Eleven Arkansans will be honored at the 41st Annual Arkansas Community Service Awards to be held Friday, April 20, at Embassy Suites in Little Rock.
Since 1978, the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Office of Communications and Community Engagement, the Office of the Governor, and KARK-TV have recognized individuals and companies that serve others in extraordinary ways. These special Arkansans are honored for their volunteer work with the Community Service Awards, which includes an annual ceremony with the Governor televised by KARK-TV.
This year’s recipients are Annie Abrams of Little Rock, Distinguished Citizen; Ashley Morris of Springdale, Youth Humanitarian; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives and PerfectVision Manufacturing, Corporate Humanitarians; Dale Pekar of Little Rock, National Service Honoree; Clint Baker of Fayetteville; Sandy Gillespie of Blytheville; Steve Hoffmann of Little Rock; Corrigan Revels of Magnolia/Little Rock; Emmanuel Wade of Marianna/Little Rock; and Morris Williams of Little Rock. The event is sponsored by KARK-TV, the Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism.
When Corrigan Revels enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2011, he didn’t imagine that one of the main crowds he would run with would be made up of children.
The graduate of Magnolia High School decided to sign up for UALR’s African American Male Initiative, a program geared toward retention and success of students through advising, skills training, and mentor pairing. Revels didn’t quite understand his mentor’s enthusiasm, but he was happy to be along for the ride. One day his mentor had him assist with a turkey giveaway in conjunction with Children International, a nonprofit sponsored by UALR that is focused on fighting poverty. That day, Revels caught the community service bug.
“What service did for me was bring to light how much I enjoyed giving myself up for someone else,” Revels said. “It really opened my eyes to how much potential I have to impact others.”
He continued volunteering at Children International and, over the course of his college career, he ended up tutoring children in the after-school program, chaperoning teen events, facilitating workshops, and taught stepping to students both at Children International and local elementary schools.
“There’s something special about Corrigan being an African American male who’s succeeded in school and accomplished so many goals,” said Stephanie Jones, volunteer coordinator at Children International. “I think that speaks volumes and gives our kids, especially young males, something to try to achieve.”
Jones nominated Revels for an Arkansas Community Service award, and he was selected as a 2018 honoree for his commitment to helping children.
According to some of the students at Children International, Corrigan Revels’ main impactful quality is his reliability and constant presence.
“Some people think having fun is not a service, but there are different ways you can give back,” Revels said. “In order for things to get better for anything that’s going on in the world today, we have to get back to our future.”
He is also passionate about helping children break the cycles that can keep them from reaching their potential, and knows firsthand what kind of impact that can have. Revels is the first in his family to graduate college. He didn’t stop there; Revels went on to earn a Master’s degree from UALR. He now works for Pulaski Tech as a high school career counselor.
Revels is keenly aware that the children and youth he serves are always watching what he does just as much as what he says. Luckily for them, he models leadership, patience, and determination.
“I fell down plenty of times,” he said. “But if they see you stop because of failure, then the failure that they’re probably already going through, they’re going to give up, too. So we can never give up.”
Corrigan Revels is the son of Cynthia Carter of Waldo and Charles Revels of Magnolia. He is the grandson of Lue Ellen Carter, the late Robert Carter, and Mr. and Mrs. Roy Revels.
The awards ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook at 6 p.m. April 20. For more information, email volunteerAR@dhs.arkansas.gov or call 501-682-7540.