Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas honors Judy Love for her decades of service to the Capital City and its children.
By Rebekah Hall | Photography by Meredith Melody
Each year, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas hosts its signature Toast & Roast dinner celebrating the civic leadership of an individual with an unwavering commitment to the welfare of children. This year, the evening will honor Judy Love for her impressive service to the Capital City – cultivating a brighter future for all Arkansans.
After more than three decades at the Little Rock Regional Chamber, Judy retired in December 2016. The Little Rock Regional Chamber fosters business and economic development – improving the quality of life for every citizen. She also served as executive director of Leadership Greater Little Rock, a program of the Little Rock Regional Chamber that has effectively graduated more than 1,500 community leaders.
Judy also recently finished her year as chairman of the literacy initiative AR Kids Read. She’s particularly passionate about literacy and childhood education. “I was selected because of my commitment to children and my investment in our community,” she explains. “I have long admired the mission and accomplishments of Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was a single mother, but my children were fortunate to have two active parents. Many children are
not so fortunate, and it’s the commitment of the ‘bigs’ that make a huge difference for those children.”
For 50 years, BBBSCA continues to match community leaders, known as “bigs,” with children between the ages of 6 and 14, known as “littles,” to develop integrity, respect and excellence. It is these core values of the organization that impress Judy. “In addition, if children can overcome their circumstances and get an education – they can break out of any life situation.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas CEO Chrissy Chatham, graduate of the Leadership Greater Little Rock program, says Judy is an ideal choice for honoree. “She recognizes it’s the little things that can truly change the trajectory of a child’s life,” Chrissy emphasizes. “Whether it’s reading or having that consistent, reliable adult in your life, the smallest thing can make the biggest difference.” Chrissy explains that a misconception about the BBBSCA program is that it requires a significant commitment of time, however the minimum commitment is only 36 or 48 hours throughout the year.
Judy believes in the intrinsic value of civic leadership. “Volunteering is a gift you give yourself as well as the people you are helping,” Judy reflects. “It’s a great way to get outside your own problems and put life in perspective. After every volunteer experience, I feel that I’ve received more than I’ve given.”
Judy emphasizes the ease with which people can support BBBSCA and affect change. “I would encourage anyone who truly loves children to look into opportunities with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” she says. “Whether you have a few hours to spare or a few dollars to give, your help will add up and create a positive change for our children and community.” She encourages others to get involved with BBBSCA and become part of the support system for children facing adversity. “There are so many instances of at-risk children who have blossomed under the influence of their ‘bigs’ – and again, the rewards were as great for the ‘bigs’ as for the ‘littles,’” Judy says. “Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens and community leaders, and it behooves us to invest our time and energy in them.”