February 2024

Page 1


Christy Bray 20TH CENTURY CLUB


Fellow Arkansans – neighbors, colleagues and friends - are sharing a light of peace, kindness and generosity that makes The Natural State a little brighter. Inviting Arkansas and Methodist Family Health celebrate individuals who illuminate our community with goodness. Nominate someone today for a future feature that SHINES. What began as “Undie Sunday” at the Keo United Methodist Church more than 25 years ago has evolved into the Methodist Family Health Foundation Get up & Give Donation Closet Collection Campaign. This statewide initiative provides underwear and other items to clients of the organization. Through the unwavering support of volunteers like Linda Barnes, Sarah Greubel and Cathy Sing, the Donation Closet continues to improve the welfare of Arkansans. A Methodist since childhood, Linda recognized Methodist Family Health (originally established as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage) as a resource, but it wasn’t until a family friend received counseling that Linda took note. “I witnessed the quality of services and positive impact it had on this child’s life.” As a result, Linda became an ardent ambassador for the organization. Sarah recalls, “We already exercise together and were looking for a way to give back, so Linda suggested volunteering at Methodist Family Health Foundation.” The Donation Closet provides essentials to children and families that are in the care of Methodist Family Health. Individual patrons as well as

grants generate funding for necessities and more including games, activities and comfort items. “We have seen the need and usage of the closet grow,” Linda explains. From blankets on a winter day to diapers and additional clothing, the closet is an invaluable component of the organization’s portfolio of services – especially during times of emergency. The power of community and able volunteers make it possible. “Linda, Cathy, and Sarah are strong forces. These amazing volunteers keep the closet organized and have a pulse on what is needed,” says Methodist Family Health Foundation Grants Manager & Volunteer Coordinator Christy McCreight. As Methodist Family Health clients navigate a journey to wellness, compassion remains paramount. And for these children who are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral and emotional issues – the kindness of strangers illustrates a light in our world. Cathy reflects, “I’m impressed by the dedication and passion of the staff to make life better.” Linda adds, “Building a better community means offering a hand up not a hand out. It’s a blessing for us to help.”

Sponsored by sponsored by Methodist Family Health Foundation | Nominations accepted at Foundation@MethodistFamily.org methodistfamily.org/foundation | #ShareTheLightandSHINE


Miracle Ball


Ice on Ice


20th Century Club Luncheon


Gratitude Gathering


Friends of Children Luncheon


Blue Jeans & Bubbles


American Indian Center of Arkansas Open House

“Stay vigorous and faithful, humble and empathetic. Tell the truth, do your best by others, keep perspective, understand history and context. Stay prudent, stay tough, and stay outraged. But more than anything, don’t forget to do the work.” – Michelle Obama, The Light We Carry


Debutante Luncheon


CareLink at the Table


Champions of Children Luncheon

This advice reflects the essence of civic leadership + responsibility celebrated in the pages of Inviting Arkansas. Each story encourages action and compassion as well as an opportunity to make meaningful contributions throughout our community. 20th Century Club President Christy Bray believes the Angels of Hope Program is a hallmark of the organization. It introduces young women to volunteerism; “service over self ” is the practiced and perfected maxim as the club provides invaluable resources to cancer patients and families. Investments of time, energy and resources cultivate a brighter future for all of us. Melissa Thoma realizes this kind of generosity can transform the cultural landscape of the Capital City. “When we care, we give. We make things happen and we share.” These perspectives align with our values + vision and the power of community. Countless Arkansans care and give with empathy and optimism that together we can be the change we want to see in the world.


Santa Paws


Big Dill Pickleball

Michele Towne, Rebel Flynn Wilson , Kim Meyer-Webb, Heather Buckley



Christy Bray - 20th Century Club


Alejandra Monge - Ronald McDonald House


Josh Peirce – American Heart Association


Melissa & Martin Thoma – ACANSA

LIFE&BEAUTY Kim Meyer-Webb



Michele Towne mtowne@invitingarkansas.com

Caroline Holt Photography Sarah Oden Lori Sparkman Photography KD Reep Photography By Melisa

editor Kim Meyer-Webb kimw@invitingarkansas.com

art director Heather Buckley hbuckley@invitingarkansas.com


Angels of Hope


Fashion - Gifts from Nature

website design Matmon Internet, Inc.

production associate Rebel Flynn Wilson rwilson@invitingarkansas.com


For Advertising Information Contact Michele Towne 501.960.4196 Share Your Event 501.219.1000 events@invitingarkansas.com at least 4 weeks prior

Inviting Arkansas is a registered trademark of Arkamedia,

LLC. Copyright © 2023 Arkamedia, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission of Arkamedia, LLC is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the staff or publisher thereof. Arkamedia, LLC makes no implied or expressed guarantee of the accuracy of the information within this publication.

an arkamedia publication

CYRENE QUIAMCO I moved to the U.S. when I was 8 years old, accompanied by my mom and younger sister. Growing up under the care of a single mom, I witnessed her dedication and hard work; this instilled in me a deep appreciation for opportunities. At a young age, I discovered my passion for art and aspired to become an artist. The prospect of attending college seemed uncertain until I pursued scholarships. I was a part of the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, which included a full scholarship, and was awarded the Windgate Art scholarship and other private scholarships. I felt that UA Little Rock provided all the resources and programs I required, eliminating the need for me to explore or apply to other colleges. The convenience of being close to home and the comprehensive offerings at UA Little Rock made it the ideal choice for my educational journey. My education at UA Little Rock, spanning four distinct art fields - graphic design, painting, deramics and digital graphics - has significantly enriched my professional portfolio, providing me with a versatile skill set applicable to various careers in the art field. This diverse background played a crucial role in securing a job right after graduation as a frontend web designer for a major telecom company. This progression in my art career allowed me to achieve significant milestones, such as early retirement for my mom and the purchase of our dream house in our desired neighborhood - accomplishments made possible by my art’s success and the impact of UA Little Rock education on my professional trajectory.


