CALS Receives $30,000 Grant to Increase Access to Little Rock Summer Healthy Foods Feeding Program Through Transit

No photo description available.Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), has received a $30,000 grant to increase access to healthy foods and parks and recreation sites. The gift is part of a $1.5 million grant NRPA received from the Walmart Foundation to increase access to healthy foods in park and recreation agencies across the country.

The grant supports the City of Little Rock’s Be Mighty Little Rock afterschool and summer meal program by funding a new venture with CALS, Be Mighty Little Rock and Rock Region METRO to increase access to meal sites and activity centers by providing free bus passes to children and youths 18 and younger. The program, called Be Mighty METRO, allows participants access to free meals and activities provided in coordination with the Be Mighty Little Rock campaign. The passes provide unlimited rides on any Rock Region METRO route June 1 through July 31. CALS will receive additional support for meals provided through USDA after-school and summer meal programs, as well as nutritional literacy materials to help ensure life-long healthy habits for Little Rock’s youths.

“The Access to Healthy Foods grant is a perfect way for CALS to expand its existing afterschool and summer programming for youths in our area,” said Nate Coulter, CALS executive director. “We are a natural partner to the local school districts and Rock Region METRO, and in administering this grant, we are bringing these groups together to meet an existing community need. We hope to reach as many as 1,000 children and teens visiting our local libraries this summer.”

The Be Mighty METRO pass, which is good for June 1-July 31, is only available to participants age 18 and younger. Riders 11 and younger will be provided a pass for themselves and a guardian. Passes may be reserved starting May 13 at bemightylittlerock.org and picked up at any CALS branch. The pass reservation form and list of available meal sites can be found at www.bemightylittlerock.org.

“Lack of transportation is often an insurmountable barrier for many children and youths who need healthy food,” said Charles D. Frazier, METRO executive director. “Most Be Mighty Little Rock meal sites are located along a METRO fixed route, and we are happy to participate in this program that enables our community’s youths to access healthy meals and safe places to spend time during the day.”

In Little Rock, libraries have been one of the largest providers of healthy meals to children in low-income communities through the USDA child nutrition programs, working to address hunger, provide nutrition education, and keep youths safe and engaged during out-of-school times. Building upon this strong foundation and the existing strengths of local agencies, NRPA seeks to expand the role and capacity of local parks and recreation to improve food access across diverse communities and generations by piloting and evaluating transportation and infrastructure barriers in communities. Little Rock’s Be Mighty METRO pilot leverages existing resources and assets, builds partnerships, and utilizes innovative systems to transport youths. Partners involved include CALS, Rock Region METRO, the City of Little Rock, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and the Little Rock School District.

According to Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, 1 in 6 youths across the country struggle with hunger every day. During the school year, more than 21 million low-income children receive free or reduced meals to help them meet their daily nutrition needs, but only 3 million of these youths receive these meals during the summer. During summer months, these youths may not have access to quality and healthy food to help them grow — making the Be Mighty Little Rock program partners’ work during out-of-school times that much more critical.

“NRPA is thankful for our partnership with the Walmart Foundation to support local park and recreation agencies who make health and wellness a priority in the communities they serve — especially during out-of-school time,” said Kellie May, NRPA vice president of programs. “Parks and recreation are proving their critical role in the health of their communities and we can’t wait to see the impact this year’s grants will have on fostering life-long healthy habits in children across the country.”

To learn more about Be Mighty Little Rock, visit www.bemightylittlerock.org. To learn more about NRPA’s Commit to Health campaign, which supports the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating Physical Activity standards in park and recreation sites across the country, visit www.nrpa.org/committohealth.

About Be Mighty Little Rock
Be Mighty Little Rock is a citywide campaign to connect children and teens 18 and younger to free meals. Summer meals will be offered at schools, libraries, parks, splash pads, community centers and other sites. Some sites offer breakfast and lunch; others offer dinner or a snack. The campaign is made possible through the CHAMPS grant from the National League of Cities (NLC) and Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Little Rock is one of only six cities to receive the grant. NRPA, NLC, and FRAC work in partnership with the Walmart Foundation.

About the National Recreation and Park Association 
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

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Little Rock Look Back: Werner C. Knoop

To Little Rock citizens under a certain age, the name Knoop means Knoop Park — a picturesque park tucked away in a pocket of Hillcrest.  There are, however, still many who remember Werner C. Knoop as a business and political leader who helped shape Little Rock as a modern city.

Knoop was born on March 30, 1902.

In 1946, Knoop joined with Olen A. Cates and P. W. Baldwin to form Baldwin Construction Company in Little Rock.  Knoop had previously founded Capital Steel Company and established his business reputation there.  From 1945 through 1951, he served on the Little Rock School Board.

Following a series of political scandals, efforts were undertaken for Little Rock to shift from Mayor-Council to City Manager form of government.  Even before the desegregation of Little Rock Central put the city in the eyes of the world, an election for new leaders had been set for November 1957.  Knoop was on a “Good Government” slate and was one of the members elected.

At the first meeting of the new City Board, Werner C. Knoop was chosen by his fellow directors to serve as Little Rock Mayor.  Knoop served as Mayor until December 1962.  For the first several months in office, Little Rock had no City Manager so Knoop oversaw the transition of City staff as the forms of government changed.

Though City Hall generally stayed out of school district matters, that did not mean that the public viewed the two entities separately.  In September 1959, the Baldwin Construction offices were bombed as part of a series of terrorist activities protesting the desegregated reopening of all Little Rock high schools.

Downtown LR as viewed from Knoop Park

Downtown LR as viewed from Knoop Park

After two terms on the City Board, Knoop decided against seeking a third term.  He concluded his elected public service on December 31, 1962.  Following his time on the City Board, Knoop did not retire from Civic Affairs.  In 1970, he served as Chairman of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.   The previous year he served as President of the Arkansas Chapter of Associated General Contractors.

