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University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters and will address the Class of 2015.
Rutherford is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he received the Journalism Department’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award.
A former administrative assistant to U.S. Senator David Pryor, he has been active in numerous local, state and federal campaigns and initiatives. He is the founder and organizer of the Political Animals Club, a non-partisan grassroots organization of community leaders and activists who meet regularly to discuss politics and issues, and he coordinated the 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1957 crisis at Little Rock Central High School.
He served as Founding President of the William J. Clinton Foundation and supervised the planning and construction of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park from 1997 until it opened in 2004.
Among his numerous civic honors, Rutherford was named Tourism Person of the Year at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the Arkansan of the Year by the Arkansas Broadcasters Association and by the Arkansas Times newspaper, and Headliner of the Year by the Arkansas Press Association.
Rutherford is the recipient of the William F. Rector Memorial Award for distinguished civic achievement in Little Rock; the Just Communities of Arkansas Humanitarian Award; the Men of Volunteer Achievement from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; the Arkansas Community Service Award from the Arkansas Department of Volunteerism; the Martin Luther King Award from the Black Community Developers; the Community Service Award from the University of Arkansas Alumni Association; the Champion Award from the Home Instruction Program for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY); and the Clara Barton Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year by the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas.
“The international public service project is one of the most unique experiences we offer at the Clinton School,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School. “It gives students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom related to conflict resolution, decision analysis, and leadership and apply that knowledge to real problems in communities around the world.”
Seven students will be completing projects in six new countries – Croatia; Ecuador; Ireland; Liberia; Nigeria, and Senegal – for the Clinton School, which will bring the total to 77 countries where students have served since the school opened in 2005. This represents about 40% of the world’s countries.
The international public service project is one of three public service projects that make up a significant portion of the MPS degree program. Students also complete a team-based project in Arkansas and a final individual project that culminates their degree.
The international work exposes the students to unique challenges around the globe and provides immediate and long-term impact for the students and their organizational partners.
Work sites and host organizations are selected collaboratively by Clinton School students and faculty.
2015 International Public Service Projects:
Olajumoke Joyce Ajayi – Lagos State Waste Management Authority (Lagos, Nigeria) - Ajayi will create an evaluation plan that will serve as a framework for an evaluation of LAWMA’s recycling project in Makoko, Lagos, fostering the organization’s goal of an environment free from susceptibility to waste pollution.
Joyce Akidi – Heifer International (Mchinji, Malawi) - Akidi will focus on assessing the sustainability of social capital several years after the Heifer’s Small Holder’s Dairy Initiative Project has been completed in Mchinji, Malawi. This report will help Heifer determine the impact of its work in this area and how to improve it in other areas with a similar project.
Nouroudine Alassane – Heifer International (Thies, Senegal) - Alassane will collect and analyze data that will inform Heifer’s monitoring and evaluation team. He will carry out surveys and focus groups and analyze data to show the effectiveness of Heifer’s program in mitigating children malnutrition and poverty among women.
Berkeley Anderson – Barefoot College (Rajasthan, India) - Anderson will create an evaluation toolkit that measures the impact of several educational programs within the organization. She will incorporate input from teachers, students, and community members to facilitate evaluations that reflect the community’s definitions of program success.
Kathryn Baxter – Village Life Outreach Project (Shirati, Tanzania) - Baxter will collect narratives from participants in the Mama Maisha maternal health program. This research will help the program understand how its Maternal Health Advocates are supporting local women in navigating the health system.
Abigail Bi – Walmart/Walton Foundation (Bentonville, Arkansas, USA) - Bi will help evaluate outcomes of completed philanthropic grants in the developing countries where Walmart sponsored funds on women’s economic empowerment, monitor active philanthropic grants in those countries, and work out strategic solutions on local relationship development for the three new women’s economic empowerment projects in Asia and Africa.
Romerse Biddle – Southern Arkansas University (Magnolia, Arkansas, USA) - Biddle will conduct a feasibility study that will include program strengthening with SAU international partner universities that could lead to the creation of an international public service student exchange program.