Thomas & Ginger Blackmon

Marcy & Mark Doderer

James & DeAnn Hunt, Win & Natalie Rockefeller

Alisha Curtis, Stephanie Keet

Susan & Mark Reynolds

Jacob Jones, Cori Keller, Darrow Jones

Kent Hammond, Niles Childress

Bradley & Sarah Beth Hughes

Josh & Hollyann Neal

Mary & Fred Scarborough

Annemarie Dillard Jazic & Ante Jazic

MIRACLE BALL Tiffany and Daniel Robinson welcomed friends and patrons to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for this annual signature event. This evening of Christmas couture transformed the Children’s Hall into a holiday shopping extravaganza. Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by Cypress Social, live and silent auctions with live entertainment by Genine Latrice Perez and Dizzy 7 with special guest Cody Belew. The evening generated more than $1 million for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Tiffany & Daniel Robinson

Christine Phelan, Sharilyn Gasaway

Clarence Childs, Nikki Hite

6 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Amy Allen, Lindsay Doerr

Nicole Winters, David Avery, Cathy Browne

Alyssa & Scott Schuldt

Trellis Square • 10720 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, AR • 501.225.5068 @CecilsFineJewelry • cecilsfinejewelry.com • /cecilsfinejewelry

Cathy Caver, Lexi Blade

Jeanne Mir, Katie Hamby, Audrey Smith

Chris & Nicole Casick

Will & Gracen Warren

Stephanie Hamilton, Stephanie Jones, Becca Ashlock, Nyasia Harris

Vickie Gilliam, Neal Gladner

Todd & Kathy Marchese

ICE ON ICE Hosted by the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce at the Hamp Williams Building and presented by Lauray’s – The Diamond Center, this annual holiday celebration touted an exclusive opportunity to win one of four half-carat diamonds. Guests enjoyed appetizers, entertainment and a Diamond in the Ice signature cocktail. A portion of the proceeds from the evening’s festivities benefit the Project HOPE Food Bank. Project HOPE Food Bank provides healthy and affordable food options to 45 agencies – including food pantries and feeding programs - in West Central Arkansas.

Dena Gjumsi Lami & Erion Lami

Gigi White, Justin West

Michelle Troutman, Ralf Bailes, Mary Bradley

Ed & Donna Sanders

8 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Shonda Adams, Holli Faulknor

Emily Dunn, Jenny Quimby, Dylan Patton

Jennifer & Jared Hemund

Joshua Odom, Kyle Taylor

Adeline Brezae, Amanda Zabel, Gabriell Jones

Josh & Angel Jones


Kathryn Russell, Mandy White

A routine mammogram can become a life-saving screening when it detects cancer in its early stages. At CARTI, advanced 3D technology provides the clearest possible picture of a patient’s breast health – paired with trusted expertise from renowned physicians. Ask for CARTI for your annual mammogram.

Natika & Eric Porter


501.537.MAMO | SCHEDULE A MAMMOGRAM TODAY invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 9



Skyler, we are so proud of your commitment to the Angels of Hope Program and your service to patients at the lodge. It has been inspiring to see your compassion and generous heart to serve others. We love you!

Ellen, we are beyond proud of you!



Angels of Hope

Love, Dad & Mom

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Angels of Hope

Love, Daddy, Mom and William

Photography by Photography by Melisa


AVA KATE MCCOLLUM We are so proud of your dedication to serve and love others. Follow your dreams wherever you go. God has big plans for you. Always remember and never forget how much you are loved. Love, Mom & Dad Photography by Photography by Melisa

10 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com


AVA, HAYDEN & KATE Ava, Hayden and Kate, you rock! Your Lexicon family is proud of you and excited about your futures.

Photography by Photography by Melisa


ANNA KATE CALDWELL Anna Kate, we are so proud of you! You have become such an amazing young woman! We are excited to see what your future holds! Love, Dad and Jacqueline

Photography by Photography by Melisa

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 11

12 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com


FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS, the 20th Century Club has helped families through cancer journeys providing “hope away from home” at the lodge. The organization was established to promote the war effort and assist the Red Cross with necessary volunteers. As cancer-related diagnoses + research increased and Central Arkansas became renowned for cancer treatment centers, the club evolved to meet the needs of the community. The lodge opened in April 2011 to accommodate more patients and their families with no-cost housing. The 20th Century Club members and the Angels of Hope offer camaraderie + fellowship in addition to the necessary amenities. Each year the Angels of Hope Program introduces young women to the transformative power of community service. A mother of two daughters, Christy Bray believes the program is a hallmark of the 20th Century Club and realizes the opportunity it provides. “It introduces young ladies into the unknown world of battling cancer and can be a life-changing experience.” As 20th Century Club President, Christy will welcome guests to the Hope Ball where the Angels of Hope are celebrated for an unwavering commitment to the organization. The Hope Ball guarantees an evening that reflects the hope + healing of the 20th Century Club and the essence of the club’s mission. Chairmen Shanti Halter and Tonya Franzetti kept a finite focus on this throughout the planning process and determined an escape to a coastal paradise, infused with great food and cocktails along with the warmth of the 20th

