Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Recognizes PROMISE Youth for Service

Luke Kitterman, top, and Anthony Secrest received awards for their work through the Arkansas PROMISE project.
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Luke Kitterman, top, and Anthony Secrest received awards for their work through the Arkansas PROMISE project.

The Arkansas PROMISE project's success depends on businesses and community organizations that employ PROMISE youth in the summer. Habitat for Humanity of Benton County, Inc. recognized both the PROMISE organization and two of its youth with special awards recently.

Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Inc., which is directed by Debby Wieneke, presented a certificate to the PROMISE project for its "dedicated service and steadfast efforts to eliminate poverty housing" in the county. Two PROMISE youth worked for the organization last summer.

Luke Kitterman of Bentonville and Anthony Secrest of Siloam Springs worked at the ReStore, which is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center from which proceeds are used to fund the organization. Habitat for Humanity offers a home ownership opportunity to families unable to obtain conventional house financing.

"The award highlights the hard work our volunteers and people who serve with Habitat put forth," said Lizz Dempsey, volunteer coordinator. "We learned a lot from Luke and Anthony and we like to think they learned a lot from us, too, considering they are coming back this summer. The boys really became a part of our family, so the award was our way of recognizing them for impacting our lives and their community."

The Arkansas PROMISE project based at the University of Arkansas provides a group of 1,000 teens who receive Supplemental Security Income two paid summer work experiences as well as additional training and intensive support services. Each work experience is about 200 hours. A second group of 1,000 teens receives only the usual services provided to youth with disabilities.

Researchers will collect and analyze data from the two groups to help the federal government determine whether the PROMISE project should be used as a model for future programs. Arkansas PROMISE is funded by a $35.7 million federal grant to the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Education.

Through the five-year project, many other businesses and organizations have taken interest in the PROMISE youth who work for them, helping them to be successful on the job, at school and at home.

Contacts

Heidi S. Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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