Siloam Springs Volunteer Makes Tails Wag - People Helping People Series

Friday, October 13 at 06:15 PM
Category: People Helping People
Bittersweet may be the best word to describe the emotion Tina Berrios feels when she gets a text message from one of the local animal shelters she serves.
 
Berrios, president of the nonprofit, Tailwaggers*, Inc., said the texts usually convey this message: “Guess who got adopted?”
 
That message means one of the cats or dogs Berrios and other volunteers have spent hours befriending and socializing has a new home. It means the animal is leaving the shelter, which can be somewhat sad for those who have spent time with it.
 
The upside of those text messages, however, is greater.
 
“What’s most rewarding,” Berrios said of the time and energy she devotes to Tailwaggers, “is when there’s a dog that’s been there two or three months, when I get that text: ‘Guess who got adopted?’”
 
It’s been years since Berrios and her family moved from California to Siloam Springs, where she was surprised by how many stray animals she encountered. A longtime animal lover, Berrios began volunteering at the city’s shelter in hopes she could make some of thew animals more adoptable.
 

These days, Berrios not only volunteers her own time, but runs Tailwaggers. The organization’s mission is to improving the lives of pets and pet owners through education, spaying/neutering, fostering and adopting otherwise abandoned, abused and neglected animals.

Fundraising, beefing up volunteer lists, organizing educational outreach efforts and more can be a demanding – and sometimes thankless – job. When those text messages hit her phone, however, Berrios knows that all the effort is worth it.
 
“I love this job,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
 
Berrios is the 23rd person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference. 
 
About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.
 
 Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

Tags: Northwest Arkansas, People Helping People, Siloam Springs
 

Springdale Coach Goes the Distance to Volunteer - People Helping People Series

Friday, September 22 at 07:15 AM
Category: People Helping People
Steve Ebert wasn’t interested in becoming a coach as much as he was interested in spending some quality time with his daughter.
 
Ebert’s daughter was entering seventh grade at the time, and asked her father to start running with her because she wanted to join her junior high school’s cross country team. The two “did a lot of miles together,” Ebert said, and he felt good about helping her get an edge on her classmates when they showed up for the first day of practice.
 
When Ebert saw that his daughter was one of more than 100 kids at that first practice, however, he thought the team’s one coach might need some help. Fast-forward six years, and both the coach and Ebert’s daughter have moved on from Springdale Central’s cross country team.
 
Ebert, though, can still be found at practice – Monday-Friday at 6:45 a.m. – working as a volunteer coach.
 
“He loves the kids, he loves being out here, and… it was never about him, it’s always been about the kids and making kids having the joy of running,” said Chelsea Perry, the team’s current coach.
 

Ebert is the 22nd person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.
 
The videos are available via Arvest’s social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the Arvest Blog – and the bank will make related posts each time a new story appears. Additionally, Arvest social media followers can help spread the word about these inspiring community members by sharing, liking and retweeting the videos. Ebert’s video will launch on Sept. 22.
 
“Hopefully if I can impact one person a year, then it's all worth it,” Ebert said. “So I continue to do that just because it's rewarding, but also… it’s a need (that) somebody needs to fill.”
 
Ebert’s impact has been felt by far more than one person a year. Perry and teachers at Central have noticed improvement in Ebert’s student-athletes’ drive and effort both on the cross country course and in the classroom.
 
So, even though both of his children have now progressed through the program, Ebert still spends all those early mornings – and countless other hours – helping the team members reach their full potential. Natalie Watkins was a member of Ebert’s first team.
 
“I don't think without Steve’s help I would be a good runner or kind of be the person that I am,” she said. “I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but I don't think I would have kept motivating myself to get better if I didn't have his encouragement all those years.”
 
About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.
 
Tags: Arkansas, People Helping People, Springdale
 

Local Retiree Shows a Heart for the Homeless - People Helping People Series

Friday, September 08 at 04:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

There’s one thing people need to know about Johnette Weiss.

