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Meet Taryn Bewley, A girl with a heart for Arkansas!

Each month, we spotlight an advocate who is leading the fight for healthy communities, free of heart disease and stroke.  As we all prepare to go back-to-school it was only fitting to spotlight one of our fabulous young advocates that will be entering her senior year at Conway High School.  

Taryn Bewley recently joined the American Heart Association to visit with both Congressman French Hill and Senator John Boozman's office to talk about our top policy priorities.  We are so grateful for her passion and commitment to our mission!  Taryn, YOU ROCK!  

Please meet Miss Taryn Bewley...

Hometown: Conway, Arkansas

Favorite Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hobbies: I have been a dancer for 15 years and I enjoy competing in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant organization.

Pets: 9-year-old, long-haired miniature dachshund named Mini

Role Model: Emma Watson

Greatest Achievement: While competing in the Miss America organization and volunteering I have been able to promote my platform, Reading Matters, to improve literacy throughout the state of Arkansas. I have been able to visit over 500 schoolchildren and donate over 700 books. It is amazing to be able to impact lives this way. I have a Facebook page to promote my platform that you can check out HERE.

Someone you would like to have dinner with:  JK Rowling - She overcame such difficult circumstances to become the person she is today, and her books are amazing!! I need to know all about the characters beyond the 8th book!

How do you prepare for back-to-school?
I mentally prepare myself for school starting!! It's a process because I like school, but summer is always so perfect! I also continue to read all summer to keep up those reading and comprehension skills!

Why is advocating for the American Heart Association important to you?
I want a healthier Arkansas! Too many people suffer from heart disease and I want to do all that I can to educate Arkansans on ways they can reduce their risk. I'm determined to help in any way because heart disease affects everyone, directly or indirectly.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with the AHA Advocacy Team in Arkansas please contact Allison Hogue at allison.hogue@heart.org.

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We want to hear from you, Arkansas!

Our volunteers are our eyes and ears in the community. Help the AHA by identifying your friends, coworkers, neighbors, family members, or community members who may have a story to share related to heart disease or stroke.

It’s important for our legislators to hear stories from or about real Arkansans who would benefit from local smoke-free ordinances, increased access to healthy food, and other policies that can make a positive impact in their lives and communities.

Please consider if you or anyone you know can help with the following:

Comprehensive Smoke-Free Workplaces

Second-hand smoke is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report states that there is NO risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and any exposure has an immediate and adverse effect on the cardiovascular system. The good news is that secondhand smoke is a preventable risk factor. While many businesses are already smoke-free, too many bars and restaurants are not. All workers deserve the right to breathe smoke-free air, not just some of them. No worker should have to choose between their health and earning a paycheck.

Healthy Vending 
Arkansas currently has the highest adult obesity rate in the nation- 35.9%. We rank fifth in the nation for cases of diabetes, and seventh in the nation for hypertension. These illnesses and other obesity related diseases cost our state $1.25 billion annually, of which nearly 40% is financed by Medicaid and Medicare. Obesity is not only killing our state; it’s bankrupting us too.

To help us combat this problem, we are supporting the Arkansas Freedom for Healthy Choices Initiative. This effort will bring together local leaders to implement minor policy changes to help address our state’s obesity epidemic. This policy area focuses on ensuring there are healthy food items in vending machines located on public property. With this policy, public employees and visitors to government facilities will have access healthier food choices.

Improving emergency care for heart attack and stroke patients
When a heart attack or stroke occurs, everyone should receive the best care possible – from the time they dial 911 until after they are discharged from the hospital. In Arkansas we need to equip more first response vehicles to diagnose and treat heart/stroke patients, and improve consistency in care by gathering heart/stroke data that can highlight successes and pinpoint areas of need in our state. We support efforts at the legislative level to address these key opportunities for improvement.

We look forward to hearing from you!  Please contact Allison Hogue at Allison.Hogue@heart.org or 501-707-6593.

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Intern with the AHA Advocacy Team in Little Rock!

The American Heart Association is seeking an Advocacy Intern for Fall 2016 to work in our Little Rock office.  Resumes will be accepted until August 31, 2016.  Please find the position description listed below:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

American Heart Association – Little Rock Office

Advocacy Intern Job Description

 Functional Title:  Advocacy Intern

Term of Internship:  Fall 2016 (unpaid)

Location: American Heart Association Little Rock Location- 909 W 2nd Street, Little Rock, AR 72201

Reports to:  Government Relations Director/Grassroots Director/Local Policy Manager/Local Grassroots Manger

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:  Assists in legislative, policy research and grassroots work. Shadow staff serving as liaison between the American Heart Association and governmental / legislative entities and advocates. May plan, assign, and/or supervise the work of volunteers.  Daily work and duties would be done with minimal supervision, with extensive latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment.

Daily tasks would include:

  • Analyzing tracking reports;
  • Monitoring committee hearings (online & in person);
  • Attending meetings;
  • Assisting with tracking news articles in local papers;
  • Attending meetings & press conferences on AHA issues;
  • Conducting and analyzing political research on our policy issues
  • Assist in recruiting volunteers for our You’re The Cure network
  • Assisting with blog and social media content
  • Assisting with Advocating for Heart Days.

Experience and Education

Experience working with federal advocacy, state legislative, or local government activities is preferred but not required.  Volunteer management experience preferred but not required.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the federal and state legislative process, regulatory process and state and local government administration.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Skill in compiling, evaluating, and presenting legislative information, in problem-solving, and in policy analysis and research.
  • Ability to participate in meetings, work in a team environment and interact with all levels of AHA staff, volunteers and public.

 

If interested please send resume to Allison.Hogue@heart.org.

