision, they did not have the support or resources to even complete their homework.  We’ve not been open long enough to truly measure our impact in Pea Ridge, but if this is any indicator, 68 families registered their children for the Boys & Girls Club in that first night alone!  We are so happy to be a part of this community and partnering with the United Way and hope, together, to make a difference in Pea Ridge!” – Jonetta Sullivan, Marketing and Vents Manager Boys & Girls Club of Benton County.

To learn more, visit our blog

EOA Children's Services

Head Start Program

First Step Funding will enhance and strengthen EOA’s current initiatives of providing school readiness skills to low-income children in Washington County.  Services that are provided to ensure school readiness are 1) reduce the achievement gap, 2) address health, mental health, and disability issues during the critical developmental years of early childhood, and 3) work with parents to lessen the effects of chronic poverty on the very young child such as homelessness, food insecurity, and workforce entry while the family works to move up and out of poverty.  This two-generation approach builds sustainability for not only the child but the entire family.  EOA is committed to closing the achievement gap for children by developing school readiness goals, which, in addition to guiding curriculum and teaching, are used to track and analyze child outcomes.

To learn more, visit our blog

Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas

Community Program Series- Girl Scouting in Schools & Detention Centers

Girl Scouts Rise serves girls who find themselves in or on the brink of the juvenile court system. During these weekly programs, girls have access to strong female role models who invest their time and talents into the girls. Discussion-based programming, with an emphasis on positive relationships, self-esteem and better decision-making, allows the girls to discover all they have to offer in a safe, encouraging environment. Mentors encourage and empower these young women in Benton and Washington Counties to use the skills and talents they already possess to rise to their full potential and become positive leaders in their community.

To learn more, visit our blog

More success stories to come!..