JONESBORO — Dr. Philip Tew, associate professor of finance and director of the Scarlet to Black financial literacy program at Arkansas State University, has received a $70,000 grant from the Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) for a program titled “Improving the Health and Economic Outcomes for Arkansas Children.”
The award, good for a two-year grant period, will provide funding for an afterschool platform in partnership with the Jonesboro Public Schools and the Brookland Public Schools, as well as multiple summer camps throughout northeast Arkansas beginning in summer 2022.
The afterschool program will focus on students in grades three through six and work with them throughout the academic year to develop their own “healthy food cart.” The students will learn the skills needed to run a successful small business including financial budgeting, marketing, logo design, website design, and project management, as well as the basics needed to have a healthy lifestyle with topics such as nutrition, food portions, and wholesome food preparation.
The majority of the funding from the grant will go toward the employment of A-State students who will perform the educational activities each week with the students. Hailey Hawkins, a senior management major from Cabot, will be the senior financial wellness intern who will oversee the other five students employed by grant. She will work with Tew on planning and organizing the weekly topics and activities for the students.
“As many know, the Delta region of northeast Arkansas has one of the highest levels of poverty in the country,” said Tew. “Seven counties in northeast Arkansas are classified as having ‘persistent poverty’ which means at least 20 percent of the population has been living in poverty for at least 30 years.
“Those living in poverty are more likely to have chronic diseases, communicable illnesses, and premature mortality. We are hoping to show an impact with our work with younger people to begin to improve their economic and health so that we can grow this program to expand throughout northeast Arkansas.”
ABI is part of collaborative research effort of five institutions through agricultural and medical research to improve the health of Arkansans. It was created as a result of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000. The five-member campuses include A-State, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
For more information about the program, reach out to Tew at ptew@AState.edu.