“She’s a very strong-willed woman,” her friend, Robert Peoples, said with a laugh. “She wants something done, she’ll get it done.”

Weiss’ strong will has served her well over her 75 years. Visually impaired most of her life, Weiss spent 40 years working as an instructor at World Services for the Blind. Now retired, she channels her energy and determination into making hygiene kits for the homeless “because everybody needs some deodorant, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, just anything to make us more presentable. It makes a person feel good about himself or herself if they're clean.”

Weiss is the 21st person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.

Weiss’ desire to help others was ingrained early. She grew up on a farm and remembers her mother, Ann Bartholomew, sharing extra milk, eggs and vegetables with a nearby neighbor in need. Weiss said her mother didn’t have extra money to give the neighbor, so she helped the only way she could.

“It made an impression on me as a little girl and now I want to help some, too,” she said.

That experience has shaped her approach to life over the years. "My philosophy in life is if each person can make a little bit of difference, can make life a little bit better for someone, then we’ve done something good.”

Weiss has been retired for about 10 years, and has been preparing the hygiene kits for about eight years. One of the challenges she faces when she is assembling the kits is to keep the items separated. She uses braille lables to help her with the task.

“I see the need for the homeless because just about every time you go shopping you're going to see someone that's asking for some help,” Weiss said. “I can't help every one of those people, but I can put together those hygiene kits, and I take them to the shelter that passes them out. They see those people that need that specific help, and they can use those kits to make that person's life just a little bit better.

“It makes me feel good to know I'm helping others because it just makes me feel that I'm being the kind of person I ought to be.”

Watch* Weiss tell her story of helping others. Keep an eye on our social media channels for videos highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Little Rock, People Helping People
 

Fishing Coach Helps Students Reel in Opportunities - People Helping People Series

Friday, August 25 at 04:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

Marshal Grissom walked into a Caney Valley Bass Club meeting because he was willing to use his boat to help the high-schoolers who shared his love of fishing. Grissom left that meeting as the team’s head coach.

Grissom is the latest person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities we Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.

 

Caney Valley High School is located in the northeastern Oklahoma town of Ramona, and its fishing club has proven to be a perfect fit for Grissom. An avid fisherman for as long as he can remember, Grissom believes his favorite hobby not only has life lessons to offer the students he helps, but in some cases, could be a life-changing activity.

“The way the sport of fishing has grown, just in our state alone there are probably well over a dozen collegiate bass fishing teams," Grissom said. "There are colleges recruiting at our tournaments to go onto that next level.”

Some of Caney Valley’s team members have already received college scholarship offers, a path that may not have been available to them if it weren’t for their competitive fishing experience. The lure of a scholarship has kept team member Grayson Atchison sharpening his angling skills. His goal is to one day attend Northeastern State University on a fishing scholarship.

“Honestly I would say Marshal’s my mentor for fishing. He kind of helped me out with a lot of tournament skills that I needed." Atchison said. “If it wasn’t for Marshal, we probably wouldn’t have this club."

Grissom is driven by a need to take action and help others. He believes in taking the initiative when you have the opportunity to change people's lives.

"I’ve always wanted to not just sit back and watch life go by," he said. "I wanted to be a person that did something. And these kids have really given me that opportunity. The most rewarding thing for me is just being out there on the water with these kids. And getting to see them, the joy they have for fishing."

Watch* Grissom and the fishing team in action. Keep an eye on our social media channels for videos highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Bartlesville, Oklahoma, People Helping People
 

Crafty Youngins’ Create Hope – People Helping People Series

Friday, August 11 at 02:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

“As a parent, I don’t know if there’s anything better than watching your kids become better than you are,” said Robin Young, the mother of three children who are dedicated to helping their community. “I don’t really remember a time where the kids weren’t interested in giving back to others.”

Robin’s children are entrepreneurs who give back to their community.

According to the middle “Youngin’” Tristan, this all started back in April 2016. They create a variety of products like bags, canvases, prints and wooden artworks.

 “We wanted to help others who weren’t as fortunate as we are,” Tristan said.
 
