About Town

Central Arkansas Sweethearts


Central Arkansas Sweethearts serve as fundraising army for the American Heart Association

Girls interested in becoming a Central Arkansas Sweetheart should contact Kathy Findley at Kathy.Findley@heart.org.

Much like a military recruiter, Kathy Findley is in search of “the best of the best of the best” for her army of Central Arkansas Sweethearts, a program of the local American Heart Association that raises funds for the Central Arkansas Heart Ball campaign.

Sweethearts are sophomore-age girls who come from all over the region to raise funds and awareness for the American Heart Association’s mission of being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. The Sweethearts’ training began with a welcome reception for the new class on Aug. 24 and culminates when they are introduced at the Central Arkansas Heart Ball April 6. After all are presented to the crowd, the girls will join their escorts and dance to the song “My Girl,” performed at the ball by the band.

Kathy, senior development director for the Central Arkansas Heart Ball, said the Class of ’24 includes 46 girls from Mount. St. Mary Academy, Pulaski Academy, Little Rock Christian Academy, Central High School, North Little Rock High School, Joe T. Robinson High School, Episcopal Collegiate High School and some who have chosen elective home education. Their year of training also included a Sweetheart retreat Aug. 26 at the American Heart Association office, a class on healthy eating and fitness Sept. 13 at the Arkansas Heart Hospital, a walk on Sept. 24 from the Association’s office to the state Capitol to learn about the organization’s advocacy efforts, health screenings Sept. 30 at Baptist Health and CPR training certification Oct. 8 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Other health training included a tour of the cardiac wing of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Nov. 15 and 16; a visit to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences simulation lab on Dec. 6 and a mini-internship at CHI St. Vincent Dec. 20. They also visited the UAMS research lab in early January, made cards for cardiac patients and learned about oral health and its impact on heart health.

There was some socializing, as well. Sweethearts attended a father-daughter barbecue on Oct. 18, a mother-daughter brunch on Feb. 3 and will receive their Sweetheart necklaces at an event on March 26.

Kathy, who is in her third year of guiding the ball and the Sweethearts, said the girls have taught her a lot. “I love seeing how enthusiastic the girls are when our speakers are taking questions,” she said. “It is obvious they are learning and enjoying the program.”

Each girl is responsible for raising $1,500 with a $70,000 goal for the group. Outstanding individual fundraisers will receive awards. One hard-working young lady will receive the Allison Justiss Sweetheart Memorial Scholarship – a $5,000 educational scholarship that goes to a Sweetheart who has completed 100 hours of Sweetheart programing and volunteering (a written essay and letters of recommendation are required of all applicants). “They understand how important fundraising is to research and how important research is to providing cures and treatments,” Kathy added. “We also train them how to become good advocates for their own health as well as the health of their family and community.”

The Sweetheart program was established in 1998 by Eileen and Dr. Ricardo Sotomora, a pediatric cardiologist for Baptist Health. The couple’s daughter, Charlotte “Charli” Sotomora, is a former Central Arkansas Sweetheart. Several former Central Arkansas Sweethearts have extended their work beyond high school as outspoken advocates for the Association. The Sotomora Service Award will be presented to the Sweetheart who has completed the most volunteer hours.

Londyn Morris, Kaitlyn Carmical, Mary Moody, Leslie Wallace, Kaitlyn Lutgen, Sophia France, Emily Ketter, Alexandra Sebree

Reagan Foley, Athena Rammos, Ava Hicks, Madison McCarroll, Abigail Gaba, Faith Chi

Ava Faulkner, Devyn Bunting, Lynley McCollum, Charlotte Rader, Dylan Moore, Alexandria Frazier, Olivia Adams

Ruby Davis, Eden Moody, Phoebe Nolan, Margaret McCain, Miriam Marlow, Chloe Kordsmeier, Sophia Smith

Haven Roberts, Annie Burkhead, Caroline Anderson, Mary Dees, Vivian Allmendinger, Charley Rikard

Lauren Flaming, Elizabeth Bynum, Evan Lawhon, Tatum Pinney, Madelyn Spann, Adele Uekman

Not Pictured: Alex George, Emery Smith, Charis Offutt

Inviting Arkansas

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