Katherine Brown – World Wildlife Fund (Ankara, Turkey) - Brown will create a series of asset maps and educational materials detailing the significant ecological and industrial features of the Büyük Menderes River Basin. The materials will be used by WWF staff to engage with basin stakeholders about the implementation of the Büyük Menderes River Basin Water Stewardship Strategy.
Jordan Butler – Village Life Outreach Project (Shirati, Tanzania) - Butler will work with community members to create a strategic plan designed to ensure that the Nutrition Project has a safe and sustainable water supply program necessary to provide daily school meals. She will also design a health education pilot program for the three primary schools where the Nutrition Project operates.
Melvin Clayton – Beacon School East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) - Clayton will assist the school in developing sustainable partnerships for funding streams and accreditation. He will document the standards request and provide recommendations for the Beacon School to reach these standards.
Amanda Cullen – Senhoa (Siem Reap, Cambodia) - Cullen, along with fellow student Jennifer Guzman, will conduct an evaluation of Senhoa’s Lotus Kids’ Club, a program that links early childhood education with family development in order to prevent future cases of human trafficking and exploitation. She will use the data she collects to help determine whether the program is meeting its intended mission and goals.
Andrew Forsman – Peacework and the Belize Ministry of Education (Belize City, Belize) - Forsman will create evaluation plans for two youth financial literacy and entrepreneurship initiatives. His work will help the Ministry and partnering staff from PricewaterhouseCoopers strengthen their teacher training and entrepreneurial service learning efforts across Belize.
Sarah Fuchs – Lifesong for Orphans (Mirebalais, Haiti) - Fuchs will be designing and implementing an interview-based research plan evaluating current needs and best practices in the Haitian education system. After detailed data analysis, she will present the organization with recommendations for school development and partnerships.
Georgia Genoway – Liberian Ministry (Monrovia, Liberia) - Genoway will develop an impact assessment report by conducting interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders. The report will help the ministry secure more funds for program improvement.
Jennifer Guzman – Senhoa (Siem Reap, Cambodia) - Guzman, along with fellow student Amanda Cullen, will conduct an evaluation of Senhoa’s Lotus Kids’ Club, a program that links early childhood education with family development in order to prevent future cases of human trafficking and exploitation. She will use the data she collects to help determine whether the program is meeting its intended mission and goals.
Anne Haley – Community and Family Services International (Manila, Philippines) - Haley will create a comprehensive marketing and communications plan with an emphasis on digital and social media to be implemented by the existing staff of the organization. She will assess the current marketing efforts and tailor a plan to fit the specific needs of the organization.
Austin Hall – Peacework (Magaliesburg, South Africa) - Hall will design and implement an impact evaluation for an undergraduate internship program between Siena College and Peacework in the Botshabelo community. He will conduct asset mapping in the community to identify other leaders and organizations to further support a positive global learning environment.
Austin Harrison – United States Department of State (Zagreb, Croatia) - Harrison will work in the Economic Office for the United States Embassy in Croatia focusing on U.S.-Croatian relations and Croatia’s relationship with the European Union. He will develop weekly reports highlighting issues of U.S. national importance and create daily briefings, which will be used to inform the staff of Department of State about the current political and economic climate in Croatia.
Amber Jackson – Heifer International (Pinukpuk, Kalinga, Philippines) - In an effort to assess women’s empowerment, Jackson will examine such indicators as decision-making, control and use of income, and labor time allocation of women who participate in Heifer’s agri-business program. She will build case studies and a labor supply schedule for the organization.
Akaylah Jones – Beacon School East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) - Jones will use a community-centered research approach to assess Beacon School East Africa’s current curriculum, implementation procedures, and resources. She will then develop a recommendation plan the school can use to achieve its improvement goals.
Henry Karlin – Circle of Health International (Waspam, Nicaragua) - Karlin will be providing logistical support and capacity building to provide his organization with the capability of delivering programmatic material in the indigenous Autonomous Region of the Atlantic North. Circle of Health International provides maternal and newborn health to women in crisis.
