Arkansas employing homeless to clean up trash: 'I'm giving back and making money'

12 News Now

Little Rock, Arkansas has found a unique way of dealing with litter around the city that's not only creating a cleaner community but also helping out the homeless.

In April 2019, the city began a six-month pilot program called Bridge to Work, paying homeless people $9.25 an hour – $2 more than the federal minimum wage – to collect trash off the streets. But it was so successful, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. recently extended through September 2020.

Canvas Community Church runs the program, employing eight people a day to pick up trash, clear weeds, and perform other cleaning tasks in exchange for cash and a meal, according to 12 News Now.

RELATED: Three young siblings started a candle company to pay for video games. Now they're giving back to help the homeless.


"We're super excited about what has gone on, and we hope to be able to keep the momentum going," Paul Atkins, an associate pastor at Canvas Community Church, said, according to the news station.

The program not only offers the homeless a paycheck, but also provides them access to mental and physical health services, as well as job interviews and, even temporary housing for some.

"We want to work with them on their next step," Atkins said. "There are a lot of barriers that our people experience to go from homelessness and panhandling to full-time work. There's a lot of steps in between."

As of September 2019, 380 people had joined the work crews, with some coming back multiple times. The group worked 1,821 hours, cleaned 130 sites, and collected 2,056 bags of trash within the first six months.

RELATED: This city might have discovered how to end homelessness. And it's sharing the secret.

"It's positive. I'm giving back and making money, setting an example for my son," Harond Goodlow Jr., a participant in the program, told12 News Now.

To get involved, contact Canvas Community Church.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Jada Sayles/Twitter

Jada Sayles got both a newborn baby and her college degree.

You know what they say about the best laid plans? Well, it's true. And no one knows that better than Jada Sayles. On May 15, Sayles was all set to graduate from Dillard University, a historically Black university in New Orleans. Around 4:30 a.m., she realized that her plans were about to change in a big way. Instead of getting ready for her graduation, she was in labor and being admitted to the hospital.

"I thought I was gonna walk across the stage to get my degree, instead I got my baby," Sayles tweeted, along with a series of photos. "My sweet face decided to make his way on MY big day (now his). Shoutout to my university for still bringing my graduation and degree to me."

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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