Stronger To­gether

School, non­profit part­ner for vol­un­teer op­por­tu­nity

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Sarah Perry [email protected]­ton­courier.com

For the past few years, Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity of Sa­line County has had in­terns from Bryant

High School, but re­cently the school and non­profit be­gan a new part­ner­ship.

Habi­tat Di­rec­tor Stephanie Grif­fin spoke to Bryant stu­dents about the or­ga­ni­za­tion and then in­ter­ested stu­dents re­cently had an op­por­tu­nity to vol­un­teer at a home build.

Lindsey Forga, a teacher at Bryant High School, said many of the stu­dents had heard of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, but didn’t know ex­actly what vol­un­teers do.

She be­lieves vol­un­teer­ing is an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents.

“I think it’s im­por­tant for them

to re­al­ize that you never know what sit­u­a­tion peo­ple are com­ing from or the hard­ships they’re over­com­ing,” Forga said.

By in­stalling sid­ing on a home and vis­it­ing a home ded­i­ca­tion, Grif­fin said the stu­dents had the op­por­tu­nity to see a “com­plete pic­ture” of the home build process.

“We wanted them to see that this is a big deal and these are the peo­ple this serves,” said Eve­lyn But­ler, test­ing and ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion co­or­di­na­tor at Bryant High School.

Along with be­ing a ser­vice op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents, the ex­pe­ri­ence may also plant seeds of a ca­reer or fur­ther vol­un­teer­ing, But­ler said.

A to­tal of 14 stu­dents from a wide va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests par­tic­i­pated.

“It was stu­dents who may typ­i­cally not be sideby-side work­ing to­gether,” Forga said.

River­side Gro­cery and Ca­ter­ing pro­vided lunch for the stu­dents, she added.

Both Habi­tat and school of­fi­cials said the part­ner­ship was a suc­cess and they hope to con­tinue work­ing to­gether.

Grif­fin said the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s reg­u­lar vol­un­teers “throughly en­joyed” work­ing with the stu­dents.

She said she hopes this is the “be­gin­ning of a beau­ti­ful part­ner­ship.”

“Our goal is to move for­ward with more vol­un­teer days,” Forga said.

After stu­dents try new things, word of­ten spreads quickly and more stu­dents want to par­tic­i­pate, But­ler said.

In the fu­ture, the school may also start a Habi­tat club.

Along with the Bryant part­ner­ship, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has also also worked with an­other Sa­line County school.

The bas­ket­ball team at Har­mony Grove vol­un­teered at a home build in Haskell.

Grif­fin said she has also reached out to the Ben­ton School District and plans to reach out to of­fi­cials at the Baux­ite School District about vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties.

School of­fi­cials say this op­por­tu­nity was made pos­si­ble since the ad­di­tion of the house sys­tem at Bryant High School.

There are more op­por­tu­ni­ties now for stu­dents to hear pre­sen­ta­tions from guest speak­ers, But­ler said.

Other speak­ers sched­uled to men­tor stu­dents are Ju­lia Descar­pen­trie, di­rec­tor of The Call in Sa­line/ Perry Coun­ties, Scott Hill with Chick fil A and Roslyn

Till­man from the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas.

In­di­vid­u­als who would like to serve as a guest speaker are en­cour­aged to con­tact school of­fi­cials at bh­sca­reer­[email protected]­ols.org.

SARAH PERRY/THE Sa­line Courier

Through a part­ner­ship, Bryant stu­dents re­cently worked on a house build along­side reg­u­lar vol­un­teers with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity of Sa­line County. Both school and or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fi­cials said the part­ner­ship was a suc­cess.

SARAH PERRY/ The Sa­line Courier

From left, Johnathan Green­baum, Tae­gan Green and Mark Has­ton work to­gether to hang sid­ing while vol­un­teer­ing with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity of Sa­line County.

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