Helen Grace King – Virtual Dinner Guest Dinner Project (The Hague, Netherlands) - King will develop curriculum that encourages dialogue through video-conferencing technology between people from diverse backgrounds through facilitated dinner conversations, focusing on conflict transformation and collaborative deconstruction of media stereotypes, King’s project will center on the relations between Muslim and Non-Muslim groups of Europe and the Middle East.
Alex Lanis – Fundación Paraguaya (Asuncion, Paraguay) - Lanis will be developing a long-term plan to continuously monitor and evaluate the efficacy of a rural agrarian secondary school. In addition, Lanis will be implementing an alumni network that will enable the organization to track its graduates for evaluation.
Coby MacMaster – Give and Surf (Bocas del Toro, Panama) - MacMaster will create an adult education program to serve an indigenous community in Panama. He will conduct surveys targeting specific educational needs in the area to lay the foundation for the program. Also, MacMaster will be building partnerships and diversifying funding avenues for the organization.
Amanda Mathies – Heifer International (Ecuador) - Mathies will perform a social network analysis to determine the effectiveness of cornerstone training in facilitating social capital. She will document the mechanisms used to catalyze social capital through site visits and interviews.
Emma McAuley – Peacework and the Belize Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (Belize City, Belize) - McAuley will evaluate school gardens for the purpose of developing a teacher’s manual on ways to better incorporate the garden into daily school life. She will provide an evaluation of the use of existing gardens and a best practice framework to assist with curriculum integration.
Molly Miller – Peacework and the Belize Family Life Association (Belize City, Belize) - Miller will conduct an impact assessment of the organization’s peer helper program at Edward P. Yorke High School. She will also complete a curriculum review to ensure that the program is utilizing best practices and meeting the needs of program participants.
Ashley-Brooke Moses – Peacework and Project Esperanza (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic) - Moses will create and conduct an evaluation to measure outcomes for youth participating in an English language immersion summer camp. Data from the evaluation will be used to improve program activities, leverage program support, and provide recommendations for future programing.
Florence Mueni – Rwandan Orphans Project (Kigali, Rwanda) - Mueni will develop a child protection policy. The policy will set standards and guidelines for safeguarding the rights of children being rehabilitated by the organization.
Dariane Mull – Biblioteca Interactiva Fundación Arte del Mundo (Banos, Ecuador) - Mull will be assisting Fundación Arte del Mundo to further improve and strengthen its volunteer program. She will develop a comprehensive volunteer guide and a proposal of potential university partnerships to facilitate more volunteer opportunities.
Michelle Perez – Fundación Paraguaya (Asuncion, Paraguay) - Perez will conduct an evaluation of Fundación Paraguaya’s Microfranchise Project to determine whether microfranchising is an effective tool to lift women out of poverty in Paraguay. Perez will collect and analyze data as well as conduct market research for future micro franchises in the region.
Shanell Ransom – Peacework and the Belize Ministry of Education (Belize City, Belize) - Ransom will evaluate the health and fitness curriculum to strengthen and expand it. She will also develop a manual and partner with new schools for curriculum implementation.
Jessica DeLoach Sabin – Accademia dell’Arte (Arezzo, Italy) - Sabin will create an organizational toolkit of resources that will serve to measure the success and effectiveness of the organization’s programming as well as promote its mission. Her efforts will serve as a resource to expand programming and outreach.
Jeremy Ratcliff – Beacon School East Africa (Kampala, Uganda) - Ratcliff will create a strategic plan that will serve as the foundation for future school expansion. He will design a model to identify school assets to promote development.
Maddy Salzman – Barefoot College (Tilonia, India) - Salzman will create an environmental impact assessment tool for the organization’s Barefoot Solar Initiative, which works to provide clean electricity to rural villages around the world. She will identify environmental indicators and develop measures to assess ecosystem and climactic impacts.
Eddie Savala – Dar es Salaam Voluntary Association (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) - will develop a strategic plan that will help the organization improve on its capacity and performance providing means to deal with its operational challenges. He will also establish an implementation and monitoring schedule that will help foster accountability and programming.
Kat Short – Community and Family Services International (Manila, Philippines) - Short will conduct a mid-implementation evaluation of the organization’s Livelihood Initiative. She will use data collection processes in order to suggest recommendations for program development.
