Project Summaries

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School: J.O. Kelly Middle School Date Entered: 2/29/2016
Title: Urban Container Garden and Outdoor Classroom
Since many of our students live in apartments with limited gardening space, and we have one of the highest food insecurities in our district with 89% of our students on free and reduced lunch, we created a model container garden to demonstrate the best practices for growing food in a limited area. Our mission is to promote health and food security in our community by empowering our students and their families with the knowledge, skills, and resources, to grow their own food with gardening. As a result, our EAST patio now has beautiful container garden!

This project originated as a group of us became astounded by the bleak food insecurity statistics for our state of Arkansas and decided to do something about it in our community. With a partnerships with Apple Seeds, Inc., Specialized Real Estate Group, and Modus Studio (an architecture and design firm), and master builder and J.O. Kelly Middle School math teacher Mr. Mike Luttrell, we have created a container garden with over 50 containers that can be used for growing our own produce as well as being used as an outdoor classroom for the main purpose of teaching ourselves and our school and our community the best practices of urban container gardening.

We used Sketchup to design our container boxes and worked to build them ourselves over a period of several weeks with help from Apple Seeds volunteers and guidance from Mr. Luttrell. In addition to the container garden on our patio, we have created a series of instructional pamphlets and are working to complete a series of accompanying instructional videos. These materials will be used to teach others about the best practices associated with container gardening. After completing the instructional materials, we will schedule a series of workshops to be presented in our science classes and at a partnering elementary school.

With a grant we have received from the Blue & You Foundation, we will be presenting container garden workshops to students and their families from our school who live in multi-family homes and who do not own land. We have shared our work with district leadership and have received funding from the district PEP grant, which provides support to district health and wellness initiatives. This will help us expand our container garden area and add four large raised garden beds. We also have reached out and formed partnerships with local apartment complex managers to present container garden workshops for their residents. After touring several community garden programs, specifically learning about community garden programs implemented for multi-family housing, we are advocating for local apartment complexes to implement community garden programs for their residents as well.

We have partnered with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership to learn more about sustainable and green initiatives in our community and how green infrastructure is necessary for a healthy watershed. We have written a grant to implement a rain garden with native edible plants, bioswales, permeable pavers, green roofs, and a rain catchment system for our garden area. The goal is to create a vibrant outdoor learning center for teaching ourselves and others about best practices in urban gardening and innovative green infrastructure design concepts.

School: J.O. Kelly Middle School Date Entered: 2/29/2016
Title: Bike Shop and Bike Fleet App
Maintaining and repairing a large bicycle fleet at our school and in our district is a huge challenge. With over 100 bicycles at JOKMS, with each bike worth approximately $350 for a total of $35,000 and with 1,000 bikes worth approximately $350,000 in our Springdale School District, we need a system to efficiently maintain and repair this valuable resource. Our team is working to solve this problem not just for our school, but to create a student-led system that can be replicated across our district and possibly be used for any organization that has a bike fleet.

How have we solved the problem? We first partnered with an organization called Youth Strategies, a local nonprofit that trains high school students in useful skills such as bike repair and maintenance. They are teaching us how to maintain our own bikes. After their input, we then developed a Google Sheets Database for our bike inventory and are in the process of using it to to record two annual evaluations for each of the 100 Bicycles at JOKMS. They also helped us create a Bike Maintenance and Repair Checklist that we use during each bike evaluation so we know that each bike is maintained. We can address repair issues before they become an expensive repair and before they make the bike unsafe or unfit for a student to ride. We now have the skills and a checklist to use to help us evaluate and address problems with all of the bikes in our bike fleet.

After realizing that there is no app currently available to help with maintaining Bicycle Fleet Inventory, we reached out to a software design company called RevUnit to help us design and create an app that will help us and others track bicycle fleet inventory, maintenance, and repair. Our research revealed there is nothing available like this and we know there is a great need for it in our district and in other organizations as well.

We have also reached out to partner with the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks and the Springdale Police Department Bike Patrol Unit to get help creating a bicycle skills, maintenance, repair, and safety course. We will offer this training in the form of a Bike Rodeo so that our students can learn how to ride safely and to take care of our bikes in a fun format.

We believe our team is making a difference by helping our school care for a very valuable resource worth tens of thousands of dollars so that students for years to come will have the joy and health benefits associated with bike riding.

