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Program IMPACT at Saint Mark



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“For more than three decades, Saint Mark has made it a priority to invest into the lives of the next generation. We strive to put children first, the way Jesus did while he was here on earth.” – Shelia Hayes, Director of Educational Programs, Saint Mark

Every Monday through Thursday afternoon, over 100 K- 5th graders load up in buses and vans to be transported to Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock for Project IMPACT. Through a partnership with the Little Rock School District and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, students from 21 elementary schools within a 10-mile radius of Saint Mark receive educational enrichment in this after-school program. The instruction is tailor-made to meet each child’s specific needs.


Shelia Hayes is the Director of Educational Programs at Saint Mark and oversees Project IMPACT. The Program employs four students from Central High School and has student volunteers from UALR all with childhood education career goals.

Hayes says that the program was initially for students from Franklin Elementary only, but then it grew due to parental interest. There is currently a waitlist of students who want to participate. And it’s no wonder. At Project IMPACT, students receive a snack upon arrival, one hour of literacy or math assistance, one hour of enrichment (vocal, dance, fashion design or instrumental music) provided by Timmons Arts Foundation, homework assistance and a hot meal for dinner before pick up at 6 p.m.


There is no cost to the participants. A large portion of the costs are covered by a grant, but Hayes says that additional donations are needed. She has plans to add a library, a parent education center, as well as conflict management curriculum. There are also plans in the works to expand the program to include middle school students next year.


Starting in January, Saint Mark will start a Reclaiming Scholars program for suspended students from Henderson Middle School and JA Fair High School. The Reclaiming Scholars program offers students an alternative to out-of-school suspensions. During their days of suspension, students will receive educational instruction, counseling and mentorship. Through Reclaiming Scholars, Saint Mark staff can provide a positive and encouraging atmosphere, as well as inspire hope in these young people.


If you would like more information about Program IMPACT or would like to make a donation, please contact Shelia Hayes at smhayes@smark.org.

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Arkansas Women Blogger member Stacey Valley is a wife, mom of four girls (two by marriage and two by adoption), and public health professional. She adores her interracial, real-life modern family, and is thankful that her husband Anthony loves her kind of crazy. Cooking is her therapy. She dreams of moving to Italy one day, so you can often find her binging on House Hunters International. Stacey’s life motto is "Live big. Love deep." which is also the name of her blog.

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