Century Club membership. Tonya elaborates, “We ‘hope’ to illustrate the gift of life with vibrant, bright flowers.” Christy notes that Shanti, a California native, has an eye for the casually chic appeal of this year’s gala. Shanti adds, “The colors are a reminder of nature. The brightness of flowers brings people joy and happiness.” This is the kind of energy that the Angels of Hope bring to the lodge – activities include sharing meals, playing games and visiting with cancer patients. Christy explains that the lodge serves many residents from outside of Arkansas. “The Angels and our members share love and care with patients that are often far away from home. They come from all over the United States to stay at the lodge.” She believes compassion is critical during difficult times and recalls advice from her grandfather. “Enjoy the people who are with you and know there is an adventure around the corner.” The highlight of the Hope Ball is the formal presentation of the Angels of Hope. Celebrating more than a decade of success, the program fosters civic leadership and a spirit of volunteerism among high school juniors. Doug Hollings and daughter Helen will be honored with the Hope Award and club member Cindy McNeely will be recognized with the Distinguished Service Award along with Christy. Proceeds support the operating costs of the lodge and the organization’s sustainability. “More than 900 people will gather to support this mission of the 20th Century Club and that fills my heart.”

“Enjoy the people who are with you and know there is an adventure around the corner.”

HOPE BALL Saturday, February 24 | Statehouse Convention Center |hopeawayfromhome.org/the-hope-ball/


Congratulations MAGGIE O’DEA


Taylor, keep chasing your dreams! We are so proud of your commitment and dedication to all you do!

Angels of Hope

Love,Dad, Mom, Luke, Ben, Nathan, Andy, Nonnie, Mimi, Pawpaw

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Congrats Maggie! We love you to pieces and couldn’t be prouder.

Angels of Hope

XO, Mom, Dad and Hayden

Photography by Photography by Melisa



Zaleigha, on this day and every day, we pray that God continues to give you a heart and spirit for serving others. We are proud of the dedication that you showed this year to the Angels of Hope Program and for earning the Service Above Self Award. We pray that you continue to appreciate your blessings and that you always seek to be a blessing to others. Love Dad, Mom, and Zenobia Photography by Photography by Melisa

14 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com





Ava, you’re a bright star and you continue to excel and impress. We love you and can’t wait to see where your future takes you.

Hayden, you are mighty and strong and we couldn’t be more proud of you. You inspire and impress everyone you come in contact with.

Jessica and Dad

Jessica and Dad

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Photography by Photography by Melisa invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 15

Lauren Halter, Taylor Stansbery, Mary Kate Finch, Adison Wayne, Margaret O’Dea

Angels of Hope devote time and energy to the 20th Century Club and its mission while cultivating a spirit of volunteerism that lasts a lifetime. In addition, these high school juniors share fellowship and camaraderie with residents of the Lodge, which provides no-cost housing to cancer patients receiving treatment at area medical centers. The Angels of Hope dedicate service hours to the 20th Century Club - working alongside members serving meals, playing games and visiting with patients. 20th Century Club Executive Director Angie Taylor Lasiter explains, “For our guests at the Lodge, “hope” is the key word. We help them get to the point, if not already, where they can “hope” for their future. The Angels of Hope bring a consistent smile, helpful hand, laughter and encouragement to our patients and caregivers; these young ladies are integral in the patient’s healing.”

16 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Mary Claire Lasseter, Jordan Jacuzzi, Sofia Davis, Chloe Jacuzzi, Halaina Spruell

Ava Sharp, Kylie Byrne, Haven Eiler, Savannah Young, Jensyn Robertson

Sarah Wallace Moore, Margaret Catherine White, Jaylen Hagood, Skyler James, Ella Grace Horton, Micah Franks

Ann Marie Nguyen, Conley Brock, Kate Weatherly, Anna Kate Caldwell, Zaleigha Kelley 18 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Ava Kate McCollum, Hayden Schueck, Ava Schueck, Holly Wilcox, Ellen Miller


ANNA KATE CALDWELL Anna Kate, your heart for service is an inspiration to all who know you. Keep shining bright! Love, Mom & Paul

Photography by Photography by Melisa

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 19



We’ve always known you were an angel, now everyone else does! So proud of you!

Angels of Hope

Love, Mom & Dad, Tucker, Baker & Victoria

Photography by Photography by Melisa




Your heart for others is one of the things we love most about you! It has been a joy to watch you serve. We are so proud of you! Keep letting your light shine!

Angels of Hope

We love you so much, Daddy, Mom, and Evan

Photography by Photography by Melisa




Mary Kate, we are so proud of all your accomplishments and your heart for serving others. Continue to be a light in this world!

Congratulations, Jaylen! We are so proud of you!

Angels of Hope

Love, Mom, Dad and Emme

Photography by Photography by Melisa

20 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Love, Mom & Terry





Savannah, we want you to know how incredibly proud we are of the remarkable dedication and work you put into volunteering. It serves as a testament to the amazing person you are becoming. We are very proud of you. Keep up the fantastic work and remember that your compassion and drive make the world a better place with all our love Mom and Dad.

