UALR's Delta EOC making headlines in partnership with Sobriety Living Center residents

A Brighter Future
January 31, 2018
By Special to Seark Today

Original Source:


William Mullenax, a resident at the Sobriety Living Center in Pine Bluff, has new hope. He is working toward something that can never be taken away from him: a college education.

Mullenax recently enrolled in college for the first time with the help of Delta Educational Opportunity Center and is attending classes at Southeast Arkansas College.

“I am proud of myself,” Mullenax said. “I wish my grandparents, who raised me, were here to see me going to school clean and sober.”

His new goals include giving back to his community. After completing an Associates of Arts in accounting at Southeast Arkansas College, he wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting and join the staff at Sobriety Living to help others, like him.

Mullenax is one of six Sobriety Living residents served by Delta EOC that is attending college this year.

“Delta EOC assisted me with the entire financial aid process, school enrollment and testing,” Mullenax said.

The Delta Educational Opportunity Center is an outreach program hosted by the University of Arkansas-Little Rock that serves Southeast Arkansas. As a federal TRIO program, it provides college access assistance to first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. The program has maintained a partnership with Sobriety Living Center since May 2016. Each month, Keisha Smith, a Delta EOC counselor, visits the center to assist participants like Mullenax with financial aid, college admission applications, and financial literacy.

“When I first met William he had goals but was unsure of how to accomplish them,” Smith said. “After sitting down and developing a plan by exploring local colleges and programs, his goals started to become realities. It was awesome to be a part of William’s transition. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.”

Jennifer Stewart, the facility coordinator at Sobriety Living Center, said the Sobriety Living Center is very thankful for the partnership with Delta EOC. “We pride ourselves on being a family, and have truly gained new family members through this partnership,” she said. “They have come into our facility and provided hope to the men. They let them know obtaining a higher education is not impossible.”

The Sobriety Living Center was founded in April of 2008 by Myra and Kent Rinehart as a licensed, transitional living center through Arkansas Community Corrections (ACC) that assists men coming out of prison in battling their various addictions. SLC staff teach facility residents how to live a productive lifestyle in order to eliminate the potential for recidivism. Sobriety Living focuses on prevention, intervention, family reunification, and career and after care to individuals with substance abuse problems. It is a non-profit program relying solely on self-pay residents and transitional funding.

 Delta Educational Opportunity Center Counselors

Delta Educational Opportunity Center Counselors

Delta EOC is a proud partner of Sobriety Living Center.

For more information on the Delta EOC program call 501-907-2470 or visit

Updates for AASAP Membership

Hi AASAP membership!

Thank you for all who donated $5 yesterday in honor of Valentine’s Fair Share! If you didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because you believe it is just another attempt for corporate America to line the pockets of big florists and chocolatiers, well guess what! You can still donate today since it’s back to being a normal day! ;-) Click here to donate!

I just wanted to remind you that Hall of Fame nominees are being accepted. TOMORROW is the deadline to submit your nominee. We would love if every program submitted one exceptional student! You do not need to attend TRIO day to nominate someone.

The deadline to register for TRIO day in Batesville is next Friday, February 24.

Click here to access the Hall of Fame nomination form and/or register for TRIO day!

Spring Leadership information will be released soon! Look for an email in the upcoming week!

As always, we continue to collect APR from programs to utilize for advocacy materials on the Hill next month. We are getting down to the wire. PLEASE submit those to me as soon as possible! If you want to sort through data we still need volunteers!

Thanks again for all you do, serving students and our organization!

Michelle Ciesielski

AASAP Membership Updates

Good evening, membership,

First, with great sadness I would like to ask the membership please keep Donna Mooney and her family in their thoughts and prayers. Donna’s son, Stephen Green, passed away and was laid to rest on Saturday. A child who precedes his parents in death is devastating. This news makes everyone's hearts heavy. I know the TRIO family is reaching out to Donna and her family with love and support during this difficult time. Please send condolences to 7909 Trophy Circle, Pine Bluff AR 71603.

TRIO Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville! The theme is “Be a Superhero for TRIO!” Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite superhero shirt or costume. The day will include the Coins for College Scholarship opportunity, Purse Project – a community service project, a special welcome gift for participants, Hall of Fame recognition, lunch, and campus tours of UACCB and Lyon college. Registration is $25/participant. The deadline to register is Friday, February 24. To register for the event please click here. If you have any questions about TRIO Day please contact Dorianne Dias at or 870-612-2140. For questions about registration, please contact Jeanette Youngblood, AASAP Past-President, at or 870-307-7263.