Dustin Smith – Barefoot College (Zanzibar, Tanzania) - Smith will create an asset mapping toolkit to be used by Barefoot College staff, ground partners, and other stakeholders in the creation of location-specific livelihood training curricula for newly-opened and planned vocational training centers across Africa. This toolkit will be piloted for Barefoot College’s new vocational training center in Zanzibar.
Becky Twamley – Village Life Outreach Project (Shirati, Tanzania) - Twamley will work on women’s health issues and will create an asset map of health services available to village women in Shirati, Tanzania. The community resource will include a catalogue of a wide range of health services and how to access them.
Nathan Watson – Lucey Fund (Dublin, Ireland) - Watson will be working with the Lucey Fund to assist startup companies by creating an organizational capacity assessment tool. This tool will be used to help startup companies identify organizational strengths and weaknesses and how to address them.
Brandon Wayerski – Sun Hot Sauce (St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands) - Wayerski will be facilitating the organization’s entrance into the U.S. hot sauce industry while establishing a socially responsible initiative for the organization to allocate some of its U.S.-based proceeds.
Nic Williams – Habitat for Humanity International (Bratislava, Slovakia) - Williams will create a legal compliance and audit manual to be used by Habitat’s legal team for internal legal audits. The team will use the manual for legal work conducted in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
LaKaija Wood-Johnson – Peacework (Belize City, Belize) - Johnson will develop a health education service-learning program guide for Belize. This organizing plan will include an analysis of public health needs in Belize and identify ways Peacework can support community health promotion and disease prevention activities across the country through academic service-learning partnerships.
Second-year student Tshering Yudon spent four months at Vital Voices Global Partnership as a McLarty Global Fellow. Yudon spent an additional three months compiling and enhancing her research on the structure, characteristics, dynamics, and value of women’s business networks. She led the first iteration of mapping business connections for Vital Voices, which will supplement the limited literature on women-led small and medium-sized enterprises and their networks.
Research shows that women face disproportionate barriers in accessing markets, finance, training, and networks despite operating 25-33% of all businesses around the world. Vital Voices Global Partnership addresses these needs through programs like the VV GROW fellowship, a yearlong tailored training program that helps bring women together from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In 2013, the program brought together 83 women from 32 countries that made three business fellow-to-fellow business connections on average.
In collaboration with the VV GROW Fellowship and the Impact Evaluation and Research teams, Yudon developed a comprehensive study that reviews and applies social network analysis (SNA), an upcoming field of study, which allows the mapping and measuring of relationships and transactions between two connected entities. She crafted 21 dynamic network maps to visualize and explain the complexities of business connections amongst women leaders. In addition, she defined five categories of business connections as follows: foreign market expansion, resource exchange, advising, network building, and partnerships for social impact. These categories are key to streamlining the monitoring and evaluation systems for future network data.
“Tshering has mapped networks of women leaders in our programs for the first time,” said Marguerite Berger, Vice President for Impact Evaluation at Vital Voices Global Partnership. “Her innovative work is enabling us to better understand network dynamics among the women we serve so that we can strengthen the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network as a whole, a major component of our organizational strategy.”
Yudon completed her network research as part of her final Capstone, the culminating field service project at the Clinton School of Public Service. She will continue to consult with Vital Voices as they implement the recommendations from her findings.
About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading international women’s organization that seeks to identify, invest in, and bring visibility to extraordinary women from all around the world to build peaceful and prosperous communities.Their international staff and team of over 1,000 partners, pro bono experts and leaders have trained and mentored more than 14,000 emerging women leaders from over 144 countries.
For more information on Vital Voices Global Partnership: http://www.vitalvoices.org/
About VV GROW Fellowship
The fellowship is offered yearly to women business owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The fellowship program offers a unique blend of online learning, in-person training, and tailored support services to help elevate the women and their businesses to the next level.
For more information on VV GROW: http://www.vitalvoices.org/what-we-do/issues/economic-empowerment/vv-grow-fellowship
For the past seven months, four students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service worked with Literacy Action of Central Arkansas (LACA) to gather perceptions on the need for English as a Second Language (ESL) programming in the region.
