Be in the know, you know

Animals

Volunteer with a Local Animal Organization This Weekend

The Walmart Foundation is currently awarding grant dollars to area nonprofits for eligible volunteer hours by community members and associates. Here are some ways you can get involved.

This Week's Featured Projects

Below we've featured some of the upcoming volunteer opportunities that involve supporting animal organizations located in Northwest Arkansas.

Human Society for Animals: Feet for Paws (Rogers, AR)

Thursday, August 15th // Friday, August 16th // Sunday, August 18th

The Humane Society for Animals provides for the welfare of dogs and cats in Benton County through shelter and adoption services, spaying and neutering vouchers, and humane education.

If you care for animals and have a soft spot for dogs, this opportunity is for you. The shelter is looking for a few individuals that are willing to give their dogs some much needed exercise, emotional support, and unconditional love. Cat lovers are welcome too! They can use your talents to interact with their fabulous felines.

In addition, they could use some volunteers for the annual Clear the Shelters Adoption event on Saturday, August 18th. During this event, participating animal shelters waive adoption fees for all pets as part of the nationwide initiative that seeks to help families find and adopt homeless pets. Since 2015, Clear the Shelters has helped 256,688 pets find forever homes.

Learn more and sign up for one of the upcoming volunteer opportunities HERE.

Humane Society of the Ozarks: Dog Handlers (Springdale, AR)

Saturday, August 17th

The Humane Society of the Ozarks promotes the wellbeing of animals in the region through education, advocacy and rescue. Since 1944 their organization has been on the forefront of animal welfare in Northwest Arkansas. They assist other shelters and rescues by taking custody of some of their dogs at times of high census, assist with rescue of abandoned, neglected and abused animals, and they take custody of animals in need of veterinary care.

They are currently looking for volunteers for their next adoption event at Brashears Furniture in Springdale. Volunteers will pick up dogs at DogWatch Doggie Daycare in Fayetteville and bring them to the event where they will hang out with them for a few pawsome hours. They allow the dogs inside and sometimes on the furniture, so expect this to be a very chill and fun volunteer opportunity. Once the event is over, volunteers will return the pups to DogWatch.

Learn more and sign up to volunteer HERE.

Autumns ReRide Youth Ranch: Ranch Maintenance

Saturday, August 17th

Autumn's ReRide Youth Ranch is a nonprofit horse rescue and ranch located in Bentonville. The ranch provides a safe and peaceful environment where broken children, horses and families can find hope and peace within the healing glow of unconditional love freeing them from their troubles and sadness.

Each Saturday, they need help with cleaning stalls, filling water troughs, feeding horses, and other ranch duties. All ages find their special place at the ranch; whether it is caring for horses, working with children, horseback riding, or simply, taking a walk on the property.

Learn more and sign up to volunteer HERE.

During the WalmartGivesNWA campaign, the Walmart Foundation will match volunteer hours by community members or associates equal to $10 in honor of each volunteer hour, up to a maximum total volunteer matching amount of $1,000,000. The campaign ends August 23rd!

If you sign up for an upcoming volunteer opportunity be sure to tag us on social @FindingNWA and use #ImpactNWA!

Community

5 NW Arkansas Stories That Will Brighten Your Day

These local moments evoke all the good feels.

1. Pet Philanthropists: Easton and Paisley

Easton and Paisley recently celebrated their birthday. Instead of requesting gifts, they charged guests $5 to join them on their special day. What did they do with the money? Go on a shopping spree for toys? No. Buy a bunch of candy and ice cream? Nope. The two collected $320 and donated it to the Humane Society for Animals.

The Humane Society for Animals has held over 90,000 animals since it originally opened in 1963. The facility continuously houses a total of around 85 dogs and 20 cats.

2. A Passion for Pedaling

Twice a week, volunteers gather at the Pedal It Forward locations in Bentonville and Rogers to help repair and build bikes for those who can't afford them. This past week, over 100 bikes were distributed to families and a local children's shelter.

Since 2014, the volunteers at Pedal It Forward NWA have worked to distribute over 2,300 bicycles throughout Northwest Arkansas to veterans, kids, and others who can't afford a bike.