Hall of Fame nominations are now being accepted! Even if you are unable to participate in TRIO Day, we encourage your program to nominate one participant to be included in the Arkansas TRIO Hall of Fame. All nominees (whether in attendance or not) will be recognized. Please click here to visit the TRIO Day event on our website and access the nomination form. When completed, submit to Beka Sharp at

There is a position opening at SAU for a Tutor Coordinator. To access this, please click here. Feel free to forward this opportunity to anyone who may be interested.

Please continue to submit your APR for advocacy publications when we go to Policy next month! So far we have had a decent response, but nowhere near enough. We will begin compiling the information this week. I really hope everyone can be involved in this and we can be the fanciest state on the Hill with our eye-catching, data-driven supplemental materials. Please email me at and I will see your data is included in the pool.

If there are any announcements you would like to include in the next update, please let myself or your AASAP representative Carol Gilley know. Her email is

Thank you all, once again, for everything you do. Since becoming president, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your feedback and people stepping up to help out. This organization is truly strong when everyone chips in. If you haven’t gotten involved yet, feel free to reach out and we will gladly help you find your home in this organization. You don’t have to wait for a new semester or a new year to jump in.

Until next time,

Michelle Ciesielski

(501) 362-1233

UAPB Upward Bound Director Position

Upward Bound Director (12-Month; Grant Funded) The Upward Bound Program provides fundamental support to program participants in their preparation for college entrance. Serves high school students from low-income families & students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education & enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. Duties: The Upward Bound Director reports to the Dean of the School of Education & directs, plans, implements & coordinates program activities for the Upward Bound program; administers & manages budgets; responsible for making final selection of program participants; responsible for submitting Annual Performance Report to funding agency; maintains program coordination with University administration & faculty, target schools, community organizations; & performs other duties as needed for the efficient operation of the program.

Minimum Qualifications: Master’s degree in education, administration, guidance counseling, college student personnel services, social work, or a related field; a minimum of 3 years of administrative and/or teaching experience; experience in grant writing; direct work experience with low-income & ethnic minority students; experience in program & curriculum development; 3 years of budgetary experience; demonstrate good interpersonal skills, be committed to effective collaboration with colleagues, & exhibit excellent written & oral communication skills.

Salary: Salary is competitive & commensurate with qualification & experience. Qualified individuals must submit a UAPB application for employment, resume, and college/university transcripts, & 3 letters of recommendation to:

Upward Bound Search Committee Human Resources Department University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 1200 N. University Drive Mail Slot #4942 Pine Bluff, AR 71601

“UAPB is and Equal Employment/Affirmative Action Employer and full participation by Women and Minority Groups is encouraged.” E-Verify Employer

Important Information and Upcoming Deadlines

Hello AASAP membership!

The first meeting was held with the new board yesterday. Here are the highlights you need to know.


The board would like to reopen the stipend application for anyone interested in going to COE Policy. Programs do not always cover the cost of attendance, so this stipend is helpful for individuals needing additional funding. The link for the application is below. Applications are due January 31.

< Please click here for stipend application. >

The board would also like to consider taking student alumni. If you have any alumni from your program who are now professionals that could be interested in participating in Policy as an advocate for TRIO programs, please check with them and refer them to us by January 31. An alumni presence is a powerful narrative for our legislators and it would be a fantastic experience for any of our TRIO student alumni.

If you are going to Policy, please let me know. I will be making appointments to talk to legislators and we can split into groups to maximize our time on the Hill. Knowing who is coming ahead of time and assigning them to their district's representative will be more effective for our group.


A vacancy has opened in the AASAP ELI Class of 2017. This is an opportunity for professionals to get involved in the organization and develop their leadership skills. You do not necessarily have to be a new professional to benefit from the ELI. Because AASAP wants to invest in the future leaders of this organization, costs of transportation and meals will be covered. If you are interested in applying for this, please fill out the attached application and submit to by January 31.


Our treasurer position has opened up. Michelle Hardin has served this organization dutifully in this position for more than two years and unfortunately has resigned her post. Michelle has prepared by getting the books in order and ready for a pain-free transition. If you are interested in fulfilling this vacant position, please respond back to me by January 31. The board will appoint someone to this position for the entirety of the 2017 year.


If anyone is interested in serving a smaller role, please let me know and we can put you on a committee! Examples of some committees include membership, budget, public relations, regional and national issues committee, Fair Share, scholarships, and fall conference conference committee. Committees are where the real stuff happens and you can make an impact in the organization. I know there is real, and sometimes untapped talent in our state. I hope we can put it to use!