Jennifer Guzman of Hialeah, Fla., Amanda Mathies of Newport Beach, Calif., Michelle Perez of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and Nic Williams of Judsonia, Ark., administered questionnaires targeted toward local business and community leaders to determine the level of English proficiency needed from potential employees. The study revealed that 78% of local business and community leaders surveyed considered ESL services as “very important” to Central Arkansas.
The research also included conversations with non-native English speakers to determine their ESL needs, highlighting an overwhelming sentiment that a lack of English skills negatively affects their job prospects, access to healthcare, and involvement in the community.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Arkansas is one of the six states with the highest growing rates for adults with limited English proficiency. Central Arkansas has experienced an increased demand in ESL services, and Literacy Action plans to develop an ESL curriculum based on the needs of business leaders, community leaders, and non-native English speakers in the area.
“An ESL program would not only benefit the non-English speaking community but would also benefit the central Arkansas society as a whole,” said Sara Drew, executive director of Literacy Action. “We know how critical it is to provide literacy training for both community leaders and immigrants in the workforce.”
About Literacy Action of Central Arkansas
Literacy Action of Central Arkansas is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the mission of building a community of empowered adults by teaching reading and writing skills. Resources and revenue, generated through fundraisers, community partnerships, and grants are used to fund these critical programs for Arkansas.
More information about LACA as is available at www.literacylittlerock.org
Thirty-six students will graduate with a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (UACS) during the 2015 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9TH at 2:00 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater in downtown Little Rock.
Donna Cochran McLarty and Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty will deliver the commencement address jointly. Donna and Mack McLarty founded the McLarty Global Fellows Program, a philanthropic endeavor established to provide students with the opportunity to engage in substantive international work in the areas of economic empowerment, human rights, and political participation. Mack McLarty served as President Bill Clinton’s first White House Chief of Staff and Donna McLarty has worked with Hillary Clinton on a variety of important issues in Washington and Arkansas.
The 36 graduates are the ninth class to graduate from the Master of Public Service program. During the past two years in the program, the graduates completed a 40-hour curriculum, including three field service projects: a team-based project in Arkansas, an International Public Service Project, and a final individual project.
The graduates also benefitted from participating in the Clinton School Speaker Series, which hosted more than 200 lectures during their two years in the program, including Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress; Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream; and Jeff Bridges, Academy Award-winning actor.
Sir Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana (1980-1998) and grandfather of 2015 graduate, Thato Masire, will be in attendance and will also be giving a lecture on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 8:30a.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service Sturgis Hall. Click here for more information.
For those following our graduation day activities on Twitter, we will be using the hashtags #UACS2015 and #BuildingBridges from the account @ClintonSchool.
The Class of 2015:
Read R. Admire (Little Rock, Ark.)
Anna Applebaum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Kent Junior Broughton, II (Pine Bluff, Ark.)
Quiana Michelle Brown (New Orleans, La.)
Paul Bradley Cameron (Conway, Ark.)
Matthew Cornelius Caston (Jackson, Miss.)
Paola Cavallari (Termoli, Italy)
Benjamin Jerome Croner (Potomac, Md.)
Ruby Annette De Santiago (Rogers, Ark.)
Matthew Daniel Devlin (Silver Spring, Md.)
Christian Cordan Eddings (Little Rock, Ark.)
Mattea Simone Fleischner (Hot Springs, Ark.)
Haylee Rae Fletcher (Prescott Valley, Ariz.)
Danielle Breanne Folks (Austin, Texas)
Troy Luke Frauenthal (Little Rock, Ark.)
Elaine Marie Frigon (J.D./M.P.S.) (Pine Bluff, Ark.)
Katherine Joan Grennier (Burlington, Wis.)
Tatiana Riddle Hendrix (Guy, Ark.)
Brenda Hernandez (Pomona, Calif.)
Tiffany Lynn Jacob (Neenah, Wis.)
Traci Leigh Johnson (Beech Grove, Ind.)
Julian J.F. Kelly (West Memphis, Ark.)