Kate, we can’t tell you how happy we are to have you in our lives. Your hard work and dedication mean so much to so many. Big love!

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Lori and Dad

Photography by Photography by Melisa invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 21



We are so proud of all your accomplishments. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3

Angels of Hope

Love, Mom, Dad, Joshua & Tina

Photography by Photography by Melisa


Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. –Matthew 5:16. We love you, Kylie!

Haven, we are so proud of you for sharing your big heart with others! Keep shining your light!

Love, Mom, Dad, Darby & Holly

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa

22 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com


Love, Dad, Mom, and Adelyn.

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa




Choose Kind, Always! We are proud of the young woman you have become!

We are proud of you and love you so much!

Love, Mom, Dad, Isabella & Jackson

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Congratulations KYLIE BYRNE




Micah, we are so proud of you and your commitment to the Angels of Hope Program and your dedication to serving others. We love you so much! Love, Mom, Dad, Madison, & Bailey

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa

Mom, Nana & Pop

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa



We are so proud of you and your dedication to serve others! We love you, Mom & Dad

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa



You are not the darkness you endured. You are the light that refused to surrender. John Mark Green

We are so proud of you! “Let your Light Shine” Matthew 5:16

Love, Mom, Dad, William & Jonathan

MethodistFamily.org 501-803-3388 Info@MethodistFamily.org

Angels of Hope

Photography by Photography by Melisa

20TH CENTURY CLUB LUNCHEON Members and friends of the 20th Century Club gathered for the annual luncheon and fashion show at Chenal Country Club. The show featured the latest styles from formal cocktail attire to casual dress offered by Unveiled and J. McLaughlin. The 20th Century Club provides a home away from home for cancer patients receiving treatment in Central Arkansas. Shannon McNulty, Douglas Turner

Teresa Clow, Dawn Scott

Janie Kehler, DeVonda Byrd, Angie Taylor Lasiter, Paige Miller

Morgan Butler Beyer, Heather Robinson Shanti Halter, Emily Young, Tonya Franzetti

Heather Abed, Dianne Ross

LaShawn Kelley, Debbie Teague, Cindy McNeely invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 23

GRATITUDE GATHERING Friends and supporters of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas gathered at the Country Club of Little Rock to celebrate the season. The afternoon honored the impactful service the “Over the Hill Gang,” a group of volunteers, as well as the City of North Little Rock. Guests also enjoyed testimonials from Habitat for Humanity homebuyers. Proceeds support the organization’s continued mission fulfillment work. Tad Phillips, Jan Alman

Morgan Benton, Toccara Pearson

Drew Herget, Shannon & Kelly Fleming

AJ Thomas, Ateca Foreman

Amy Fields, Terry Hartwick, Stacia Chastain

Jon & Susan Williams

Tom Bartole, Denise Goforth, Loren Bartole


A FUNdraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas


Attendees will receive a grilled brat or burger, two free beer or soft drink tickets, one specialty event cocktail ticket, and happy hour drink specials throughout the event. Enjoy live music while you cheer on your favorite BAGGO team or leisurely play a game on your own.

Tickets $50 / BAGGO Team Entry $150

10 Rusty Tractor Lane, Little Rock PRESENTED BY



24 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com 2024_baggo_ad_inviting_arkansas_v3.indd 1

1/15/24 4:01 PM

Jeff Erwin, Cara Schaefer

James M "Butch" Warren & Joyce Williams Warren

Sammy Mac, Rick Fleetwood, Charles Evans, Chad Rodgers

Nancy & Craig Wood

Eric Wailes, Jay Barth, Xochitl Delgado Solorzano

Lorenzo & Nettie Epps

Dana Durst Lawrence, Heather Larkin, Hannah Vogler, Ashley Coldiron

Michael Hollomon, Patrick Wilson, Kelly Syer

FRIENDS OF CHILDREN LUNCHEON Hosted at the Double Tree Hotel, 400 friends and supporters of Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families celebrated the civic leadership of Jay Barth, Christie Erwin and Senator Bill Lewellen for a commitment to improving the lives of children and families throughout Arkansas. Proceeds of more than $55,000 will support the continued mission fulfillment work of AACF – creating social change and making Arkansas a better state to live, work and raise families. Christie Erwin, Fran Carter

Charlotte Williams, Anthony Lewellen, Annette Lewellen, Morgan Walton, Ernestene Lewellen Qualls, Chastity Collins, Adrienne Lewellen


Featured Chef: Chef James Hale of Allsopp & Chapple

The Venue at Westwind, Westwind, North Little Rock For tickets, visit aradvocates.org/events Benefiting

Early bird tickets $45 $10 kids 5-17, free for children under 5 Patron tickets $75 SPONSORSHIPS START AT $300

CONTACT US 501-371-9678 | www.aradvocates.org | Union Station | 1400 W Markham, Ste 306 | Little Rock, AR 72201 invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 25


