New Member – Searcy County Rural Help Center

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The Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome the Searcy County Rural Help Center as one of its newest members.

The Searcy County Rural Help Center’s mission is to improve the welfare of disadvantaged citizens, on a local scale, by acting as an outreach for Social and Human Services to rural areas of Searcy County.  Our services are designed to help eliminate extensive travel, and assist those who are in need of assistance in form completion, and access to information pertaining to Social and Human Services.

The Center houses a small Library, and Computer Lab that provides access to computer and internet  services, that lessens the physical barriers in communication, and provides access to Adult Education, and fundamental computer classes.  The Library provides an exchange book program, and offers the opportunity to check out books for adults and children.  Our future plans are to provide children’s programs that promote literacy and increase student achievement.

An element also included in the Center is the Thrift Store, where all funds are filtered back into the Center for enhanced programs.

You may contact the Searcy County Rural Help Center at their location, 260 North Church St. in St. Joe, Arkansas, 72675, by phone at 870-439-8300 or by Email.

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New Member — Ozark Opportunities, Inc.

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The Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome Ozark Opportunities, Inc. as it’s newest Chamber Member.

Ozark Opportunities, Inc.(“OOI”) was incorporated as a private, non-profit corporation under IRS code 501 (c) (3) in 1969. We are identified as a “Community Action Agency,” and provide services in a six county area in Arkansas: Baxter, Boone, Marion, Newton, Searcy and Van Buren.

Our agency is governed by an 18-member board consisting of public officials and representatives of the private and low-income sectors. The mission of OOI is to partner with organizations, families, and individuals to provide services and empowerment opportunities for those with limited means to improve their quality of life.

Our Administrative office is located at 701 E. Prospect (P.O. Box 1400) in Harrison, Arkansas. We have an office in each county seat and 15 Head Start Centers (26 classes) throughout the six counties. The Weatherization Office is located in Marshall, Arkansas and affords the agency an equal distance to the furthest reaches of the service area. All of our programs require clients being certified as income-eligible. Guidelines vary from program to program.

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Through the years, our agency has been involved or acted as the “Lead Agency” and/or secured funding for various projects and programs that were later spun off and/or operations assumed by other organizations. These include:

 

  • Creation of the Community Resource Group; Fayetteville, AR. to develop rural water & sewer systems in rural Arkansas counties in Northwest Arkansas. Now a multi-million dollar organization serving multiple states, their mission is “helping people build secure and sustainable futures by assisting small, rural communities in their work to solve water and wastewater problems, and by helping hardworking families realize the American dream of having a safe, secure place to call home.”
  • Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Harrison Arkansas.
  • Doctor-on-Retainer Program (Lead Agency for State-6 delegate Agencies).
  • VISTA Volunteer Program.
  • Feeder Pig Program (Seed program-similar to Heifer, International).
  • Rural Production and Marketing of Ozark Crafts Program.
  • Elderly Nutritional Feeding Program, precursor to Meals on Wheels.
  • Elderly Transportation Program.
  • Day Care Centers (Harrison & Clinton).
  • Before and After School Programs (Marshall & Clinton).
  • Grants for building Community Centers in Diamond City, Leslie, Harrison (RSVP Center) and Clinton.

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  • Grants for local Volunteer Fire Departments.
  • Heavy Equipment Training Class-NAC (North Arkansas College).
  • WIC Program.
  • Fiscal Agent for TEA Coalitions for Marion and Searcy Counties.
  • Housing Preservation Grant Program.
  • Self-Help Housing Program.
  • Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) Preschool classrooms.
  • Operated Community Centers; two in each county.
  • Fan & Blanket Program for Elderly.
  • Holiday Food Baskets, Thanksgiving & Christmas.
  • Individual Development Account Program; matched savings accounts for education.
  • Emergency Medical, Vision, Dental Program(s).
  • Wear & Share; Clinton.
  • Garden Program.
  • Cannery available to the public.
  • Family Planning Program.
  • Emergency Food and Shelter (FEMA).

 

We currently operate the following programs:

 

  • Head Start Program (including the USDA-Child Care Food Program)
    • Backpack program
  • Weatherization Program (ARRA & DOE/LIHEAP & AWP)
  • Community Services(Community Service Block Grant Program-CSBG)
    • SUCCESS, Life Coaching
    • Information Seminars (Life skills)
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), USDA surplus foods (commodities)
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Volunteers in Action, volunteering opportunities for individuals 55 and older
  • Community Development, expanding and enriching communities thru new and/or expanded initiatives

Our current annual funding is approximately $6 million per year. Of this total; approximately 95% is Federal/State and 5% Local/Private. We have approximately 100 full time employees with an annual payroll of slightly over $2.5 million.  We have very dedicated staff all sharing a common goal of assisting low income people to improve their lives and the futures of their families and communities. Visit us on the web at: www.OzarkOpp.org, or give them a call at 870-741-9406.    They have a downloadable and printable brochure which shows all that Ozark Opportunities has to offer that is located here.