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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | June 15, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912, once said, "The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers." (From the book, "Beautifully Said: Quotes by Remarkable Women and Girls Designed to Make You Think.")

Holding that thought, we open today's column with a "Thumbs-up" to the Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic, which is celebrating 25 years of service to the community.

Under the visionary leadership of founder Dr. John Wayne Smith, the clinic opened its doors with a mission of helping persons "who could not afford health care or had no insurance" and has remained committed to "improving life for those who are underserved and under-resourced." Today, staff, medical associates, supporters, and volunteers, are continuing the mission -- now emphasizing three areas of human need: charitable health care, advocacy, and poverty disruption programs.

CCMC will mark its 25th anniversary with a June 23 banquet at 6 p.m. in the First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 2350 Central Ave., presented by CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is providing a $25,000 matching gift grant for the milestone event.

We also give a "Thumbs-up" to the Hot Springs School District for its free summer assistance programs via the Trojan Eats Food Truck and the Trojan Reads Book Bus.

Children 18 and younger may pick up free fresh, grab-and-go lunch meals on weekdays through July 22. The Trojan Reads Book Bus will run weekly routes every Thursday through July 21.

Kudos also to the district's service provider, Chartwell, for the meal preps and to the Kamo's Kids Foundation for helping Garland County charitable projects such as book buses.

And a tip of the hat to the library, media specialists, and volunteers involved in these "giving back" programs.

By the same token, another "Thumbs-up" goes out to Arkansas Learning Through the Arts and its recent three-day stint at St. John's Catholic School where students discovered the creative aspects of theater, dance, poetry, and songwriting.

Craig Welle, executive director of Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, pointed out that this was the second year the nonprofit had brought artisans to St John's. Joining Welle on-site was Matt Boyce, Arts In Education program manager with Arkansas Heritage.

Welle and the school's teachers agreed that the program engages students and also has a literacy focus.

Guest instructors were Lanie Carlson, theater director; Chana Caylor, songwriter; Kathleen Marleneanu, dancer; and Kai Coggin, poet.

Speaking of learning and leadership, here is a "Thumbs-up" to first-year National Park College student Tyranna Lindsey, who recently was named the Arkansas Community Colleges Academic All-Star for her academic and service achievements.

As reported by Brandon Smith in The Sentinel-Record, Lindsey, a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School and an Associate of Arts major, received the honor at NPC's May 14 graduation ceremony at Bank OZK Arena. The ACC Academic All-Star program awards scholarships to two-year college students in recognition of their ability to balance studies and campus activities. Lindsey serves as the Student Government Association president and is co-captain of the NPC cheer team.

She plans on continuing her college career at the University of Central Arkansas and pursuing a psychology degree.

Long-heralded as a tourism mecca, the Resort City merits a "Thumbs-up" for playing a key role in the growth of that industry in Arkansas.

Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, recently told members of Hot Springs National Park Rotary Club that this popular visitor destination "has served a critical role in the initial growth of the hospitality and travel industry," noting, too, that "Arkansas tourism is only behind agriculture as the largest industry in the state."

Many thanks to the new and enduring tourism-related businesses and organizations for staying the course during the COVID-19 pandemic and welcoming guests to this scenic and entertaining place.

The Thumbs Column appears in The Sentinel-Record the first and third Wednesday of each month. The newspaper welcomes readers' comments and suggestions, which should be submitted in writing with a telephone number and home address for verification and contact purposes. This information is kept confidential.

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