By: Meredith Jones from finetimes.org
Every child has the potential to Be Mighty. However, not every child is born with the same resources and opportunities. One in four Arkansas children lives in poverty, and children of color are twice as likely to be low-income than their white peers.
Not only does poverty make it difficult for families to put food on the table, but it also impairs a child’s ability to thrive. Poverty affects the way kids learn, play, and grow and is linked to worse outcomes in health and achievement.
When you want to lift up a community and build a brighter future, it makes sense to start with the youth. But what can the average Arkansan do to improve the lives of Little Rock youth? Here are three ways you can help Arkansas kids thrive.
Volunteer and Donate to Little Rock Organizations
Giving back is a simple way to strengthen your community from within. Whether you have time to volunteer, money to donate, or both, here are Little Rock organizations that deserve your generosity.
- Arkansas Children’s Hospital
- Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance
- Arkansas Food Bank
- Be Mighty Little Rock & Central Arkansas Library System Foundation
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas
- Junior Achievement of Arkansas
- Our House
- Little Rock Angels
- Pulaski County Imagination Library
Careers That Make a Difference for Kids
Do you want a rewarding career that makes a difference in the world? If you’re emotionally intelligent, a quick thinker, and can keep your cool in a crisis, a career working with youth may be right for you.
- Teacher: Teaching is the classic career choice for anyone seeking to shape young minds. Teaching requirements vary by state, but most teachers must complete an accredited bachelor’s degree and pass a licensing exam.
- Child psychologist: Interested in mental health? Child psychologists are board-certified professionals who work in schools and clinical settings. Most child psychologists hold a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a concentration in child development or clinical child psychology.
- Social worker: Social workers may also provide counseling in addition to casework and care coordination, although this career path requires less education than psychology. While regulatory requirements vary by state, most social workers require a bachelor’s or master’s degree and state licensure to practice.
- Pediatric nurse practitioner: Health is wealth, but improving the health of the community’s youth isn’t the only reason to choose this fast-growing career path. Pediatric NPs earn an average salary of over $100,000, making this one of the most well-paid jobs working with kids.
Creative Ways to Support Youth and Teens
Even if you’re not a parent, an investment in your community’s youth is an investment in the future. Here are some ways everyday citizens can engage and support Arkansas youth.
- Get to know your neighbors and plan kid-friendly community bonding activities.
- Offer support to parents you know.
- “Adopt” a child or family for the holidays or participate in other seasonal giving events.
- Organize a school supply drive to help children and teachers access the tools they need to succeed.
- Start or expand the youth ministry in your church or faith community.
- If you own a small business, make it a safe, fun place for youth to spend time.
- Business owners can also start an internship program in partnership with local high schools.
It takes a village to lift up the community’s youth. Will you be a part of it? By working together to support Little Rock’s children and teens, we can fight back against poverty and create a brighter future for everyone. If you’re ready to start making a difference, join the newsletter to learn how to support Be Mighty Little Rock.