The Adult Learning Alliance of Arkansas (ALA), an organization that supports adult education in more than 50 counties, has awarded nominees from the Literacy Council of Bowie and Miller Counties with three of its five awards given out annually. The Win Rockefeller Leader of the Year Award, Outstanding Business Partner of the Year, and Student of the Year all went to nominees from the Texarkana-based non-profit. Winners will be honored at a luncheon on Friday, May 20 at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock at the close of ALA’s annual conference.
Executive Director Jenny Walker said that she is thrilled about the opportunity to showcase the exceptional leaders who have supported the organization’s work this year and a student who has been an incredible example of the power of perseverance.
“Nobody enters into this line of work for recognition,” Walker said. “But the people we were able to honor with these nominations are truly deserving of public praise. We are thankful that ALA chose them above so many qualified nominees across the state. It is truly an honor for us all.”
The Win Rockefeller Leader of the Year award went to Paul Chapman, the Executive Director of Restore Hope Arkansas, the organization that helped the Literacy Council bring the 100 Families program to Texarkana. Chapman, who worked with Governor Asa Hutchinson to form Restore Hope Arkansas, and his team have been incredibly supportive to Walker and 100 Families Coordinator Kristina Rivas-Jones in providing support and training for the collaborative program that helps Texarkana families find stability in crisis situations.
The Outstanding Business Partner of the Year was awarded to Donnie Reid and his team at Total Medical Supply and the I Am a Hero organization for their work in establishing the We Are Washington campus. Because of Washington, the Literacy Council is able to offer adult education services more conveniently to residents on the Arkansas side of town.
“We Are Washington is a dream for us,” Walker said. “It is a beautiful place in every way, and having a second location would be absolutely impossible for us financially without the work that Donnie and his team have done. They have invested so much of their time, talents, and resources in making Washington a reality. They are really changing the world, and we are thankful to join them for our small part.”
Finally, the Student of the Year award was awarded to Jackie Grissom, Literacy Council student who is working toward her GED. Grissom, who has been attending tutoring sessions for less than a year, has already made incredible progress toward her academic goals, and she helps others do the same.
“My favorite thing about Jackie is that she not only cares about her success, but she also serves as a peer mentor to other students here,” Walker said. “There are a lot of tears shed in our office, and anytime we feel like a student is on the verge of quitting, we call in Jackie. She always tells them, ‘if I can do it, so can you.’ She talks them off the ledge, and that makes all the difference. They calm down and keep going. Her gentle spirit and perseverance are inspiring to everyone.”