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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.
In conjunction with The City of Pine Bluff Economic and Community Development Department, three students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service have worked to initiate a collaborative project in a neighborhood on the east side of Pine Bluff, Ark.
Clinton School students, Katherine Brown of Canton, Mich., Melvin Clayton of Pine Bluff, Ark., and Helen Grace King of Pine Bluff, Ark., developed a toolkit for the ECD Department, while performing a pilot study in the Turtle Creek Neighborhood of Pine Bluff. The toolkit contains documents and how-to guides to assist the ECD with neighborhood projects that focus on collaboration among community organizations and residents.
By working with residents and neighborhood-based organizations, such as churches, Jefferson County Library, Arts and Science Center, and Salvation Army, the students hosted a neighborhood conversation that catalyzed continued conversation for a collaborative initiative aimed at working together to better serve the youth and families in the neighborhood. The conversation centered on sharing and combining resources of the neighborhood to connect youth to safe, low-cost after-school and summertime programs.
“I really appreciate all the work the Clinton School students put into the pilot project,” said Lori Walker, project supervisor and Assistant Director at the City of Pine Bluff ECD. “They helped lay a good foundation for our neighborhood development program, which will roll out later this year.”
Brown, Clayton, and King all brought previous education and nonprofit work to this project. The students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the work of the ECD in the Pine Bluff community by combining previous experience and teachings from the Clinton School.
This project is one of 12 to be completed by 46 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 the City of Pine Bluff ECD Department
The Economic and Community Development is a department of the City of Pine Bluff, Arkansas that handles all economic and community development issues. Its mission is to help revitalize and craft the economic future of the City of Pine Bluff.
More information about the Clinton School is available athttp://pbecd.com/about.html
Three students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service worked in collaboration with Arkansas Commitment, a leadership development and college access program in Little Rock, to assess the possibility of expanding the program to various communities across the state.
Clinton School students Austin Hall of Hot Springs, Ark., Florence Mueni of Nairobi, Kenya, and Dariane Mull of Little Rock, Ark. worked with Arkansas Commitment to identify the feasibility and resources needed to support expansion of the program. Their work involved collecting data through focus groups and evaluating three communities in Arkansas: El Dorado, Arkadelphia, and Jonesboro. Based on this research, they produced a set of recommendations for the expansion of Arkansas Commitment.
A formal presentation will be held on Monday, April 27th at 5:30 PM at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. All are welcome to attend.
Arkansas Commitment works with students from over twenty-five high schools across Central Arkansas. Students include National Merit and Gates Millennium Scholars (seven Gates Scholars in the last six years and two finalists this year). 100% of Arkansas Commitment seniors have attended the nation’s top colleges and universities, receiving between $900,000 and $1,000,000 in scholars and aid annually over the past six years.
“We identify, early on, talented students who have potential,” said Jason Hamilton, executive director of Arkansas Commitment. “Then we hone in, develop, and support that student and family throughout the academic process.”
This project is one of 12 to be 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 Arkansas Commitment
Established in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1999, Arkansas Commitment aims to identify academically talented African-American high school students throughout central Arkansas and guide them to become leaders of society by providing college access and preparation and scholarship opportunities.
More information about Arkansas Commitment is available at www.arkansascommitment.org.
Four graduate students at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service partnered with the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Home Energy Affordability Loan (CCI-HEAL) program to explore the connection between baseline housing conditions, asthma prevalence, and related health care costs in Arkansas.
“The study, aimed at asthma-related health, draws connections to the state of housing in Arkansas,” said Ryan Boswell, Engagement Manager for CCI-HEAL. “Focused on a review of both healthy and energy-efficient homes, the report the team developed stresses the need for coordination between multiple stakeholders to ensure that Arkansas housing is promoting health in the state.”
Some of the project’s key findings in Arkansas:
Clinton School of Public Service students, Austin Harrison of Louisville, Miss., Georgia Genoway of Liberia, Coby MacMaster of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Maddy Salzman of Wellesley, Mass., examined secondary data and interviewed health and housing experts across Arkansas as part of their team-based, first-year Practicum project at the Clinton School.
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization which operates the Clinton Climate Initiative’s HEAL program. The Clinton Climate Initiative develops scalable projects that can be tailored to local conditions while also serving as innovative models for tackling global climate change. Specifically, HEAL is the first of a new breed of employer-sponsored “energy benefits” which bring energy efficiency and sustainable practices to the workplace.
More information is available at https://www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-presidential-center/about/heal