A NATIVE OF EL SALVADOR, Alejandra Monge moved to Springdale, Arkansas, in 2009. She was 16 weeks pregnant and experiencing a lot of pain. She remembers the moment during the exploratory ultrasound that changed her life. They were describing everything …they got to the heart, they were very quiet. “That’s when I knew there was something wrong with him.” Azariel was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. “My whole world just fell apart. Because of his heart condition, I had to come down here to Little Rock to deliver him.” Azariel was promptly admitted to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Cardiovascular Unit. “I didn’t even see Azariel after he was born. They took him right away; I didn’t even know what my baby looked like after he was born.” He was only four days old for the first heart surgery and stayed in the hospital for the first four months of his life. A friend suggested the Ronald McDonald House as a viable option for accommodations and support during this difficult time. Alejandra remembers, “I’m like, what’s a Ronald McDonald House? They said, it helps families that are in need that have kids in the hospital.” She leaned into Alejandra & Azariel Monge the idea and quickly realized the staff and location as valuable resources. “They were always there for me. If I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, they were there for me.” After the initial heart surgery and four months at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Azariel went home with his family for three months, only to return to the hospital for several more months. Alejandra stayed at Ronald McDonald

House, adjacent to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for 213 nights. “If I had not been able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, I honestly really do not know what I would have done because that would have been an extra stress for me. I didn’t want to stay far away from him. Just being here at the Ronald McDonald House is home to us.” The Ronald McDonald House boasts 32,000 square feet and features 32 family-suites as well as a spacious kitchen, dining room, playroom, and outdoor play spaces. Throughout its tenure of four decades, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas & North Louisiana has served more than 48,000 families. With a finite focus on keeping families together and near a critically ill child in one of Little Rock’s hospitals, the House offers these amenities free to families, regardless of ability to pay. Each year, Chocolate Fantasy Ball generates critical support for this continued mission fulfillment work. This decadent evening of delights is at full capacity. However, Share A Night is an additional opportunity for friends and patrons to make a meaningful contribution that funds a night of stay for a family like Azariel’s. With matching commitments from CDCM, The Morgan Foundation, $100 will provide two nights– rather than just one night. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas & North Louisiana CEO Janell Mason adds, “Everyone can be a part of this initiative to ease the burden for families during a most difficult time. We are endlessly grateful to donors helping to provide a comfortable place for a family to rest and be able to solely focus on their child’s care.”




Alex Hudson, Zoe Calkins

Sara Hurst, Sarah Oden

Brittney McAdoo, Carol Mason, Miki Vrai

Shivani Patel, Trey Hankins

Candice Hickman, David Avery, Emily Piechocki

Jerri Lynn VanDyke, Tom Crome

Jarrod Johnson, Kimberly Cyr Calhoun & Jay Calhoun

Eddie, Edwin, Sara Hinkson

BLUE JEANS & BUBBLES Presented by Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Chairman Lindsey Thompson welcomed friends of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas to Argenta Plaza for Blue Jeans & Bubbles. The Western-inspired evening offered bubbly beverages as well as fabulous food with live entertainment by Big Poppa Bubbles, DJ AJ and Juicebox Jake & the Lunchables. The event generated $36,000 for families at the Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAMS. Since 1981, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Arkansas has provided a home away from home for families of children with critical illness. Alison Melson, Lindsey Thompson

Mary Claire Dowden, Jane Madden

Donna Csunyo, Gerald Thomas

Hannah Baker, Ashley Springer with Darth Vader, Theodore

Amy Hester, Emily Davis

Lily Ryles, Randy Grice, Zac Nicholson, Megan Wells, Marjorie Rogers

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 27

XOXO for CPR By KD REEP | Photography by SARAH ODEN

“I can remember taking punt returns, but that’s all until I woke up in the hospital room.” “We ran out on the field, and we saw Josh laying there,” remembers Kelli Pierce, Josh’s mom. “He was this purplish, grayish, blue color and they were working on him. They didn’t want us to see him, but we saw him and we knew that it was bad.” Josh Pierce, a freshman outside linebacker for Watson Chapel Junior High, collapsed on the football field from sudden cardiac arrest during a game against the Monticello Middle School Billies. He was 14 years old. “I just fell over,” Josh recalls. “It wasn’t until I was at Arkansas Children’s Hospital that I knew anything went on.” Josh, who now works for Bank OZK in deposit operations in Ozark, AR, was saved because of the quick actions of nurses attending the game, his coach and a teammate. According to Kelli, CPR and the automatic external defibrillator (AED) available in the Watson Chapel Field House, brought Josh back to life and helped sustain him until he arrived at the hospital. “An ambulance took him to Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, and after talking with the medical team there, we all decided he should go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock,” Josh was airlifted to the hospital and admitted for a week. “It was a long journey for Josh because he was very active and couldn’t be to that extent of activity any longer.” Josh adds, “I was in denial for quite a while. I remember going for a jog, and because my heart rate was so elevated, it triggered my defibrillator. It felt like I was kicked by a mule right between my shoulder blades.” According to the American Heart Association – Central Arkansas,

23,000 children experience cardiac arrest each year. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency life-saving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest, and children as young as 9 years old can learn hands-only CPR. “I fully believe God placed those four nurses at that game, and CPR is what saved his life,” Kelli explains. “We found out later the AED was used to shock him twice on the field.” As a result of these procedures, the Pierce family purchased two AED units for the girls’ softball team and the boys’ baseball team at Watson Chapel to travel with in case of emergency. Josh is engaged to be married later this year and encourages everyone to learn hands-only CPR and become familiar with the AED locations - simple preparations to save a life. Kelli elaborates, “We’ve learned from the American Heart Association that 70 percent of Americans feel helpless to act during a cardiac event, and less than half of people receive CPR from bystanders before professional help arrives.” She notes there is only a 10 percent survival rate if a cardiac event happens outside of the hospital. The American Heart Association has launched the Nation of Lifesavers Campaign as an initiative to double the national survival rate from 10 percent to 20 percent by 2030 and train at least one member of every household. “Anyone can learn hands-only CPR, which can be used on teens and adults, at any time, free of charge. It saved my son’s life, and it can save someone you love, too.”

