Community Impact Initiatives
Achieving Community Impact
Community impact means improving lives by mobilizing communities to create sustained changes in community conditions. Its positive impact made possible when people come together to make a difference. These partnerships illustrate the community impact and the commitment made by caring donors and organizations to build a brighter future.
This initiative helps families move from crisis to career, using existing community resources, by engaging community partners, training agencies on a collaborative case management system, and recruiting case managers to respond when a family is in crisis. Learn More
Books and Badges
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books are placed in local law enforcement and emergency vehicles, so that first responders can provide a child accident victim a book to help comfort them and build rapport.
Step Up, Speak Out
Step Up, Speak Out!” was formed in early 2012 by Sam T. Sicard, President of First National Bank of Fort Smith. Sicard was inspired to start the awareness initiative after learning the alarming statistics related to child abuse. Spring block parties were held at several locations in the United Way six-county coverage area. Working to bring awareness to the problem of child abuse, the group goes in to the schools and speaks with the students prior to the event. At the block parties local children and parents are treated to a day focused on both fun and on educating them about the issue. Admission to the block parties was free. Families were invited to enjoy a free meal and numerous activities. Participants were invited to register to win a free bicycle or skateboard. As part of the block parties, volunteers and participants wore shirts with the phone numbers of hotlines that victims, or adults who are aware of abuse, could call to report it.
Touch A Truck
This FREE Health and Wellness event brings awareness to local agencies and organizations by giving children and adults the thrill of a lifetime by letting them experience what it’s like to climb into a variety of trucks and vehicles.
Whether looking out from the cab of a massive dump truck, or running your hands along the claw of a tough bulldozer, the United Way of Fort Smith Area’s 2nd Annual “Touch a Truck” offered participants an opportunity to connect with a variety of different modes of transportation. This annual event was held Wednesday, June 14th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, at Van Buren High School. There were over 500 children that attended. Fort Smith and Van Buren Boys and Girls Club’s brought their kids out, as well as a group from Cedarville. “Touch a Truck” gave children and adults the thrill of a lifetime by letting them experience what it’s like to climb into a variety of trucks and vehicles. Fire trucks, ambulances, loaders, garbage trucks, police cars and construction vehicles are just some of the dozens of vehicles that were on display. There were also 17 booths with safety and wellness information for children and families. We would like to thank our food sponsors, Arvest Bank, Generations Bank and Morgan Supply, Dr. Jeffcoat and Van Buren Public Schools, and all who brought vehicles, set up tables, or volunteered in any way. We could not put this event together without the help of our community.
Rising in the River Valley
River Valley Rising was organized to bring awareness and education to the community on the issue of sexual assault and domestic violence. Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault and on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Those attending this event can get information from local agencies that provide services related to this issue.
Day of Caring
Day of Caring, held during National Volunteer Week in April, is a community-wide event benefiting community partners in Crawford, Franklin, LeFlore, Logan, Sebastian and Sequoyah counties. Each year, Day of Caring unites generous, community-focused people under the common mission of creating real, lasting change in the lives of children, families and seniors, right where we live.
On Day of Caring, volunteer teams from local companies and businesses, families and individuals work together to complete projects and conduct special programs for United Way’s community partners who, much of the time, lack the necessary resources and manpower to tackle the projects. These projects range from reading to children or painting a room to engaging in outdoor activities such as landscaping or washing windows.
Participating in Day of Caring provides an opportunity for building stronger relationships among employees, family members, friends and other community members, while providing an introduction to United Way’s impact and importance in the six-county area.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
United Way of Fort Smith Area is committed to supporting learning and development and a sense of belonging for children and youth so that they become responsible and contributing adults. We want to ensure children have positive developmental opportunities so that they can start school ready to succeed. We want to grow success in learning and in life.
Studies show that when kids are given regular ‘lap-time’ not ‘laptop’ time, but time spent reading books before kindergarten their vocabulary can reach 10,000 words before age 5. For a child who hasn’t had this experience, their vocabulary is about 3,000 words. We must as a community level this playing field.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides one book each month to children in Crawford, Franklin, Logan and Sebastian counties from birth to their fifth birthday whose parents register to receive them. These sturdy, colorful, age appropriate books are delivered directly to the child. Each book is selected for the developmental benefits it brings – and for the fun. There is no cost to the family.
- The local cost of the program is $25.00 per child per year.
- There is no charge or fee or donation required or expected for enrollment.
SingleCare Free Prescription Discount
NALC Food Drive
Each year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, United Way of Fort Smith Area partners with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in the largest annual one-day effort to combat hunger in the United States. Every year, families, letter carriers, postal employees and volunteers do their part to provide tens of thousands of pounds of food to those who are most in need in Crawford and Sebastian counties. Letter carriers deliver the donations to the post offices where volunteers take them to area food banks or pantries.
Fill the Bus
Many children look forward to arriving on the first day of school with new notebooks, backpacks and pencil boxes, but it’s a different story for children whose families can’t afford these items. Toward the end of July, United Way of Fort Smith Area asks individuals to help them fill a bus full of supplies to be donated to at-risk children in the six-county area it serves.
Not only do the donated supplies help children with their studies, having a new backpack or notebook can really help raise a child’s self-esteem. Feeling good about themselves and having the tools they need to complete their school work helps children get off on the right foot as they start a new school year.