LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation proves to be more than just a business that produces power for Arkansans. AECC is also doing its part to help reduce violence in Central Arkansas by taking part in service projects.
“We do hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer work each year,” Rob Roedel, AECC spokesperson, said.
One of AECC’s core principles is to have “concern for the community,” according to Roedel. Because of that goal, the cooperatives allows its employees time off during their workdays to volunteer. Employees volunteer with several organizations, like Future Farmers of America, the Arkansas Foodbank, and AR Kids Read.
Jennifer Bagwell recently started volunteering at Little Rock School District’s Baseline Academy. She said she loves that AECC allows her to take time during her work day to read with children.
“I was very nervous at first to do it. I’m kind of an introvert and kind of shy, but you’ll warm up to the kids very fast and they warm up to you and you’ll have a lot of fun together,” Bagwell said.
AECC recognizes that spending just one hour reading with a child can make a huge impact.
“Studies have been shown that if people don’t know how to read, it causes frustration, which leads to crime, which leads to bad choices in life simply because they don’t feel as if they’re level with everyone else,” Roedel said.
AECC also hosts an Arkansas Youth Tour each year, where kids from across the state get an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. It gives the kids a chance to explore life outside of their own communities and maybe even spark interest in one day running for public office.
“Our goal, if we can reduce crime and violence in all the communities, then it also increases the quality of life in those communities,” Roedel said.