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION – CENTRAL ARKANSAS cpr.heart.org/en/cpr-courses-and-kits/hands-only-cpr

28 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Bold Hearts™

The American Heart Association Centennial celebrates 100 years of progress and a vision for a brighter future for all. With bold hearts, the American Heart Association’s volunteers, supporters, and staff forge ahead into the organization’s second century. The Association will continue to fuel science and innovation, fund lifesaving research, stand for the rights of patients and caregivers, work with communities, and transcend the way we live, work and play. This relentless pursuit will continue until heart disease and stroke no longer exist.

70% OF CARDIAC ARRESTS happen out of the hospital – CPR doubles & triples survival rate.


of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help they need before professional help arrives.

Be the Difference for someone you love. If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent, or a friend. The American Heart Association has saved and improved

lives for nearly 100 years through scientific research, work in communities, advocacy for healthy public policies and Learn how to save a life! WeAnd are we’re currently nation started. of bystanders that lack the much more. justagetting With Bold knowledge to act and save a life. Lack of CPR training and resources is a health Hearts™ and the support of our donors and volunteers, equity issue. The American Heart Association wants to double the survival rate we’re building toward our second lifesaving century as a from 10% to 20% by 2030. Learn hands-only CPR and join a Nation of Lifesavers! relentless force for equitable health for all. For more information on how to learn hands-only CPR click on the QR code below.

Arkansas 2022-23 ArkansasImpact Impact 2022-23

161,144 TRAINED in CPR

$1.2 MILLION FUNDED in research grants

13 BLOOD PRESSURE PROGRAMS for 45,000 Arkansas residents in rural areas

137,632 STUDENTS in Kids Heart Challenge



Life’s a STAGE Photography by SARAH ODEN | Shot on Location at ARKANSAS REPERTORY THEATRE

“Art makes us human. When we fail to make room for creativity and artistic expression, we are in effect devolving as a society.” More than an annual arts extravaganza, ACANSA – a Quapaw word thought to mean “Southern place” – fosters creative collaboration across the state. With a finite focus of strengthening these partnerships among constituents in the arts community, patrons like Melissa and Martin Thoma share a commitment to this vision. For their unwavering support, the couple will be celebrated with the ACANSA Charlotte Gadberry Award next month. Melissa can’t remember her life without art. “I have amazing memories of my family singing together at Grandmother Pantie’s home accompanied by my brother on guitar. We were all required to perform at some level.” As a youngster, Melissa was in the church choir at Trinity United Methodist Church in Fayetteville. “I was invited to sing a simple solo as Mother Mary in the Christmas program.” Melissa notes this was a defining experience for her. “I was eight years old and had a moment of complete presence that comes from sharing your voice and emotions with others; it was self-expression and art is self-expression.” She continues that devotion at First United Methodist Church and has performed with Arkansas Opera Theatre and Praeclara throughout the years. This dynamic duo attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville studying journalism, marketing and public relations. Melissa recalls meeting Martin on that first day. “This intense, wild-haired young man zoomed up and stopped right in front of me.” It was written in the stars; the couple married before graduation. Melissa established the family’s marketing firm in 1988 and Martin soon joined her. “And we’ve been in business together ever since.” Thoma, a brand leadership agency, helps clients leverage the power of a unique brand to create positive

movement in the marketplace. For Melissa and Martin, business blends seamlessly into civic leadership + philanthropy. The firm donates services to various nonprofit organizations and the couple is personally engaged in the arts community. Melissa believes the generosity in Central Arkansas can transform the cultural landscape of the Capital City. “When we care, we give. We make things happen and we share.” She acknowledges that Charlotte Gadberry and ACANSA cultivate compelling experiences and opportunities that bring people together in shared conversations. “ACANSA Arts Festival of the South is a vehicle for expression, contemplation and community making – for both the public and the artists.” Established in 2014, hundreds of volunteers worked to bring the inaugural ACANSA Arts Festival to life. It continues to inspire + educate and create an undeniable sense of camaraderie. Proceeds from the award celebration fund the ACANSA Spring Break Arts Camps, which provide free arts camps to students across a variety of artistic disciplines. Melissa adds, “Children are the new generation of art makers and entrepreneurs.” This year’s experience - A Night at the Cabaret - features New York artist Traci Bair, Melissa’s niece, along with local talent. It guarantees to be an evening of unparalleled entertainment. “Traci explores the theme of love in all its forms … I can’t wait.” Melissa and Martin realize nurturing a more dynamic and engaging community is critical to the vitality of our state and that art is essential. Melissa reflects, “My family gave me the value of connecting through music, the tradition of song passing and keeping a culture alive through artistic expression. ACANSA aims for the same values.”

Wednesday, March 13 | Argenta Community Theater | acansa.org 30 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com




“A NIGHT AT THE CABARET ” Monieca West, Erin Fehr



ACANSA’s Seventh Annual Charlotte Gadberry Award recognizes Melissa and Martin Thoma for their decades of leadership in the arts.