Stephen Bolton Kirchner (M.P.H./M.P.S.) (Little Rock, Ark.)
Andrew Lovley (Wrentham, Mass.)
Thato Masire (M.B.A./M.P.S.) (Gaborone, Botswana)
Brandon LaCharles Mathews (Fort Smith, Ark.)
Allison Meyer (Stongsville, Ohio)
Hunter Mullins (Russellville, Ark.)
Kristen Elizabeth Raney (M.B.A./M.P.S.) (Harrison, Ark.)
Antoinette Nina Schicchi (Dania Beach, Fla.)
Laetitia Jeanne A.M. Tokplo (Benin-West Africa)
Angela Edwina Toomer (Little Rock, Ark.)
Sylvia To Tran (Fort Smith, Ark.)
Emily Anne Wheat (Charlottsville, Va.)
Tshering Yudon (Thimphu, Bhutan)
Rebecca Rose Zimmermann (Little Rock, Ark.)
Students and alumni of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will compete Saturday, May 2 in the school’s second “Deep South Showdown” showcasing southern food and cooking. Friday May 1 is the last day of class. Final exams are May 4-8 and graduation is May 9.
Teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas will be competing. Each will be preparing four dishes: entrée, side, dessert and a barbecue sauce. Winners in each category will be determined by popular vote with the exception of the barbecue sauce which will be chosen through blind testing.
The event will be held at 5712 N. Country Club Blvd. in Little Rock from 2 to 6 p.m. For additional information, contact Matt Devlin (firstname.lastname@example.org.
A team of graduate students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, in partnership with Garland County Habitat for Humanity (GCHFH), completed a study exploring ways for GCHFH to have a greater impact within the communities it serves. The research team recently gave a presentation on the feasibility of implementing a new way to engage communities through efforts focused on neighborhood revitalization in the Gateway neighborhood in downtown Hot Springs, Ark.
Clinton School students Jordan Butler of Miss., Emma McAuley of Glenview, Illi., Anne Haley and Victoria Vander Schilden of Little Rock, Ark. conducted an eight-month study examining the Gateway neighborhood during which they gathered feedback from residents, community leaders, and city officials about community development and neighborhood revitalization efforts in Hot Springs. Additionally, the team shared a list of recommendations for successful implementation with the GCHFH executive director and board of directors informed by these findings and data collected from Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) resources and interviews with HFHI staff from around the country regarding best practices. The students recently presented their findings at St. Vincent Hospital in Hot Springs.
“Garland County Habitat for Humanity is beyond excited to learn that change… real change and a sense of renewed community is possible,” said Nicole Good, executive director of GCHFH. “I am grateful for the countless hours the Clinton School team has worked on behalf of our town and our Habitat affiliate. It means so much, not just to me, the board, and staff of Habitat but to the whole community of Hot Springs.”
This project is one of 12 completed by 45 Clinton School students across the state of Arkansas. These students are in their first year of classes in the school’s Master of Public Service degree program.
About Garland County Habitat for Humanity
Garland County Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a 501(c)(3) that provides families in substandard housing conditions with decent, affordable homes in both the United States and abroad. Garland County Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1995 and is based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The affiliate serves people in Garland County, Arkansas, and partners with them to build new, affordable homes.
More information about Garland County Habitat for Humanity is available at www.garlandcountyhabitat.com
Three students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service worked with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance (AHRA) to complete an assessment of the organization’s publicly funded school breakfast program, Arkansas Meals for Achievement (AMFA). Part of the comprehensive No Kid Hungry campaign, AMFA currently provides free breakfast to children in 32 public schools around the state.
The Alliance and its partners started No Kid Hungry, which includes a focus on school breakfast, summer, and after school feeding programs, and cooking and food purchasing instruction in 2010 with the goal of ending childhood hunger. Today, Arkansas has improved from first in the nation in childhood food insecurity to seventh. The campaign has made some progress in the fight against hunger; this research project is aimed at furthering that progress.