3. Filled the Bus

Annually, the United Way of Northwest Arkansas launches the "Fill the Bus" campaign to collect school supplies for local children in need. This year, nearly 500 volunteers came together over two days to fill 10 buses located throughout Northwest Arkansas. The supplies will help send over 35,000 children back to school with the tools they need to succeed.

4. Fresh Veggies Brigade

Pictured above is a collection of fresh vegetables donated by three organizations addressing local food insecurity: Seeds That Feed, Cobblestone Farms, NWA Food Bank, and friends to the Second Street Pantry in Bentonville, AR.

Are you a gardener with an overflow of vegetables? Second Street asks that you consider donating any extras from your garden to their pantry. They would love to be able to distribute them to families in the community. Drop them off on Monday morning or on Tuesdays at your convenience!

The mission of Second Street Pantry Missions, Inc. is to help make a difference in the lives of those experiencing situational or generational poverty by providing food, personal care goods, financial assistance, and education. They offer basic groceries and personal care items, limited financial assistance, and a community meal on Tuesdays at First United Methodist Church in Bentonville, AR.

5. Marshallese Got Talent

Lastly, we have a highlight video from the First Annual Marshallese Got Talent Show at the Jones Center hosted by the Marshallese Educational Initiative. We promise that if nothing else, the first 10-seconds of this video are guaranteed to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face!

Cover photo from the Marshallese Educational Initiative photo album on Facebook

Did you witness a heartwarming moment we missed? Let us know! Send your stories to alicia@findingnwa.com

Technology

GiveCamp NWA: A Weekend Where Tech and Creative Pros Unite to Help Local Nonprofits

GiveCamp Northwest Arkansas is an annual event that provides free tech solutions for local nonprofits.

Applications open for GiveCamp NWA 2019

Local nonprofits can now apply for free tech solutions from GiveCamp NWA, a Northwest Arkansas organization that serves fellow nonprofits. Applications for GiveCamp NWA 2019 will close on Monday, August 5th.

GiveCamp NWA is an organization that hosts an annual, weekend-long event of the same name where technology and creative professionals volunteer to provide free technology solutions to approved nonprofits. Nonprofits can apply at givecampnwa.org. Only 501(c)(3) organizations that are both located in Arkansas and serve Northwest Arkansas in some way will be considered. The project that is requested must also deemed feasible to be completed over the weekend. GiveCamp NWA 2019 is October 4-6 in Rogers. An average of 10 nonprofits are usually selected each year.

"Usually what nonprofits ask for is a new website, but we have been able to branch out into other technology and creative assets including coding for a virtual 'waiting room' and logo design," said Chris Whittle, GiveCamp NWA board president. "We look forward to possibly branching out into more projects for local nonprofits."

One of 2018 nonprofits was the Arkansas Early Childhood Association, which needed an updated website.

"The Arkansas Early Childhood Education has benefited tremendously from our complete website renovation. The membership database plug-in alone has increased our membership renewals 10-fold per month since its launch," said AECA President Debbie Mays. "Our beautiful new website is a great representation of amazing educators we represent. We are forever grateful to (our GiveCamp team)."


Brian Miller, president of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Ozark Roundtable, shared about the website and logo their GiveCamp team developed.

"Our local roundtable struggled with its identity for decades and with the help of these professionals, we were able to not only create our individual identity, we now have an amazing website! This tool has impacted our ability to grow our membership base by 12 percent," he said.

The I'll Fly Away Foundation was another 2018 nonprofit recipient.

"The team of professionals at GiveCamp NWA helped to modernize the I'll Fly Away Foundation website and make it more user-friendly," said Kevin, Bernier, co-founder. "They also taught us how to update the website on our own so we can continually add new information."

Jamie Smith, GiveCamp NWA board member, said that applications for volunteers will open in August, once the organizing committee has a better feel for the project needs. Organizers are also actively recruiting sponsors for the event. Information about volunteering and sponsoring is also available on the GiveCampNWA website. Writers, web designers, developers, and project managers are all needed to make this event a success. Sponsors can donate in-kind items or make a financial donation.

