LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A local program in Little Rock is focused on helping kids who are at risk or low income.
For 32 years, Cleveland R. Ellis, S.T.O.P Incorporated Founder and CEO has been over a youth program based in Little Rock with the goal to help children who may need a little bit more.
“To be an instrument and a tool for students with low self-esteem, and those students who made low grades and from low-income families,” Ellis said.
STOP, stands for Students That Officially Patrol. They just wrapped up another program with kids and you can see their growth in the form of a garden.
The garden is one of the programs included for students, they learn how to plant, landscaping and everything else that goes hand and hand with gardening. The latest products are from the last 8 weeks and the children can take home the food to their families and cook.
The initiative also has tutors and teachers for kids and they focus on reading and math but there are more skillsets they teach them in order to become a productive citizen in the community, a role model and they hope they will pay it forward.
Ellis said they focus on students who are at risk.
“We have the family and we know how to service the children from which they come from,” Ellis said.
The program seems needed now more than before, as the capital city sees a rise in gun violence and young children being victims.
They helps kids from 1st grade to 8th grade. Ellis said he’s heard different stories from the kids about what they go through.
“From drugs, from shooting, just everyday things that’s happening in the world that these kids share with me,” Ellis said.
That’s why they focus on giving kids opportunities to find their talents and raise their self esteem, one plant at a time.
“We do all we can here, it takes a village,” Ellis said. “But it takes the entire village to save the children.”
Their summer program starts June 16th. There are other programs offered, including choir and they also have case management— where they focus on behavioral patterns and changing them.
Ellis said they just a few months ago, they started a work student program with students where they can go out and do landscaping work in the community and get paid.
To learn more — you can contact 501-486-5032 or visit their Facebook page HERE.