United Way of Central Arkansas, a nonprofit that supports public community programs across Faulkner, Perry & Van Buren Counties recently awarded six Mini Grants totaling $5,435.

"Congratulations to our Mini Grant Award Recipients. We are excited to support these important projects that will connect residents to different services in our area," said Maret Cahill Wicks, United Way of Central Arkansas Executive Director.

Mini Grants are awarded yearly and organizations can receive up to $1,000 for a project. The final 2017 Mini Grant deadline was October 31, 2017.

Organizations interested in learning more about grant opportunities can visit the United Way of Central Arkansas website at www.uwcark.org or call 501-327-5087.

Bethlehem House

Laundry Assistance

Total Mini Grant Award: $1,000

Project Director: Judi Lively 501-329-4862

One of the greatest difficulties for those who live on the streets, along with that of finding food, a place to spend the night and public baths, is to wash and dry the clothes they wear, in many cases the only ones they own. This is a necessity that many people struggle to afford and may be even more difficult to access for people who are on the verge of homelessness. Clean clothes are important to one’s sense of dignity. The goal is to alleviate the burden of having to choose between food and clean clothes.

Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA)

Project Homeless Connect

Total Mini Grant Award: $1,000

Project Director: Melissa Allen 501-269-9351

CAPCA will serve 200 homeless individuals; these could be individuals living on the streets as well as individuals who are homeless by definition of the McKinney Vento Homeless Act. Project Homeless Connect is a one day, one stop event that is designed to serve individuals that need to obtain a permanent residence. A variety of services are made available to give participants the education and tools they need to obtain stability. Services may include: a hot meal, haircuts, homeless court, winter gear kits, care kits, gift cards, housing information/services, DHS applications, and Department of Workforce Services applications, dental care, health care, etc.

Community Service Inc.

The First Tee National School Program

Total Mini Grant Award: $1,000

Project Director: Jamie Higgins 501-354-4589

Since 1958 Community Service, Inc. (CSI) has stayed true to its mission and served thousands of families without regard to their income status. CSI focuses on a holistic approach to helping youth by involving families, schools and the youth themselves in creating a plan for success.

In 2013, CSI developed a partnership with The First Tee of Central Arkansas to bring The First Tee Character Development programing to Faulkner, Conway and Pope Counties. The United Way of Central Arkansas mini grant will help CSI start the first National School Program in the Conway Public School system. The program will start at Jim Stone Elementary School in 2018.

The National School Program is designed engage young people in a structured golf curriculum that promotes personal character development within a physical education setting. The curriculum is written to align with national physical education standards established by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and is designed to fit a variety of school physical education settings. The curriculum centers around character and health education, personal and social responsibility, and motor skill development and concept learning.

The program uses developmentally appropriate equipment that is durable and safe for indoor or outdoor use. It consists of colorful oversized clubs, tennis-style balls and a variety of targets. The key objectives of this program are to develop student appreciation for the positive personal and social values associated with the game in each lesson, present students with a lifelong health-enhancing activity, engage students in lesson activities that lead to motor skill development, and enable physical educators to introduce golf in a developmentally-appropriate manner consistent with national standards developed by NASPE.

Conway Cradle Care

Adolescent Fatherhood Initiative

Total Mini Grant Award: $935

Project Director: Kelsey Weaver 501-730-0017

Conway Cradle Care (CCC) is a childcare and outreach program for adolescent parents striving to obtain higher education while being the best student, parent, and community member that they can be. The mission of Conway Cradle Care is to empower expectant and parenting adolescents by meeting the developmental needs of their children, providing opportunities to further their education, and encouraging independence through parenting and life skill mentoring.

The CCC Adolescent Parent Mentoring Program includes four components to serve expectant and parenting adolescents: Parent & Life Skill meetings, Individualized Mentoring, Tutoring, and a Parent Resource Library. The United Way of Central Arkansas currently assists in funding this program.

It is the goal of CCC to provide a comprehensive Fatherhood Initiative that meets the needs of the adolescent fathers participating in the CCC Mentoring Program. They are currently in the process of pairing each male client with a male mentor who is a successful father, provider and business man in our community. This ensures that each client has a positive role model, as well as a confidant that they can comfortably talk to about their lives as fathers. CCC wants to equip these mentors with an evidence-based curriculum and resources so that they are guided through their mentoring experience.

Conway Cradle Care will purchase a curriculum and training provided by the National Fatherhood Initiative. The complete program kit includes an instructional guide, session handouts, a facilitator manual and training, fatherhood handbooks that can be utilized by each client (in English & Spanish), evaluation tools, handouts (in English & Spanish), over 60 reference videos, and access to a helpful app with pertinent information relating to fatherhood topics.

Purchasing this curriculum will be the first step in achieving the goal of developing a comprehensive Fatherhood Initiative within the Conway Cradle Care Adolescent Mentoring Program. CCC will train volunteer male mentors to work individually with each adolescent father, and eventually provide group sessions to serve as a support group of fellow adolescent fathers. Through this Fatherhood Initiative, CCC hopes to recruit more adolescent fathers in the community, highlight the important role a father plays in their child’s life, and strengthen families served in our organization..

Conway Ministry Center

Warming Station

Total Mini Grant Award: $1,000

Project Director: Spring Hunter 501-358-6098

The Conway Ministry Center is the designated host for the city’s warming station. This year, they will be changing their model, borrowing from a successful program in Little Rock, to one that keeps our warming station open seven days a week for ten weeks. From the week before Christmas to the end of February, they will house anyone who is homeless or without adequate heating from 7 pm to 7 am. Dinner will be provided each evening. The goal is that volunteers will provide dinner each night and 2 men and 1 woman will spend the night when the warming station is open. The objective is to connect volunteers who would like to help with the homeless and disadvantaged who need their help through the winter months. Each night our volunteers will check in clients, which will include background checks, serve dinner, and then allow for community time either watching television or talking before lights out. They hope to provide hygiene items, coats, tents, bedding and food to those who need it.

Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas

Sexual Assault Response Team

Total Mini Grant Award: $500

Project Director: Carrie Curtis 501-358-6219

The Sexual Assault Response Team will be able to increase the amount of literature they have to distribute to necessary places, e.g. multiple Conway colleges, emergency rooms and the like. The awareness of the program is tantamount to being able to assist sexual assault victims in their moment of crisis. This increases the areas where this information is accessible will lead to more victims being able to reach the Women’s Shelter and get the assistance they need.

United Way of Central Arkansas http://www.uwcark.org

Mission: United Way of Central Arkansas will improve and enhance the lives of people in our communities by addressing and meeting their needs through the generosity and work of advocates, volunteers and donors.

United Way of Central Arkansas is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Since 1957, United Way of Central Arkansas has supported programs that promote education, health and financial stability.