Check out Jamie's recent interview on Ozarks at Large HERE.

For more information email info@givecampnwa.org or visit their website at givecampnwa.org.

Education

Tyson Makes $1 Million in Funding Available for Teacher Projects in Local School Districts

Tyson Foods has partnered with DonorsChoose.org to support teachers with $1 million investment.

As part of Tyson Foods' commitment to support its plant communities, the company announced today it will fund $1 million in DonorsChoose.org projects for 46 school districts in 37 Tyson communities. The investment will bring much-needed resources to schools in Tyson communities and introduce teachers to a source of potential support for future projects.

Between August 1, 2019 and January 29, 2020, Tyson will fully fund projects posted by teachers in qualifying Tyson school districts who request up to $1,000 in classroom resources. Funding will be applied towards projects the first Monday of every month, up to $26,388 for each plant community. $50,000 has been allocated for the Springdale, Arkansas, school district, where the company's headquarters is located.

"We have a responsibility to support our communities in a variety of ways, including equipping our teachers with the resources they need as an effective way to support education," said Debra Vernon, senior director, corporate social responsibility, Tyson Foods. "Through the DonorsChoose.org model teachers can focus on the individual needs of their classrooms and students can experience new or better ways to learn."

To qualify for full funding, projects will need to be $1,000 or less, for Pre-K-12 and in Tyson districts*.

"We're so grateful for the generosity of Tyson Foods," said DonorsChoose.org founder Charles Best. "As teachers across Tyson communities gear up for the school year ahead and use DonorsChoose.org to request resources for their classroom, this support will help bring those classroom dreams to life."

School districts in the following Tyson foods communities are eligible to request funding for projects through DonorsChoose.org beginning August 1:

For more information contact: Derek Burleson, Tyson Foods, derek.burleson@tyson.com



Stories

Beyond the Board: An Interview with the NW Arkansas Skateboarding Foundation

The Northwest Arkansas Skateboarding Foundation mission is to grow and support the regional skateboarding community.

The Northwest Arkansas Skateboarding Foundation was founded in late 2018 by skateboarders for skateboarders. The founding team includes Roy Rodezno, Wesley McDonald (owner of Stash Skate Supply), Brandon Herbert (co-founder of Gnarkansas.com), and Jonathan Camacho. We recently sat down with Roy to learn more about the organization. Check out the interview below.

Founder Roy Rodezno, President/Design & Marketing

Q: Ok Roy, let's take it from the top, why did you create the organization and what is the mission?

I've been skateboarding for 17 years. Brandon, Jonathan, and I grew up skateboarding in Northwest Arkansas; Jonathan and I used to skateboard on the same block in Rogers. We were primarily street skating because during those days the closest skatepark was in Bentonville and we didn't have a car.

Brandon Herbert, Audio Visual Director/Events Coordinator

Later on, a skate shop came to Rogers, and that is where all of the local skateboarders would go hang out. I remember when we started attending city meetings when they were considering adding the Rogers skatepark and saying, 'We want this park; we need it.' And it worked, we got it.

We had a lot of skaters back in the day. You'd go to the skatepark, and it would be crowded. Now, not so much. Compared to my generation, it seems like the number of skaters has diminished quite a bit.

Local Competition in 2012

Recently, I've been seeing and hearing from other skaters that there isn't support for skateboarding; it's all going toward biking. But that's because people are pushing for that. For years now, I've been hearing things like 'Man, I wish we had a new park' from people in Fayetteville. If you go there, there are cracks. In Bentonville, skateboarders are expressing the same frustrations. If we had an organized voice for skateboarding, we could probably achieve the same thing as the cycling community.

All that together kinda just brewed in my head and popped up as: 'We need an organization that can represent skateboarders as a whole.' We want to represent current and future skaters.

The mission is to grow and support skateboarding in Northwest Arkansas. To organize and to show people that we're serious. This is who we are, and we are here for the long run.

Q: In the short-term, what are your plans?