Mayor Knoop died in July 1983.  He is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park next to his wife Faith Yingling Knoop, a renowned author.

In the 1930s, Knoop moved into an Art Moderne house on Ozark Point in Hillcrest.  It was adjacent to Little Rock Waterworks property which was developed around the same time.  Eventually much of the land was deeded to the City for creation of a park.  In 1989, it was named in tribute to long-time neighbor Knoop in honor of his lifetime of service to Little Rock.

Women Making History: Charlotte Stephens

Charlotte Andrews Stephens was the first African American teacher in the Little Rock School District.  Between 1910 and 1912, when an elementary school for African Americans was named after her, she became the first woman to have a public building in Little Rock named after her.  For nearly fifty years, Stephens Elementary (which is now in its third building) would be the only LRSD building named after a woman.

Born into slavery, Charlotte Stephens was educated first by her father who ran a private school in what is now Wesley Chapel UMC.  At the age of 15, she started teaching at the Union School to finish out the term of a white teacher who had become ill.  She taught for 70 years, retiring at age 85 in 1939.

From 1870 to 1873, she attended college at Oberlin College, though not always every semester. (It is possible she was the first African American woman from Arkansas to attend college, but that cannot be verified.)  During her career with the LRSD, she taught students in all grades. She was twice principal of Capitol Hill School, and later headed the high school Latin Department.  At the time of her retirement, she was librarian of Dunbar High School.

The land on which Stephens Elementary now sits was once owned by Charlotte Stephens.  She donated the land and attended the 1950 dedication of the second Stephens Elementary.  That building was torn down in 1994 to make way for the current Stephens Elementary.  Some of her grandchildren attended the dedication of the new and current Stephens Elementary.

Women Making History – Dr. Ida Joe Brooks

Dr. Ida Joe Brooks was the first woman to practice medicine in Arkansas.  In 1920, she became the first woman to be a party nominee for a statewide office.

She was the Republican nominee for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. However, due to her gender, the state Attorney General would not let her name appear on the ballot. (Even though this was the first election in which women could vote.)

In 1877, Dr. Brooks, became the first woman to head a state teachers’ organization. She was president of the Arkansas Educational Association.  After teaching for several years, she wanted to attend medical school.  She had to do so out of state, because the Arkansas medical school would not admit her based on her gender.  In 1914, she ended up becoming the first female faculty member of what is now UAMS.

During World War I, she attempted to enlist in military service.  When she was denied, due to her gender, she was commissioned in the US Public Health Service and served at Camp Pike specializing in psychiatry.  After the war, she was health director for the Little Rock School District.

Annual LRSD Artistry in the Rock runs from March 12 to 15

The Little Rock School District’s annual celebration of the arts in the schools, Artistry in the Rock starts today and runs through Friday, March 15.

It is in a new location this year: Arkansas State Fairgrounds Hall of Industry Building.

A celebration and showcase of LRSD student talent in the performing & visual arts. FREE and Open to the Public!

Tuesday, March 12 (MORNING)
9:30 Western Hills Eagle Band
9:45 Fulbright Pop Choir
10:00 PVMS Treble Choir
10:20 Terry Orff Skit
10:35 Central Madrigals
11:00 Washington Drumming
11:15 PVMS Concert Band
11:35 Parkview Girl’s Chorus and Piano students
12:05 Parkview Jazz Band

Wednesday, March 13 (MORNING)
9:30 Rockefeller Drum and Dance
9:50 Chicot Choir
10:05 FHSA Concert Band
10:35 FHSA World Music
10:55 Gibbs Orff
11:10 JA Fair Drama
11:25 PVMS Mixed Choir
11:40 DMMS Jazz Band

Thursday, March 14 (MORNING)
9:30 Booker Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance
10:00 HMMS Choir
10:30 Dodd Recorder Ensemble
10:45 PHMS Choir
11:10 Central Musical Theatre
11:40 Jazz Central

Thursday, March 14 (EVENING)
6:00 Voices Without Borders, an elementary honor ensemble
6:30 Awards Presentations
7:00 All-City Middle School Band
7:45 All-City High School Band

Friday, March 15 (MORNING)
9:30 Mabelvale Drum and Groove
10:00 Meadowcliff Singers
10:20 HMMS Concert Band
10:50 FHSA Choir
11:15 Otter Creek
11:35 McClellan Choir

Women Making History – City Director Lucy Dixon

Lucy Dixon was elected to the initial Little Rock Board of Directors in November 1957.  She previously had served for six years on the Little Rock School Board.

Mrs. Dixon is the only woman to have served on both the governing boards of the City and the school district.  Mrs. Dixon chose not to seek a second term and left the City Board on December 31, 1960.

Mrs. Dixon is the first woman to be elected to a City position without her husband having previously held that position.

Her father had a lumber business, in which she worked off and on throughout her lifetime. She served not only as an officer of the business, but had a desk at the office and participated in the daily business.  She was also very active in Methodist Woman functions in Little Rock and Arkansas.

Women Making History – Lillian Dees McDermott

Lillian Dees McDermott served on the Little Rock School Board from 1922 to 1946.

Not only was she the first woman to be elected to the School Board, she was also one of the longest-serving members of the board.  She was elected several times to serve as President of the School Board, becoming the first woman to have that title.

During one of her terms, plans to construct Little Rock High School (now Central) and Dunbar High School (now Dunbar Middle School) were finalized.

In her capacity as President, she had to sign contracts. She became the first woman in the country to sign a multi-million dollar contract for a public building project.  McDermott Elementary is named in her memory.