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Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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Hey Arkansas! Let's take the #SuperParkSelfie challenge in July!

Getting as little as 30 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This summer, why not increase your physical activity by taking part in National Park and Recreation Month?

Here’s the latest from the National Recreation and Park Association:

This July, we want you to discover your super powers at your local parks and rec! To see just how SUPER you are, we are challenging you to take a #SuperParkSelfie every week this July. Head out to your nearest park or recreation center and show us how parks and rec super power your life. Let's showcase our local park and recreation areas in Arkansas for the nationwide challenge! 

Each week has a different selfie theme:

  • July 11-17: Selfie doing something healthy!
  • July 18-24: Selfie with your friends and community!
  • July 25-31: Selfie showing your superhero side!

You’ll be able to submit your selfie via this page, Facebook or by sharing the photo on Twitter and Instagram. Check out information on the prizes and how to enter on the contest page here.

When you share your selfie on social media, please use the AHA Arkansas Advocacy hashtag #YoureTheCureAR in addition to #SuperParkSelfie and #SuperJuly.  

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Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Allison Pierce

Please meet our new American Heart Association volunteer leader and Arkansas State Advocacy Committee member, Dr. Allison Pierce.  

Hometown: Dallas, Texas     Current town: Springdale, Arkansas

Favorite movie: Stand By Me
Hobbies: cooking, gardening, home improvement projects, playing with my dogs
Pets: Kizzy (4-year-old blue heeler mix), Red (2-year-old boxer mix), Bill and Pi (2-year-old carpet pythons)

Role model: When in doubt, I look to my mother, who taught me patience, accountability, honesty, kindness, and generosity while making sure I understood that life is precious and to be lived fully every day.

Greatest achievement: I am an aunt to a wonderful four-year-old named Lily, and there is another little one on the way. While this is not necessarily my own achievement, it has brought me more joy than anything else I have experienced, and I have absolutely loved getting to know my younger sister as the beautiful nurturer that she has become. As far as my own achievements, I am looking forward to finishing my psychiatry residency. The path to becoming a physician has required years of focus and commitment, so that day will be quite a milestone.

Two celebrities or historical figures you would want to have dinner with (living or not) and why them? This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many. Maya Angelou comes to mind since her writing has been an inspiration to me for almost my entire life. I hear she could throw a great party, and I would love to talk to her about life, love, politics, and a host of other topics. Slavenka Drakulic is another strong and passionate woman who has inspired me. She endured the oppression of communism and still found joy in life while standing up to her oppressors, often at great risk to herself. She has inspired me in many ways, and I would enjoy hearing some of the more personal stories that don't make it into her writings. If I were hosting a dinner for historical figures or celebrities, it would most certainly be a large group.

Why is advocating with the AHA important to you? Heart disease runs in my family, so it is an issue that hits close to home for me. In my experience as a physician, I have seen the far reaching social, physical, and mental effects of heart disease. It is largely preventable, and advocacy is an integral component in providing education and resources that will empower people to take care of themselves.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Caitlyn Cook, Miss Central Arkansas 2016

Caitlyn is a hands-only CPR presenter and educator for the American Heart Association and American Red Cross; Zumba Instructor at University of Central Arkansas HPER Center; Titleholder in the Miss Arkansas Organization (Miss Central Arkansas 2016)

Name: Caitlyn Cook

Hometown: Conway, Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Spot: Mykonos, Greece

Favorite Movie: Gone With the Wind

Hobbies: Singing, Greek and Middle Eastern dancing, fitness training, instructing Zumba Fitness, and competing in pageants.

Why is advocacy with the AHA important to you?

Having lost friends and family members due to heart related issues, I became inspired to find an organization that aligned with my passion of living a heart healthy life. When finding the American Heart Association, I knew I had found the perfect fit for my advocacy. This discovery led to finding my role within this worthy organization as an ambassador for Hands-Only CPR to save lives. I have presented and educated to over 6,000 students and adults in the past two years. My goal is to impact over 10,000 lives on the importance of being emergency prepared.

To learn more about Hands-Only CPR CLICK HERE.

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Thank You, Central Arkansas Heart Walk Volunteers!


On Saturday, May 14th, advocacy volunteers joined local staff at the Central Arkansas Heart Walk in North Little Rock to recruit new You’re The Cure advocates and talk about SmokeFree Little Rock. Hundreds of new advocates were recruited at the event, thanks to the hard work of our volunteer team.

A special shout-out to Allison Pierce, Emily Brewer, Haven Brock, Lynette Finley and The Coleman Family for going above and beyond to make the day a success!

These volunteers made a huge difference in our fight against heart disease and stroke, and our new advocates will help drive the policy changes we seek in order to build a healthier Arkansas. If you would like to join our volunteer ranks or advocacy network today please CLICK HERE.

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Creating a Healthier Wooster for All

The city of Wooster became the first city in Arkansas since 2008 to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance.  The city council unanimously adopted this ordinance, making all indoor workplaces in the community smoke free.  The measure also applies to e-delivery devices, known as e-cigarettes.  "I'm proud that our community is the first in Faulkner County to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance. As the City of Wooster continues to grow, this ordinance ensures that all of our citizens are protected from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke,” said Wooster Mayor Terry Don Robinson. Congratulations to Wooster, and thanks to all of our You're the Cure advocates who helped make this happen!

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Healty Vending Victory in Springdale: First in Arkansas

Springdale, Arkansas became the first city in the state to enact a vending machine policy endorsed by the American Heart Association. Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse issued an executive order outlining the new guidelines last week. Now, all vending machines on city property will offer a number of healthy items. This move ensures that city employees and visitors to city property and facilities will have access to healthy, nutritious foods.

The City of Springdale press release can be found HERE.

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