One of the first things we wanted to do is launch a skateboarding competition. Every now and then there are competitions, but once they are over, everyone is left wondering what's next. We thought: 'What if, instead, we did multiple stops and a final for the crown?' That's when we landed on the idea for the Arkansas Crown, Arkansas' first skateboarding championship competition. There were a lot of skaters I talked to who believed that that would be cool, that they would be interested in it.

Anthony Dezaldivar Longest Ollie at Bentonville Crown Stop

So, we planned six stops: five competitions and then the final. Four of the stops are located within the region, one in Fort Smith and one in Little Rock. We had the first one on May 25th, 2019 at the Bentonville Skatepark. It was an excellent turnout, a lot of people came out. The next stop in Northwest Arkansas will be on August 11th in Fayetteville, you all should come check it out.

NWASF Arkansas Crown Skateboarding Championship // Stop 1: Bentonville // Highlights

There was this guy that competed in Bentonville, 19 years old named Niccy. I believe he just started skating last year. It was his first competition ever, and he got first place in the beginner's competition. He was like: 'Man, this was the first one; I've never done this before.' That's skateboarding: it makes you try things you have never tried before. It pushes you to go outside your limits. And if you fail, you fail. But then you get back up and try it again⁠—the same goes in life. This is what it is all about.

Niccy's boardslide at Bentonville Crown Stop

Q: Skateboarding for life?

Yes. Look, we all have things going on in our lives. Whether it's family problems, addiction issues, or things like that. A lot of us skateboard to vent that—redirect and channel that energy. I know I did. I made skateboarding my life, and during any negative times I would tell myself: "Skate for life," and that would help me refocus and overcome.

Q: Can you share more about that personal experience?

When I was younger, I got in trouble. Just dumb stuff. I fell into depression, and it took me a while to figure out what the problem was. In truth, it was a lot of things. Around that same time, my parents got divorced. It was tough, and I had a lot of anger built up, but skateboarding was always there. I would go skate, and I would feel better. Ultimately, the skateboarding mentality just kicked in, and I said: 'OK, what's the problem?' That's what you do in skateboarding. You're not accomplishing a particular thing; it's not going right over and over. So you think to yourself, what are you doing that's wrong? Why isn't my board doing what I want it to do? It may take a few times to figure it out, but eventually, you figure it out. And that's how I started getting back on track. It's because of skateboarding. That problem-solving, motivation, self-discipline, and persistence that skateboarding requires helped me get back on the right path.

Yes, we are grinding, jumping off stairs and stuff, but we are focused. Once a skateboarder sets their mind on a trick, they'll try anything to pull it off. And that keeps their mind off of other things, other patterns that may get them in trouble. That is the underlying thing about skateboarding not many people consider, the impact it has on a person. It really makes you self-disciplined and self-motivated, goal-oriented and a creative problem-solver 'cause you're fighting against physics: 'Maybe I can pull my foot back; less pressure this way.'

Wesley McDonald, Events Director/Content Curator

We know there are kids out there going through some of the same things we, as an older generation, have been through. So, definitely mentoring is part of what we'd like to do. As an organization, we want to be there to tell them: 'Keep skating, dude. I've been there. It gets better. Just keep your mind positive'. Programs like that are gonna help us all stay connected.

Q: Other than events and mentorship, are there other ways you want to get people engaged?

Yes. This was just our way to get our foot in the door and show who we are. Our most ambitious goal is our campaign to raise $500,000 for a new, state-of-the-art skatepark, located near the Razorback Greenway, with unique modern obstacle levels of street/transition to not only challenge skaters but also upgrade from our older existing parks that are falling apart. It would be cool, you know, you walk on the trail and see this natural skate garden. Right now, our parks are outdated in terms of the obstacles. But imagine if you had more creative obstacles—if you had something that challenged skaters more. Skateboarding is now included in the Olympics, Tokyo 2020. We believe with the proper facility, we could have one of Northwest Arkansas' own compete in the Olympics.

Ultimately, we would also like to have back-to-school and Christmas drives to collect donations of gear and shoes for youth. With skateboarding, you go through your shoes, clothes, and boards a lot. We don't just want to inspire kids, we want to keep them skating.

Q: Anything else you want to say about skateboarding or skateboarders in the region?