School: Armorel High School Date Entered: 2/10/2016
Title: Armorel Students Involved in Sustaining their Arkansas
Today, Mississippi County is considered a high poverty area that is often passed by travelers, even though it contains a rich history and many historical sites. We want to create a united focus in the county to bring tourism and revenue into our beloved upper Delta region. These actions have shown to revitalize communities and we would like to do the same in our cherished home county.

After talking to the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce director, EAST at Armorel High School created a proposal for a not-for-profit tourism organization, which would then offer a part-time position for a tourism coordinator countywide. We entered this proposal in the Students Involved in Sustaining their Arkansas (SISTA) contest and were awarded the fellowship. This past year, we have been paired with a mentor from the University of Arkansas, and they are helping us create a business proposal that includes an oral history of the community, personnel, duties, timeline, schedule, financials, and evaluation plan. The Brown Chair staff at the U of A will be working toward locating funding for the creation of the tourism organization at the end of the year when the completed business proposal has been submitted.

School: Armorel High School Date Entered: 2/10/2016
Title: Helping the Haven
EAST at Armorel High School has partnered with the nonprofit organization The Haven, which provides shelter in cases of emergency to women and their children. This organization serves the entire Northeast Arkansas region and into Southeast Missouri. Our relationship started last year as previous EAST students chose this organization to create a project that would meet their needs in some way. During a meeting, the previous director and day advocate met with us and described their biggest needs: a centrally located office space and an additional facility for a group or temporary home. They explained they never turn down someone who needs help and due to the nature of keeping their location as anonymous as possible, receiving and collecting donations/drives and getting information to the public has not been easy.

We have developed a relationship with a local bank and they have committed to donating a foreclosed home that meets The Haven’s specifications when one comes available. We are reaching out to local businesses and community members and have received commitments for potential needed supplies such as appliances, furniture, labor, etc. We are communicating with the Main Street Director for an available office space downtown Blytheville that will be potentially rent-free.

School: Hot Springs World Class High School Date Entered: 2/9/2016
Title: Shipping Container Home for Homeless Veterans
The Hot Springs High School EAST Program has been working very closely with our local VFW, Elks Lodge and the Hot Springs City Planning and Development department to refurbish a donated shipping container and turn it into temporary housing for Homeless Veterans. Hugg and Hall donated a shipping container to us after hearing about the project, and we've had countless people in the community reach out to us about donating their time, materials and services to us once we start building.

Our plan is to have homeless veterans apply to stay in the home for up to 6 months, giving them time to find work and get on their feet. Once we finish our first shipping container home, we hope to build on that success and create more.

This project started almost three years ago and is just now getting off the ground this year. Funding was the biggest issue. We started to see progress in the summer of 2015 as we secured our partnership with the VFW. The Elks Lodge helped us out tremendously with funding as well, and we're still working on grants for additional funding, but now we're able to do so with their help and including them in our grant applications, which we feel will give us a better chance.

Our project solves a real problem and helps real people. Countless veterans end up homeless because they return from war with nowhere to go and no job to stabilize them. This project provides them with shelter and help from VFW members to assist them in their job search and to give them the life skills they need to make it on their own and be successful citizens again.

Our project is not complete yet, but is definitely well on its way. We have our main build days on the 10th and 20th of February and in March, we hope to start furnishing the home. We hope to have this first home complete no later than April and start having veterans living in it over the summer. Our final outcome won't just end with that, but, hopefully, with us creating more of these homes.

School: Nettleton High School Date Entered: 2/5/2016
Title: Their Legacy...Our Freedom
Nettleton High School EAST 9-10 & 11-12 partnered with Nettleton Administration, Jonesboro Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, St. Bernards Medical Center Food Services, Mayor Harold Perrin, Arkansas State University Beck Pride Center, area veterans, both NHS Band and Madrigals choir, Rick Christian/Jonesboro Radio Group, Barry Carlton-History Department Chair, and many on campus clubs and organizations for Their Legacy...Our Freedom Veterans Day Program and Luncheon. The NHS Veterans Day program is unique from other Veterans Day programs because it is directed toward the veterans. The luncheon and program is designed to honor and bring public appreciation to the sacrifice and service of our veterans. This a value that Nettleton EAST feels strongly needs to be cultivated in our community.