A new administration in our government always brings uncertainty and there is no better time to get more involved in our cause. The AASAP membership continues to be a leader for TRIO professionals across the country. We are currently the third highest state in personal contributions (only behind California and Kansas). Thank you so much for what you continue to do for our students, our organization, and our cause. I feel privileged to serve as your president this year and am always open to any ideas or feedback you may have. I look forward to working with you all!


Michelle Ciesielski

(501) 362-1233

ATU Upward Bound Video

The Arkansas Tech University Upward Bound programs collaborated with their Marketing & Communications office to create a video to share with their congressmen and representatives. According to Jill Hendricks, Director of Upward Bound Projects, "I’m very proud of our current students and alum for sharing the impact of the program."

Congressman Westerman Visits HSU TRIO Programs

November 10, 2016 - Mr. Bruce Westerman, U.S. Representative for Arkansas's 4th Congressional District visited the Henderson State University campus in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Mr. Westerman was greeted by Dr. Glendell Jones, President, Henderson State University, Dr. Lewis Shepherd, Vice President for Student and External Affairs, and Mrs. Kathy Muse, TRiO Director. Mr. Westerman began his visit by talking with TRiO students representing Student Support Services, McNair Scholars and Veterans Upward Bound along with program staff. Each student shared their personal history, academic major, and the services provided by TRiO that have contributed to their college success. SPC. Kevin Maxey, Veterans Upward Bound, shared the fact that he is presently not in school because he will be deploying to Africa next month.

Mr. Westerman also toured the Disability Resource Center hosted by Student Support Services Disability Director Mrs. Beverly Quillin. The Congressman was provided demonstrations on adaptive equipment used to assist students with learning and physical disabilities. He also visited with two students who were working on a class project and receiving tutoring.

Mr. Westerman visited the Educational Opportunity Center hosted by Mrs. Lou May, the Educational Talent Search program hosted by Mrs. Robin Chastain and the Veterans Upward Bound program hosted by Ms. Shawna McKenzie and several veterans.

  Veterans Upward Bound (L to R): &nbsp;  SPC Kevin Maxey, &nbsp;2LT Jermaine Thurston, SPC. D’Anntionnette Wester,&nbsp;  Lee Hunter, and Jeremy Brents

Veterans Upward Bound (L to R):  SPC Kevin Maxey,  2LT Jermaine Thurston, SPC. D’Anntionnette Wester, Lee Hunter, and Jeremy Brents

 Student Support Services, McNair, and Veterans Upward Bound (L to R): &nbsp;&nbsp;SPC. Kevin Maxey, 2LT Jermaine Thurston, &nbsp;SPC D’Anntionnette, Sierra Stormes, Raul Arce, and Tanner Oglesby&nbsp;

Student Support Services, McNair, and Veterans Upward Bound (L to R):   SPC. Kevin Maxey, 2LT Jermaine Thurston,  SPC D’Anntionnette, Sierra Stormes, Raul Arce, and Tanner Oglesby 

 Congressman Westerman and Beverly Quillin, SSS Resource Center Director

Congressman Westerman and Beverly Quillin, SSS Resource Center Director

 Congressman Westerman and Matthew Chappa

Congressman Westerman and Matthew Chappa

Thank You!


On behalf of the Board, I want to publicly acknowledge and thank our President, Jeanette Youngblood, for her service to the Association which has reached above and beyond any anticipated requirements! Please know that our oversight in showing our appreciation at the conference was a demonstration of our humanity in delegating tasks of a vacant President-Elect position and in no way a reflection of the amount of gratitude, love, and respect we have for her. Jeanette serves this Board and AASAP with heart, drive, and passion, and we are all the better because of it.

Jeanette has inspired each of us in different ways exercising her leadership roles with kindness, warmth, and humor. Her commitment to developing professionals in TRIO is evidenced in everything she does, and we have been blessed as recipients of that investment. Please join us in demonstrating our sincerest thanks to her by commenting below or emailing her your own words of appreciation. (Maybe we should skip a phone call for now since she's knee-deep in grant-writing?)

It has been an honor serving you alongside Jeanette, and we look forward to continuing to serve in 2017 whether on the incoming Board or in the committee work we will assume. We are proud of the work of TRIO programs and proud to have a strong state association in Arkansas. Thank you for your part in making us all "TRIO Strong."


