BCD, Inc. Breaks Ground on EmPowerment Center

Meet Our New Community Wellness Director


"I believe in giving back to the community, and this is what I do," said Dr. Al assad Rasheed, Better Community Development's new Community Wellness Director.

For the past 10 years, what he's done is educate the community about chronic diseases including diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart and lung disease. Now, Dr. Rasheed has partnered with BCD to develop the Community Wellness Program, which will be a coalition of health, faith-based and grassroots organizations. First though, he plans to conduct a community wellness study where he'll divide Little Rock into sectors to determine the resources that are available to residents, such as walking trails, fitness centers, and grocery stores. BCD Community Wellness Director Al Assad Rasheed

“Once we identify the resources in that community, if a community does not have a place where they can get fresh fruit and veggies, then that’s something that we can talk to the mayor about,” said Dr. Rasheed.

He believes that a lack of resources and education are the root causes of chronic disease, especially in poor and minority communities. Dr. Rasheed also blames a long tradition of poor eating habits.

“This is the way that we grew up. I grew up like that," he said. "My mother makes some of the best fried chicken, but you know now I’ll only eat one serving of fried food a month because I know it’s unhealthy for me.”

If you're interested in becoming a Community Wellness partner, contact Dr. Rasheed at arasheed@bcdinc.org or 501-552-2945.


BCD Partners with Philander Smith for Internship Program


BCD has teamed up with Philander Smith College to offer the Religious Life Service Learning Internship. The internship, which takes place in a non-profit or religious setting, helps students to determine their vocation in the Church.

Philander Smith Service Learning Interns
From l to r: Deneetra Williams, Zaquera Ridges and Davne McCleary

Interns also participate in three workshops led by the Religious Life staff, and are appointed an advisor who helps them use the internship to explore questions of value, faith, meaning and vocation.


Play Safe Hosts Parenting Workshop


Play Safe parenting workshop

On October 6th at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center, Play Safe sponsored its first Parenting Workshop entitled “How to Talk With Your Kids About Sex”. The workshop, presented by Karen Swinton, a sexual health educator and Play Safe facilitator, focused on informing and equipping parents with communication and practical skills they can use to help them talk to their kids. Parents at the event shared their stories on having “the talk” and the challenges that come with raising a teenager in a world that glamorizes sex. Parents left the workshop with a packet filled with tips and information that will assist and empower them to feel comfortable and confident when talking to their kids.

Danna Parker, the parent of a pre-teen, said, “It was one of the best workshops I have ever attended, very informative and eye opening. With the new language and catch phrases teenagers are using, parents need to stay informed.” Parker also praised the presenter and stated, “I will definitely attend another one and it was well worth the time.”

Overall, the parenting workshop was a success and organizers are dicussing possibly hosting another workshop in the near future. For more information about the Play Safe program and the parenting workshop, please contact Program Coordinator Rhonda Robinson at Rhonda.Robinson@hotmail.com.


BCD Welcomes New AmeriCorp VISTA

HeaderAmeriCorp VISTA Songhai Nelson

"I can say this has been the best job I've ever had," said Songhai Nelson with a smile. She's talking about her job as BCD's newest AmeriCorp VISTA.

VISTAs, or Volunteers in Service to America, commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and more.

“It’s one of the things that I’ve always wanted to do.  I’ve always wanted to work in community service,” said Nelson. Her duties include working as a communications and marketing specialist, helping to get the word out about BCD and its programs.