Outstanding Volunteer Youth Group: Don R. Roberts Elementary School

Cam Martin, Carl Duncan & Jennifer Apsche

Join the Association of Fundraising Professionals Arkansas Chapter on November 16 at the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon and celebrate the collective compassion and dedication of this year’s honorees – individuals, organizations and businesses that are transforming the lives of all Arkansans.

By Barrett Gay | Photography by Sara Reeves

The students of Don R. Roberts Elementary are a record-breaking bunch. More than 700 students participated in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program earlier this year, generating over $21,000 for the organization’s research, education and community programs — surpassing a decade-long record and establishing a new benchmark in community service for schools in Central Arkansas. Jump Rope for Heart is a national initiative designed to engage kids in their community’s welfare through fundraising, help them develop heart-healthy habits and provide opportunities for students to earn P.E. equipment for their schools.

P.E. TEACHER CARL DUNCAN has been a faculty member since the school welcomed its first students in 2010. As a program leader, he recognizes the difference-making potential in every individual and had no doubt his students would exceed expectations. “Every year, our principal asks how we will top last year, and I say, ‘just name a goal and see what happens. They haven’t disappointed yet,’” Carl explains. “This speaks to my belief in the community that surrounds our school. I have much faith in their philanthropy.”

FELLOW P.E. TEACHER JENNIFER APSCHE appreciates the program’s holistic benefits — providing teachable moments about heart health and inspiring philanthropy in the students. “I have always loved coordinating the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser, it is such a great learning experience for our students. They learn ways to take care of their hearts and how important that aspect of life is for them and others. They also learn the importance of giving to those in need.”

TO CELEBRATE A RECORD-BREAKING ACHIEVEMENT, top student fundraisers had the unprecedented opportunity to create funky new hairdos for their teachers. Touting the top ‘dos were Assistant
Principal Steven Helmick with a shaved head and Coach Carl with a Mohawk. Student Cam Martin thoroughly enjoyed the festivities, saying, “It was fun! I loved getting to shave Mr. Helmick’s head and see my school on the news.”

THE STUDENTS AND PARENTS INSPIRE THE FACULTY, Jennifer notes. “They have such giving hearts, and no matter what the needs are at our school or in the community, there are always families willing to help.” Carl adds, “The more they give, the harder I work. If only more of us had the giving spirit of a child, the world would be a better place.”

“Always work hard and be kind to everyone.” – Jennifer

“Students ‘don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care’ — I try to live by this advice every day at work.” – Carl

“We are so grateful to the Little Rock School District and Don R. Roberts Elementary School for growing the next generation of philanthropists. Those that learn at an early age that their volunteerism can make great differences will continue to do so all through life.” – Executive Director Joyce Taylor, American Heart Association / South West Affiliate

Inviting Arkansas

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