Excel by Eight in Union County
The E8 coalition in Union County, led by the SHARE Foundation and United Way, identified four priority areas in alignment with their organizational goals and the Excel by Eight resource grid.
Priorities include child care availability, mental health, parent and family resources, and affordable housing. In 2023, the steering committee will approve goals, guide needs assessments, and review and evaluate strategies that are locally appropriate, feasible, and impactful for children ages 0-8 and their families.
Located on southern state border
Major industries include oil and gas and chemicals
Home to Murphy Arts District, an arts and entertainment district in downtown El Dorado
Largest county in Arkansas, in terms of square miles
E8 Core Team
Alexis Alexander, United Way of Union County
Gloria Billings, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services
Debbie Watts, SHARE Foundation
Pam Blake, Families and Children Together (F.A.C.T.), Inc.
Becky Dixon, Smackover-Norphlet School District
Karen Hicks, The CALL in Arkansas
Heidi Klappenbach, Family Connects
Kathy Love, Hannah Pregnancy Resource Center
Ellen Lowe, Junction City School District
Debbie McAdams, El Dorado School District
Kaitlyn Rigdon, Union County Chamber of Commerce
Tequila Smith, Families and Children Together (F.A.C.T.), Inc.
Kimberly Thomas, Strong-Huttig School District
Read more about E8 Communities
Horatio School District, public libraries partnering to provide free summer meals to children in southwest Arkansas
Excel by Eight’s Sevier County Steering Committee and the Horatio School District are partnering with No Kid Hungry to offer free summer meals to children under the age of 18.
Excel by Eight hosted its semiannual Learning Community at the end of April, bringing together more than 50 people from its six communities to share network connections, celebrate accomplishments, and discuss resources that can move their local community development plans forward and help children thrive.
Preschools in Independence County have adopted innovative technology to support early brain development. LENA – short for Language ENvironment Analysis – is a professional development opportunity for early childhood educators that uses cloud-based software and a small, wearable device – often referred to as a “talk pedometer” – to measure and increase conversational turns that happen between a child and an adult caregiver.