Shawna Anderson, Cassie Cooper

Dan, Cory & Tyson Read

AMERICAN INDIAN CENTER OF ARKANSAS OPEN HOUSE In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, the American Indian Center of Arkansas hosted an annual open house as an educational opportunity for fellow Arkansans. Guests enjoyed light bites and refreshments as well as performances by special guests. Established in 1977, AICA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the Native community of Arkansas while celebrating the rich culture of Indigenous Peoples.

Solita Johnson, Kathy Marchant, Hadley Davis,

Live entertainment includes Traci Bair in her New York City Cabaret Act “Let’s Fall In Love,” ZaZa, and top local singers and dancers as the Argenta Community Theater lights up.




MARCH 13, 2024 6PM COCKTAILS 6:30PM DINNER + SHOW tickets at acansa.org



Steven Morales, Don Kinney

Corinna Ortiz, Bob Rogers, Sabrina Coley


Learn More at



invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 31

DEBUTANTE LUNCHEON The Country Club of Little Rock hosted this debutante luncheon as a preview to the formal debut. The young women, all college students, were joined by family and friends for a festive afternoon of light bites and libations. Noted as one of the premier clubs of the South, the Country Club of Little Rock is a fullservice club, committed to providing members with the amenities and service. Heather Carter, Avery Carter

Lisa Moriconi, Maggie Burgess

Bonnie Blackmon, Kate Gosnell, Grace Blackmon, Becky Gosnell, Ginger Blackmon

32 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Libby Raffaelli, Laura Landreaux

Susan Reynolds, Sophie Reynolds, Janet Jones

Rylie Birdwell, Sarah Meyer

Ellen, Angie, Evan & Conley Golden

gifts from nature Photography by SARAH ODEN

JONES & SON DIAMOND & BR IDAL F INE JEWELRY 501.224.3433 invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 33

C EC IL’S F INE JEWELRY 501.225.5068

34 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

SI S SY ’S LO G C A BI N 50 1 .6 6 3 . 0 0 6 6

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 35

CARELINK AT THE TABLE Friends and patrons of CareLink gathered at the CareLink Community Kitchen for this special 10-year celebration of the organization’s Meals on Wheels initiative. Guests enjoyed an intimate and unique dinner created by The Root Café as well as insight into the Wheels on Meals Program. Proceeds support the services that CareLink provides to aging Arkansans as a resource for living more independently later in life. Fred & Sharhonda Love, David Zakrzewski

Shelia & David Porter, Judy & Kelley Johnson

Alfred Williams &Elaine Eubank

Vahan ®, Alwand Vahan ®, Moiré Pattern ® are Regd. Trademarks | Designs © Alwand Vahan Jewelry Ltd. | Made in the USA from domestic and imported materials

Jerry & Sherri Damerow

Todd Price, Carol Scruggs, Corey Brown

Sarah & Matt Epperson

36 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 Rodney Parham, Little Rock, AR (501) 224-3433 | jonesandson.com

CHAMPIONS OF CHILDREN LUNCHEON Friends and supporters of The CALL gathered at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion for the Champions for Children Luncheon. The afternoon celebrated Alan and Jessica Bubbus for their dedication to The CALL and children + youth in foster care. Additional highlights included testimonials from Makayla McAllister, a former foster youth turned advocate, as well as Ava Ellis, a single foster parent, who shared her foster care journey. The CALL and families serving the organization have cared for 30,810 children and youth in Arkansas; this includes 3,035 foster and adoptive homes.

Jill Bobo, Christen Butler

Lindsey Catlett, Jamie Barker

Jeanne Gartman, Jessica & Alan Bubbus, Alicia Sheppard

Brian & Jennifer Maune, David Stogsdill John Rutledge, Kristi Powal, Heather Busch, Love Inman, Scott Dews

Mischa Martin, Kristi Putnam, Tiffany Wright

John Michael Russ, Jessica Boswell, Blake Fletcher, Sherri Harvill


TASTING EVENT & ONLINE SILENT AUCTION THURSDAY, APRIL 4 • 6:30 P.M. ANGEL ONE TRANSPORT HANGAR Enjoy small bites and libations from many of the best restaurants in town. Event Sponsorships & Tickets Available ACHalacarte.com

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 37 a la Carte Inviting Ad_final.indd 1

1/12/2024 10:16:58 AM

SANTA PAWS The Friends of the Animal Village hosted this annual event at Loft 1023. The evening featured delicious hors d’oeuvres, libations as well as a silent auction. Proceeds support the Little Rock Animal Village; In addition to its traditional shelter facility, the Animal Village boasts a learning center to promote animal welfare and safety, a fully staffed veterinary clinic and an adoption center. Santa, Rainey Leathers

Jacquelyn & Kevin Yarbrough

Cheryl & Judge Chip Welch, Brad Phelps, David Curran

38 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

Charles Caruthers Jr, Nicole Harris

Lisa Null, Tim Taylor, Wesley Null

Susan Thomas, Joanne Colebank, Kaitlin Barger

Kelsey & Cody Null

BIG DILL PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENT With nearly 200 registrations for matches on the new courts at North Little Rock Burns Park, pickleball enthusiasts enjoyed a weekend of friendly competition. Presented by Arvest Bank, proceeds of $20,000 will support the programs and ministry of Divine Mercy Health Center to bridge health equity gaps throughout Arkansas. Oakley Wilbur, John Towne, Lori Wilbur Lori & Jeff Carfagno