One veterans described our program it this way: “What an ALL-OUT event for honoring veterans; you fed us, entertained us, and honored us vets in so many ways. It was a privilege to serve my country and the many good people like all of you at Nettleton High School. It really warms my heart to see these young people give of themselves in this manner. It speaks volumes for them, the staff, and for the Nettleton High School.” -James Cameron USMC

School: Fountain Lake High School Date Entered: 2/5/2016
Title: HSVACOC Partnership
For this year's National Service Project, EAST at Fountain Lake formed a partnership with the Hot Springs Village Area Chamber of Commerce. Businesses in our area operate in a unique economic situation.

Hot Springs Village is a retirement community, meaning many businesses are owned by retired individuals or families that moved here upon their retirement. This means there is often a lack of technological skills and technology itself in our businesses. EAST at Fountain Lake has been able to work with the Chamber to provide many services involving technology to its members. The professional services we have provided to Chamber members include online listings on Yelp and Google. Also, EAST students have provided exposure via a newsletter started by two of our students participating in internships at the Chamber over the summer. Continuing to work with the Chamber, we are now providing graphic design and presentation aides to the Chamber for their upcoming awards banquet.

Our students meet frequently with Chamber representatives and Chamber membership to solve real problems they are having with marketing and other exposure, aiding the Chamber in its ultimate goal. The team formed by the Chamber, its board, and EAST at Fountain Lake has proven successful in affecting the area economy. While all involved parties can be individually successful, the team we have formed integrates resources from all aspects of business to provide the best support possible to local businesses.

School: Huntsville High School Date Entered: 2/5/2016
Title: Rapid Response Team Project
The 2015 Rapid Response Team Camp trains high school students from across the state in CPR, AED, First Aid, Search and Rescue, Land Navigation, Incident Command, Patient Assessment, Mass Care and sheltering.

In addition to the state camp, the Rapid Response Team Project emphasizes community service and using the cutting edge technology available to EAST students to aid our local community solve a range of problems facing our friends and families in the community.

Our team has collaborated with the American Red Cross, the Huntsville Fire Department, Huntsville High School, the Beaver Water Alliance, Madison County Senior Center and the Meals on Wheels program.

School: Central Junior High School Date Entered: 2/4/2016
Title: Partners in Peace
Central EAST has been working with the organization Peace at Home, whose purpose is to give victims of domestic violence a place to find support and resources they need to get and maintain a violence free home. For this organization we are bringing awareness into our schools through Central student meeting sessions, teen dating violence awareness month activities, and slideshows giving information about violence in homes, relationships, and other places. Peace at Home has been very involved in our projects and EAST program; we are very thankful for their involvement. Our hard work is seen through our relationship with our community partners and the responsibility our program has endured. We have been successful in the community, our school, and in EAST altogether, and it is evident that Central EAST will do many great things in the future.

School: Helen Tyson Middle School Date Entered: 2/4/2016
Title: Thirteen as One
With the NSP theme of Connected Communities in mind, all 13 of Springdale’s EAST programs launched our year of service by conducting a Student Leadership Summit. This event served as a catalyst for the development of our core goals and for uniting our programs and the community we serve. During the leadership summit, students, facilitators, and community members offered breakout sessions to students across our district. This initial phase laid the critical foundation, established powerful relationships, and set the tone for our common purpose that together we are stronger and more able to make our community a better place for all.

Following the summit, our district EAST programs began by forming common partnerships and building district-wide EAST projects related to three core areas: Watershed Management, Illiteracy, and Food Insecurity. To begin the second phase of our NSP, our students joined forces with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership to plant trees along a newly opened portion of the Razorback Greenway. After this event, the students began phase three with a project to identify through GIS the mapping of additional riparian locations along the Greenway in need of restoration. Through mapping analysis, students across Springdale, in partnership with the City of Springdale and the IRWP, will begin restoring the selected public sites by utilizing native plants grown within their classrooms. Phase four has begun as the EAST schools across the district are participating in our Little Free Library project to eliminate book deserts, including spots along the Razorback Greenway. These public bookshare points are being sponsored by our EAST programs in the highest need areas of our community. For phase five of the NSP, united groups of students will implement a large-scale, district-wide food insecurity project in partnership with local hunger relief agencies. Our district’s art departments will play a key role in helping us connect our community with this event. Phase five will culminate the NSP year with the implementation of a spring day of service spotlighting 13 vital community organizations.

We are 13 programs acting as one to solve some of our community's greatest needs through united partnerships.

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