Windows of Giving

Small gifts make a big difference. Vote RURAL by making an online donation to Arkansas' Mt. Judea Area Alliance, Inc.

July 13, 2016 |

"The Mt. Judea Area Alliance, Inc.'s Summer Learning Camp is just one example of how this grassroots organization builds community in the mountains of Arkansas."

Our Windows of Giving Series is based on the premise that small donations can make a big difference in rural places. Not only does your online gift support a worthy effort, but your commitment shows groups in other small communities that people appreciate the significance of their work.

Arkansas' Mt. Judea Area Alliance emerged from their community's struggle with the postal service closure debate of 2011. A group quickly formed to fight for the local Mt. Judea post office, and they wanted to show others that Mt. Judea was not willing to go down without a fight; this was a community that was not ready to die.

The leaders of this post office advocacy effort wanted to do even more for their community, and the Mt. Judea Area Alliance (MJAA) was formed. In trying to determine what its mission statement should be, MJAA members were asked, “What do you want for your community?” The following are a few of the answers received back.

“I suppose my mission is to save, protect, and enhance the lives of the people of the Mt. Judea area and Newton County, to assist them in being all they can be.”

“To be an advocate for sustaining our community, our School and our Rural way of life.”

“I want to live in a community that is healthy: economically, environmentally and socially. I believe that when people create that kind of community, they have a positive influence on the larger world -- they make better decisions as voters, as parents, as workers, as educators,as businesspersons....”

The Mt. Judea Area Alliance, Inc. became a Non-Profit Incorporation on October 15, 2012. Their mission statement is as follows: “The Alliance is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, more specifically to be an advocate for our community, our School and our rural way of life, by strengthening and sustaining our community, by means of economic development, education, reducing poverty, celebrating our heritage, and providing community services. Our goal is to produce a safe and successful Mount Judea community, with the ultimate goal of engaging the citizens of Mount Judea and Newton County in supporting, contributing to, and demanding better outcomes for children and families.”

One of the Alliance's signature programs is its Summer Learning Camp (SLC). The SLC strives to ensure that participating students maintain or raise their reading levels and at the same time develop a lifelong love of reading. According to Beth Ardapple, "The Camp is truly a labor of love for our four current or retired certified teachers and five assistants. Several of them are in their fourth year of running the Camp."

"Until this year, they have run the camp entirely as volunteers, paying for snacks and supplies out of their own pockets. This year, the Arkansas Community Foundation has provided a small grant to give teachers a stipend and cover the cost of books, supplies and snacks." Ardapple added, "For under $300 per student, each student will have eight days of Summer Learning Camp and five books to keep and take home. The Mt. Judea elementary school will receive 120 new books for their classroom libraries."

Mt. Judea Area Alliance is working to support its community and school so that EVERY child has the opportunity to learn and to succeed in life. Other projects include the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, coordinating volunteers to tutor and read to young children, a community Heritage Festival, a Byways Buy Days community yard sale and landscaping our school grounds. The Alliance's newest project is Bright Futures, a program to provide students with immediate needs that will help to facilitate their success.

Please cast your vote for the work of the MJAA. Not only will the smallest donation make a big difference, but the Mt. Judea Area Alliance's success is living testimony to the fact that any small and rural community can roll up its sleeves and get things done. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

By the way, the Rural Schools Collaborative will provide the MJAA Summer Learning Camp with a $500 match if we get 20 online donors for this effort. Let's get this done! UPDATE (7/25/16) We are so pleased to announce that the MJAA reached their goal! Congratulations to them, and thanks to all of the online donors!

The Mt. Judea Area Alliance is a proud partner of Arkansas' Rural Community Alliance, which is a founding partner of the Rural Schools Collaborative.

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