Michelle Hardin

AASAP Treasurer

On Behalf of the 2016 AASAP Board: Shola McFadden-Kittrell, Shawna McKenzie, Billy Ray Huggins, Kathy Fincher, Josue Ramirez, Jennifer Harrington,

Arkansas Exceeds Fair Share Goal

Thanks to all of our TRIO professionals, Arkansas finished the 2016 COE Fair Share year at 104% and SWASAP finished the year at 110%! Thank you to to each of the programs that pushed their membership renewals through the payment process at their institutions and to everyone who dug into their own pockets to make a personal contribution.

The breakdown for Arkansas's 2016 Fair Share Contributions:
Inst. Membership: $81,218.00
Personal Contributions: $8,749.16
Total Contributions: $89,967.16

Also based on information I received from COE, 7 of the 10 regions reached their Fair Share goal along with 43 States and 1 Territory.

Again, thank you AASAP members for pushing Arkansas's Fair Share to 104% for 2016!!

Jeanette Youngblood
AASAP President

Position Opening at UA Fayetteville

Talent Search Programs at the University of Arkansas is seeking applications for Administrative Support Supervisor (30 hours per week). The successful candidate will assist with the organization and administration of daily office operations; train and evaluate student support staff; maintain student files, personnel records, and budget/inventory records in compliance with institutional, federal, and U.S. Department of Education regulations; make staff/student travel arrangements; process travel requests, leave, purchases, and reimbursements using the institution's BASIS system; oversee hourly/work study payroll; conduct student tracking; and assist directors and search chairs with advertising and the coordination of personnel searches. The position is governed by state and federal laws and agency/institutional policy.

The University of Arkansas is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The University welcomes applications without regard to age, race, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, religion, marital or parental status, protected veteran status, military service, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity. Persons must have proof of legal authority to work in the United States on the first day of employment. All applicant information is subject to public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

To apply, visit:

Personal Giving Challenge

Earlier today Mary Kate Snow, SWASAP President and AASAP Member, made the following challenge to AASAP members via our Arkansas TRIO Facebook page.

Good morning to my AASAP family and greetings from Washington and COE. At my resource development meeting I learned that we have not meet our goal in personal giving. I am challenging everyone in AASAP to a spontaneous day of giving. Please donate 10 dollars today in honor of one of your graduates. Please comment to commit that you will give your ten dollars and give a special shoutout to honor your student.

Each year Arkansas is asked to meet our Fair Share in giving to COE and as a state we have not yet met our goal for the current year ending in June. So please consider making a personal contribution today to COE. It is very easy and can be done online at:

It took less than a minute for me to make my own personal contribution and I ask that you please consider taking a few minutes to make your online contribution as well! And, if you made your contribution in honor of a special student or group of students, give them a shout-out on the Arkansas TRIO Facebook page.

Jeanette Youngblood
AASAP President

President's Update for May 2016

I hope that each of you have had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and fantastic sunshine that May has ushered in. I do have a few updates that I want to share with you.

AASAP Scholarships

The AASAP Scholarship competition is now open. As with last year, all AASAP scholarships will be using a common application this year. The application deadline is June 15th. Additional scholarship info can be found at:


The nomination form is now available for the Arkansas TRIO Achiever competition. I encourage you to nominate one of your outstanding TRIO Alums for this award. The deadline to submit TRIO Achiever nominations is July 15th. Nomination details can be found at:

2016 Fall Conference

The 2016 Fall Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Little Rock from Sunday, October 2nd to Tuesday, October 4th. Conference planning is ongoing and more information will be coming soon!

Thank Yous

A big thank you to the Southern Arkansas University TRIO Programs for hosting an amazing Spring Leadership conference in April and providing a great day of professional development. And another big thank you to the University of Central Arkansas Upward Bound Program for hosting our TRIO Day in March and providing a great event for students to learn and network.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Jeanette Youngblood
AASAP President

REGISTER NOW for Spring Leadership 2016

Southern Arkansas University will be hosting Spring Leadership on Friday, April 22nd on their campus in Magnolia, AR. Their entire TRIO team has been working hard to create a great day of professional development.

Registration for this event is currently open.

Visit the AASAP Spring Leadership page for more information and to register.

Arkansas TRIO Day 2016

“National TRiO Day” is a day of celebration, reflection, and action around increased access to higher education for disadvantaged students. It was celebrated in Arkansas on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at University of Central Arkansas in Conway. TRiO programs from 14 of the state’s colleges and universities gathered for the event: Arkansas Northeastern College, Arkansas State University, Arkansas State University – Beebe, Arkansas State University – Heber Springs, College of the Ouachitas, East Arkansas Community College, Henderson State University, Lyon College, Ouachita Baptist University, Pulaski Technical College, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, and University of Central Arkansas.