Cindy Alexander, Staci Grimes

Cyril Lemerle, Chris Herring, Charles Brooks

Danny Dixon, Grant Downer

Charles Evans, Larry Stebbins, Rick Fleetwood

Simon Sanghera, Mike Bernardo

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 39

y a D s ’ e n i t GIFT GUIDE Valen Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography

MILLER MARSH Clean Beauty Products Available at select stores 501.472.9208 | millermarshcosmetics.com

BARBARA JEAN Christian Louboutin 7811 Cantrell Rd | 501.227.10054 barbarajean.com

RHEA DRUG STORE Candlelight Dinner for Two 2801 Kavanaugh Blvd | 501.663.4131 rheadrugstore.com

BOX TURTLE These Sweet Pillows Say It All! 2616 Kavanaugh Blvd| 501.661.1167 shopboxturtle.com

O’ LOONEY’S WINE & LIQUOR Cheers to Love 3 Rahling Cir | 501.821.4669 olooneys.com

TIPTON HURST Love Blooms 1801 N Grant St| 501.666.3333 tiptonhurst.com

WORDSWORTH BOOKS Blind Date with a Book 5920 R St | 501.663.9198 wordsworthbookstore.com

POWDER & SMOKE Bond No. 9 New York Forever Eau de Parfum 11525 Cantrell Rd | 501.225.5353 powderandsmoke.com

ESSE PURSE MUSEUM Handbags, Accessories & More 1510 Main St | 501.916.9022 essepursemuseum.com

40 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

items that dazzle + delight

B.BARNETT Beauty Essentials 8201 Cantrell Rd | 501.223.2514 bbarnett.com

BEYOND COTTON Lightweight Travel Scarves 11220 N Rodney Parham Rd | 501.221.9195 beyondcotton.com

LOST FORTY Seek, Find, Enjoy 501 Byrd St | 501.319.7275 merch.lost40brewing.com

ARKANSAS MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Handmade Polish Boxes & Kimya Joyas Artisan Jewelry 501 E 9th St | 501.372.4000 arkmfa.org

CORNERSTONE PHARMACY AND COMPOUNDING James Hayes Gifts & More 4220 N Rodney Parham Rd| 501.223.2224 compoundingatcornerstone.com

Girl Scout Cookie Season is Here! www.GirlScoutsDiamonds.org/FindCookies invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 41

The #1 dealer in Arkansas! s.

Family owned over 40 yr

Take it to the lake!


Urological Cancer

Kidney Stones

Women’s Pelvic Health

Men’s Sexual Health

Women’s Sexual Health

Prostate Health

LOCATIONS Little Rock 1300 Centerview Dr Little Rock, AR 72211 501.219.8900 M-F 7:30AM-5PM

m Come Visit our Showroo for RV Show Prices!



5 Medical Park Dr Benton, AR 72015 501.776.3288 M-F 8AM-4:30PM

3500 SE Macy Rd Bentonville, AR 72712 479.268.6800 M-F 8AM-5PM


El Dorado

1375 Superior Dr Conway, AR 72032 501.327.5850 M-F 8AM-5PM

619 N Newton Ave El Dorado, AR 71730 870.862.5439 M-F 8AM-5PM

Men’s Health

White Hall

801 S Bowman Rd Little Rock, AR 72211 501.246.3423 M-F 8AM-5PM

North Little Rock 4200 Stockton Dr North Little Rock, AR 72117 501.945.2121 M-F 8AM-4:30PM




The #1 dealer in Arkansas! www.rvcity.biz 18925 I-30, Benton, AR 72015 • (800) 5RV-CITY • (501) 315-4300

Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM • Saturday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM 42 | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | invitingarkansas.com

2504 W Main St Russellville, AR 72801 479.968.2600 M-F 8AM-5PM

7211 Dollarway Rd White Hall, AR 71602 870.293.4030 M-F 7:30AM-4PM

Stuttgart 1703 N Buerkle St Stuttgart, AR 72160 870.293.4030 M-F 8AM-5PM

SCHEDULE TODAY 877.321.8452 855.407.3924 www.arkansasurology.com


in Little Rock


Love builds a happy home! We’ll help you find the house.

2911 Kavanaugh Blvd Little Rock 830 Front St Conway



2807 Kavanaugh Blvd • 11525 Cantrell Rd • 501.663.6000

CLIFFDALE COTTAGE handcrafted in Arkansas

4220 N. Rodney Parham Rd., Ste.102 501.859.8973 sknatf ranksderm.com






ALL STYLES & SIZES TO CHOOSE FROM! For more information call Liz at 501.472.4246



4910 Kavanaugh Blvd Suite B | vagaro.com/kevinnealgann


Little Rock • Bentonville • Gentry LoriWeeksArt.com / 501-350-4069

invitingarkansas.com | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4 | 43


caring for you at home Vernon “Toby” Richards came to the UAMS Emergency Department with severe pain and nausea from kidney stones and a kidney infection. He was anticipating a hospital stay like in the past, but this time he took advantage of a new program – UAMS Health Comprehensive Care at Home. He was able to return to the comfort of his home with everything required to treat his kidney stones and infection. He and his wife appreciated being able to get the care he needed with in-person nurse visits and video visits with his doctor without all the disruption and anxiety of a hospital stay.

Vernon “Toby” and Gene Richards

“This was the most pleasant ‘hospitalization’ we’ve ever encountered. We’ve used words like excellent, outstanding and extraordinary to describe our UAMS Comprehensive Care at Home experience, but they just don’t cover it.” – Toby and Gene Richards, Benton

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.