The Young kids feature one charity per month and give back 12 percent.

 “We’ve been in business for about two years now and we’ve given about $1,000,” the oldest, Caleb said.

“The products are mostly a group effort,” Caleb said. “We’ll all think up an idea and my dad and I will work on the designs.”

The kids’ dad, Bryan, owns a sign and graphics digital printing company, according to Robin. The shop allows the kids to print canvas, make note cards and vinyl prints.

“I’m grateful for my parents because without them we might not be able to own a business,” Tristan said. “Our dad teaches us how to do things and our mom comes up with the ideas.”

The youngest “Youngin’” is Alyssa and she believes they can make a difference in the world. “We see the need to help other people because we don’t want them to be hurt or left alone,” Alyssa said.

Caleb said what keeps them motivated is knowing they are helping people who are abused or scared. They help charities like the Children’s Safety Center.

“It’s so great to see the Young family out in the community helping others,” said Emily Fisher, Children’s Safety Center development director. “It’s all about kids helping kids and it’s just a really neat way to give back and they’re also learning business skills at the same time.”

According to Alyssa, the siblings rely on each other for help. “We’re very supportive of each other so if one needs help, the other two will help them,” Alyssa said. For Robin, having the children run their own business has allowed her to teach them things they would not normally know. She said she teaches them that they can be part of the solution or part of the problem.

“You know they just believe that they really can make a difference. And they are determined to be part of the solution,” Robin said.


Watch* the Young family in action.

The Young family’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community.

Keep an eye on our social media channels for videos highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves.

 
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

Tags: Arkansas, Fayetteville, People Helping People
 

Kristin Patterson Inspires Campers – People Helping People Series

Friday, July 14 at 07:15 PM
Category: People Helping People

“My motivation is simple. It’s those kids and those smiles,” Kristin Patterson said.

As co-director of Camp Quality Ozarks, Kristin has one purpose: to let kids be kids, even when they have cancer.

“When you undergo cancer as a child, you grow up very fast. You are entered into the adult world whether you want to or not,” Kristin said. “You lose your hair, you may have scars, but here it doesn’t matter, you’re just a kid. You’re just like the others.”

And just like any kid, those who come to Camp Quality Ozarks want to spend their week having typical summer fun.

“We play basketball, soccer, we have fishing, swimming, yoga, CrossFit, and also a really awesome bike park that they get to play on,” Kristin said.

Bethany is one of the campers that knows Kristin. “Camp Quality is a lot like a home away from home. It really helps you to be like your inner self,” Bethany said. “So people aren’t judging you for what you do or who you’re acting like or whatever.”

Tabitha is another teen participating in Camp Quality. “It’s inspired me to be more of myself and get to know others a lot more. And not let what I’m scared of get in the way of what I know I should and can do,” Tabitha said. 

As a child, Kristin experienced the difficulties of cancer and understands what these kids are going through.

“This is my 20th year here at Camp Quality. Eight of those years was as a camper. I was diagnosed with AML leukemia at the age of 10, and went through treatment,” Kristin said. “My sister gave me a bone marrow transplant and I’m very blessed to still be here today.”

Tabitha said she’s able to relate to Kristin more because of their similar experiences. “After going through the same things, it’s a lot easier to bond with her.”

“Kristen is like the big sister I’ve never had,” Tabitha said. 

According to Bethany, she knows she can rely on Kristin for help. “If you just need … somebody to have a shoulder to cry on, she’s there,” Bethany said. “She might start crying with you, but she’ll definitely help with whatever you’re going through.”

It can be a challenging job, but it’s always rewarding, according to Kristin.

“It’s knowing that they’re getting to come here and enjoy themselves. Knowing that they’re making friendships that they can carry on. And also that they’re making friendships [with others who] they have something in common with and they’re able to talk to each other about it.”

“But to see those smiles and to see them playing and having fun is the biggest blessing that I could ever have,” Kristin said. 

Watch* Kristin in action. 

Kristin’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community. 

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, People Helping People

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