Clinton School students Abigail Bi (Kunming, Yunnan Province, China) Amber Jackson (Little Rock, Arkansas) and Olajumoke Joyce Ajayi (Lagos, Nigeria) conducted surveys and interviews with parents and school staff in six participant schools in order to examine the effects of the AMFA program on student access to breakfast. Through an analysis of 250 questionnaires and six interviews, Bi, Jackson, and Ajayi identified beneficial changes in student health, nutrition, and behavior as well as methods and costs of food delivery following program implementation in primary, middle, and secondary schools.
“We’re very encouraged from the early responses we’re getting from students, teachers and administrators in our Arkansas Meals for Achievement pilot program schools,” said Vivian Nicholson, breakfast program director for the Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign. “They tell us that the whole tone of their schools has changed for the better since they made breakfast part of the school day. Tardy students are a thing of the past, discipline is much improved and school nurses don’t have children in their offices complaining of headaches and tummy aches. It’s an amazing program and we’re very proud to be part of it.”
Bi, Jackson, and Ajayi bring previous nonprofit and research experience to this project and say they have enjoyed working with AHRA to find solutions for hungry children in Arkansas.
About the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance
The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, lead partner in Arkansas for the No Kid Hungry campaign, is a non-profit collaborative network of more than 480 hunger relief organizations across Arkansas. Founding members include the Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock, the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro, Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank in Texarkana, Food Bank of North Central Arkansas in Norfork, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Bethel Heights and River Valley Regional Food Bank in Fort Smith. The Alliance is dedicated to reducing hunger through direct relief, education and advocacy. For details on hunger relief programs and donor and volunteer opportunities, visit www.arhungeralliance.org
Nepal was recently hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, killing at least 4,500 and displacing tens of thousands from their homes. Clinton School students and alumni are raising funds to contribute to the relief efforts.
Current student Tshering Yudon, who is leading the fundraising efforts on behalf of students, is from the neighboring country of Bhutan. “Growing up in a Himalayan nation, I have experienced minor to moderate earthquakes, so I can definitely imagine the force of the recent tragic quake in Nepal,” Yudon said. “It pains me to see the rising number of dead, injured, and displaced people. Amidst the chaos and pain, it is great to see a community of public servants come together to support relief efforts for a nation 8,000 miles away.”
Alum Julie West ’09 founded The Red Sari, a socially responsible fashion design company with a mission to create and sustain jobs for women in Nepal after concluding her International Public Service Project with the Clinton School. “Arising from that experience, I began The Red Sari, working with women artisans in the Kathmandu Valley,” West said. “I am heartbroken over the news of the devastation earthquake in my home away from home. However, I stand resolute that Nepal will rise with the support of private donors and the international community.”
Alum Andrew Morgan ’12 is the associate corporate counsel for International Medical Corps, which works to relieve suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease by delivering vital healthcare services that focus on training, helping devastated populations return to self-reliance. “International Medical Corps’ emergency response teams are on the ground in Nepal operating mobile medical units to reach the hardest hit areas near the epicenter of the earthquake,” Morgan said. “We are working to increase our operations to address the steadily growing humanitarian needs by sending in additional medical staff to deliver healthcare, supplies, and training.”
Alum Jared Rowell ’12 is a senior program officer for Mercy Corps, which responds immediately to meet urgent needs for food, water, and shelter in disaster-stricken areas, and stays beyond the emergency to partner with communities for their long term recovery. “More than 6.6 million people have been affected by the recent earthquake in Nepal,” Rowell said. “Mercy Corps has one of the largest teams on the ground in Nepal, evaluating conditions in hard-hit areas and addressing immediate needs while also planning for longer-term recovery efforts.”
Below are links for more information and ways to help:
- Alum Julie West ’09 has started a relief fund. To donate or to find out more information, click here.
- Alum Jared Rowell ’12 is a senior program officer for Mercy Corps. Click here to help.
- Alum Lauren Remedios ’14 was in Nepal working on her fellowship with Heifer International, which is working with 171,000 farmers in Nepal to develop goat and dairy enterprises.
- Clinton School partner Team Rubicon has launched Operation Tenzing. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.
- Click here to donate to the efforts of International Medical Corps. Facebook has agreed to match all donations up to $2 million. For additional information, or to donate directly to International Medical Corps, click here.