Jonathan Camacho (Construction Director/Content Editor) and son

Beyond the board, I would point out two things. One, there is a strong case to be made that skate parks are a good economic development tool for cities. Skateboarders are travelers at heart. Nice skate parks would bring in folks from beyond the region. Many of us from Northwest Arkansas head to neighboring states like Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas to skate their parks and now, when I go there, I take my twins and wife, so we usually shop, buy food and gas, and get a hotel. And two, skaters tend to have an entrepreneurial/self-starter mindset, which also has an economic impact on the community with many of us having started or starting local businesses.

Bentonville Crown Winners

There are so many different types of skateboarders out there. Overall, it's a socially diverse and accepting group of people. Whenever I first brought my wife to skating, one of the first things she said she noticed is that we're all supportive of each other. You may not know me, and I may not know you, but if you're trying a tough trick or any trick and you're struggling to do it and need that motivation, it's just like automatic—you just cheer them on. All skaters seem to have similar traits: they have an open mind, they are self-motivated and goal-oriented. So you'll see people of different races, backgrounds, ages because it really doesn't matter. Once you're there at the skatepark with your board, eventually you just become like family.

Learn more at nwaskateboarding.org

Arts & Culture

Three Nonprofits Enlivening the 'Arts' in NW Arkansas

From the Indian arts to the media arts and fashion design—check out these pretty unique NW Arkansas nonprofits.

Cover photo by Emily McArthur Photography

When it comes to the arts in Northwest Arkansas, it's hard to see beyond the incredible programming of those such as Crystal Bridges, Walton Arts Center, and TheatreSquared. However, if you take a moment and look closer, you'll quickly discover a rich tapestry of smaller nonprofits contributing to the broader regional arts and culture ecosystem. Below, we'll introduce you to a few you may not have been aware of.

Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation

Photo credit: Emily McArthur Photography

The Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation was established in April 2018 by a group of performing arts enthusiasts. Their mission is to bring Indian Performing Arts, with an emphasis on the classical genre, to the forefront in Northwest Arkansas. To do this, they envision a threefold approach to increasing the exposure and opportunities for performing artists in the community – education, inspiration and sustenance of Indian Performing Arts.

The year-round programming includes two sets of 'community showcases' a year featuring local dancers and musicians and a 'master series' of concerts featuring established artists from India.

Read more about RVCF HERE.

Connect with Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation HERE.

PIXEL™: A School for Media Arts

PIXEL™ is teaching children and adults how to become successful digital artists one pixel at a time. Their programs are designed to help people of all ages identify their passion, develop their skills, and set them on a path to having a successful career in the creative arts. From summer camps to high school digital art classes to post-secondary programming and training for design careers—PIXEL™ is a hub for innovators and creatives of all ages.

PIXEL's instructors, advisors, directors, and leadership come from a wide variety of creative fields such as filmmaking, web and graphic design, jewelry design, programming, and animation. Combined, they have over 200 years of experience working for internationally-known companies and organizations including HBO, Walt Disney, and Sony. There is even an Academy Award winner among them.

Learn more HERE.

Connect with PIXEL HERE.

The Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum

The Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum was founded in 2017 to help creative producers in Arkansas find professional development resources, creative inspiration, and a community of support.

The mission of the Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum is to provide educational opportunities and professional support for aspiring avant-garde fashion designers, artists, and other creative professionals. They specifically seek to serve those who are committed to building a vibrant and inspired creative fashion community in Arkansas.

To date, educational workshops provided by The Forum have touched on everything from runway modeling to makeup artistry to beginners sewing to product development and more. Many of these have taken place throughout Northwest Arkansas, engaging groups like the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese and Stitches (a Latinx youth artist collective) in Springdale. In addition to workshops, the Forum has hosted multiple student designer showcases during Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week and several panel discussions to deepen regional understanding of the art of fashion.

Read more about The Forum HERE.

RSVP to their upcoming Pop-Up Shop and Designer Panel HERE.

Connect with AAFF HERE.

Know of other nonprofits we could feature? Feel free to reach out and let us know at alicia@findingnwa.com.

© IMPACT NWAR. All Rights Reserved