LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Every year, THV11 teams up with the Heart of Arkansas United Way to help kids in our community get the school supplies they need to start the school year off right. But there are other people in this community also working hard to meet this important need for students all across the state.
Community organizations, businesses, and everyday people in central Arkansas have stepped up to help kids this school year.
One individual who is working to make a difference is Amari Briggs. For her, giving back to kids in need is incredibly personal. There was a time when all she wanted was the best for her kids, but desperately needed a helping hand. It was hard for her to afford school supplies.
“I was going through a lot of struggles personally, financially, emotionally, you name it,” said Briggs.
She will never forget the times when she needed help and how thankful she was that the Junior League stepped up to provide school supplies. Their efforts impacted her so much that she joined the Junior League.
Now that she’s in a better position, she is giving back to people who struggled like her. She is helping to lead the Junior League of Little Rock's annual ‘Stuff the Bus” school supply program. So far, the group has collected over 60,000 dollars worth of products that they’ll be delivering to 7 schools in Central Arkansas.
“Assisting women and children is the main focus of our organization and we just want to be sure everyone has what they need to be successful,” said Briggs.
Other efforts to help kids start right at the grassroots with everyday people hoping to make a difference.
About 16 years ago, barber Tyrus Gillam had the vision of giving less fortunate kids fresh haircuts so they could start the school year off with confidence. Now that his business is where it needed to be, Gillam is ready to give back in a big way.
This month, his barbershop, All-Star Kutz, is teaming up with multiple hotels in Little Rock to provide hundreds of free haircuts and backpacks full of school supplies for kids. They’ll be giving away the backpacks and haircuts at a fun, family-friendly event.
“People don't realize the power of a haircut,” said Gillam. “I have seen the happiness people feel when they get their hair done and it just makes me feel good to see.”
Gillam’s story shows the powerful truth that anyone can make a difference and no dream is too small.
Mollie Palmer with Heart of Arkansas United Way said their organization works with all types of people, who like Gillam, just want to help make a difference. That’s why she is encouraging other people to give back to kids who need it the most.
“This is something an individual can do, it’s something a family can do, and it’s something a business can do,” said Palmer.
Palmer thinks the community has a great opportunity and a great responsibility to support local students.
“It’s not going to be very long before these students are our community leaders, business leaders, teachers, doctors, and nonprofit leaders,” said Palmer.
One easy way anyone can give back is by joining THV11 and Heart of Arkansas United Way in our Back to School Blitz. We have collection bins in Walmart stores across central Arkansas where you can help donate much needed school supplies.
Find a full list of remaining donation locations below:
August 2nd: 4450 East McCain Boulevard, North Little Rock
August 3rd: 400 Bryant Avenue, Bryant
August 4th: 2700 South Shackleford Drive, Little Rock