UCA students volunteering in “The Big Event” for service back to the community helped with the day by providing directions, welcoming visitors, working at the registration tables, entertaining the crowd, and performing the “Roll Call” to acknowledge those institutions and programs participating in the day. With over 200 of the proud high school and college students being served by the state’s TRiO programs in attendance, the day began with the reading of the official Proclamation of TRiO Day from Governor Asa Hutchinson. AASAP President Jeanette Youngblood and SWASAP President Mary Kate Snow gave their remarks of encouragement and inspiration before the keynote speaker addressed the crowd.

  Volunteers from “The Big Event” get the crowd dancing.

Volunteers from “The Big Event” get the crowd dancing.

  Mary Kate Snow, SWASAP President (the regional association for TRiO programs), gives her remarks.

Mary Kate Snow, SWASAP President (the regional association for TRiO programs), gives her remarks.

The keynote speaker was Kelsey Lavigne, a TRiO alum from Lyon College’s APPLE Project Upward Bound who is now a Career Counselor at University of Arkansas, who spoke on the day’s theme, “The time is now!” Always a highlight of the day, Cody McMichael, Director of Upward Bound at Arkansas State University – Heber Springs, conducted the Arkansas’ TRiO Hall of Fame Presentation. One student from each program is nominated each year as a student who embodies the spirit of TRiO. Those students who were present received certificates for their hard work and accomplishments and in appreciation of their representation of the effectiveness of TRiO programs.

 Kelsey Lavigne

Kelsey Lavigne

  Arkansas TRiO Hall of Fame Students

Arkansas TRiO Hall of Fame Students

Another custom of the day is the Coins for College Scholarship. Students who attend are entered into a drawing to win a scholarship on TRiO Day by collecting their coins and donating them to be shared between one high school senior and one college student as a scholarship. Matthew Stringer from Arkansas Northeastern College and Kristal Brooks from Pulaski Technical College were the lucky winners. Michelle Hardin, AASAP Treasurer and Director of Upward Bound at University of Central Arkansas, presented each with a check for $135.50. In keeping with the mantra that “TRiO gives back,” baby items and towels were also collected and donated to the American Red Cross in Faulkner County.

 Matthew Stringer (ANC) and Kristal Brooks (PTC), winners of the Coins for College Scholarships

Matthew Stringer (ANC) and Kristal Brooks (PTC), winners of the Coins for College Scholarships

 A full trunk-load of items on its way to the American Red Cross in Faulkner County

A full trunk-load of items on its way to the American Red Cross in Faulkner County

Arkansas’ TRiO Achiever, Kory Mullens, who is an alum of the Student Support Services program at Arkansas State University – Heber Springs and is now a teacher at Heber Springs Middle School, submitted a video message for the students with advice and encouragement on their journeys into and through post-secondary education. The day concluded with a presentation from UCA Admissions who also conducted campus tours for students. Reactions to the day received through evaluations were overwhelmingly positive! Many thanks to the TRiO Day Committee for their hard work and dedication to the event: Cory Godbolt from Lyon College and Jessie Beal from University of Central Arkansas.

In 1986, Congress was asked by TRiO leaders to proclaim “National TRiO Day” in order to increase awareness and rally support for the programs. It is our hope that on this day, Arkansas continued that mission by communicating the significance of TRiO programs and celebrating the positive impact the programs have made in our state and our respective communities. TRiO works!


Just wanted to remind everyone that today is the deadline for Trio Day! If you have any questions about registration, please contact Michelle Hardin. Her contact information is below.


Register now for the 2016 Arkansas TRIO Day festivities to be held on March 12, 2016 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway! This year's theme is "The Time is Now." The day will include the Coins for College scholarship opportunity, a community service project, a special giveaway for participants, Hall of Fame recognition, campus tours of the UCA campus ... and more! Complete information and details will be sent as the event nears.

All registration will be handled through the link below. Registration fees are $20 per participant (price includes lunch). Copies of the Arkansas TRIO Hall of Fame Booklet can also be pre-ordered for $10.

Deadline for registration is Friday, February 26th. If you have questions about registration, please contact Michelle Hardin, AASAP Treasurer, at or 501-450-5864. If you have questions about Arkansas TRIO, please contact Jeanette Youngblood, AASAP President, at or 870-307-7263.

Josue Ramirez

AASAP Representative

National Park College

101 College Drive

Hot Springs, AR 71913

(501) 672-4558