About Us

OUR STORY

Our mission: Enhancing Lives and Empowering Futures in Benton County.
Our vision: We envision a world where every family has hope at Christmas and an opportunity for a bright future.

Sharing & Caring of Benton County works to serve Benton County’s youth in three core areas: our Christmas program, scholarships to local high school students and back-to-school assistance for families in need.

Our Christmas Program

Becoming our own 501c3 in 2007, Sharing & Caring of Benton County works to brighten the holidays of local children by lending a helping hand to their families in need during the holiday season. The program serves children, through the help of sponsors, to provide clothing, shoes, toys, a food box, essential household goods and special needs. Each child who is served through our program is shopped for individually.

The generosity of our community helped us sponsor 2,860 children in 2020! That accounts for over 1,050 families in Benton County.

Every year, families in the Sharing & Caring Christmas program receive their gifts and basic necessities at what we warmly refer to as ‘Distribution Day’. A day where the culmination of our efforts, over the course of the year, are realized in the faces of our families. Moms thrilled that their children will experience the joy of Christmas, dads profusely thanking for the help during a difficult time. Check out the video to see the magic of a community coming together!

“Some 16 million American children — 22 percent — live in poverty, a factor that increases their chances of academic struggles, social and behavioral problems, and depression.

Yet not all poor children are doomed to bad outcomes. Some survive and flourish despite hardships. Why? As a researcher who worked at the Yale Child Study Center from 1992 to 2005, Valerie Maholmes, PhD, suggests that poor children who succeed have a factor in common: hope.”

Stacy Lu, American Psychological Association, November 2014, Vol 45, No. 10

Chef Phil Dreshfield (left) and Sharing & Caring Executive Director, Sarah Semrow (right) pose with igniteCAPS and Brightwater student, Anna Harrison in celebration of her acceptance into the most prestigious and competitive culinary school in the nation- the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Anna was a two-year recipient of Sharing & Caring’s Irene Medrano Scholarship Fund and a first generation higher education student.

Our Scholarship Program · Irene Medrano Scholarship Fund

If you’ve heard of or been involved with Sharing & Caring, you likely know the name Irene! Irene Medrano served as the Executive Director of the program from 2002-2007 when the program was under the Boys & Girls Club umbrella and then from 2007-the first part of 2018 after the program became it’s own 501c3. It is her vision, heart and fiery passion for Benton County’s youth that has fueled the growth of Sharing & Caring to include a scholarship fund.

Since 2015, Sharing & Caring has been funding scholarships for high school students to earn college credit or professional training to aid them in obtaining employment directly out of high school. It is our goal to ensure every child in Benton County, no matter their background or financial limitation, have access to education and opportunity. With the support of this community, we were able to provide scholarships for 422 students in 2020!

Our Back-to-School Program

In partnership with MARS, Sharing & Caring has been supporting Benton County families and schools during Back-to-School season since 2013. What started as purchasing school supplies to distribute to the neediest of schools has blossomed! In 2020, we were able to fill 400 backpacks with school supplies for K-12 students.

 

TESTIMONIALS

Sharing and Caring’s mission is simple – to spread joy to families during the holiday season. We seek to show compassion for our neighbors, and in 2018 served over 1,340 families in Benton County. It has been a privilege to volunteer for this organization for the last 12 years and to be a part of something that, through both our holiday program as well as our scholarship program, makes a difference in the lives of others.

Holly B.
Board Member & Sponsor

This enormous undertaking of providing Christmas presents for 3000 - 4000 kids, a full Christmas dinner, various other items including wrapping paper (so the parents can be involved in the magic)... ALL done with a close to 4% margin. Over 35,000 local children have had a Christmas, sponsored by an organization very few have heard of. I'm proud to support Sharing & Caring!

Jeff G.
Volunteer & Sponsor

The scholarship that I received from Sharing & Caring has allowed me to gain important experience and knowledge I need to become a professional in the culinary field...Due to it I have helped James Beard award winning chefs. I have also participated in a Prostart Competition...where high school kids compete to be the best in the culinary industry. I’ve made lifelong friends from the community I live in and from other states... I have had confidence walking into any kitchen or culinary classroom knowing the only thing I needed to do was learn and not have to worry about how to pay for the ingredients or chef wear or equipment. This confidence was instilled in me knowing I had Sharing & Caring backing me. I have absolutely loved every minute I spend cooking or learning or helping a chef or other student in a kitchen. I have started cooking at home for my family so much more and just feel that I would have struggled to get there had Sharing & Caring not given me a scholarship.

Timothy F.
IGNITE Professional Studies Student

Thank you for paying for me to take the CNA class here at Rogers High School. It's an amazing opportunity that not very many students get everyday. This class gives me the opportunity to start down the medical path I plan to go on. After high school I plan on going on to nursing school to be a pediatric nurse. Getting my CNA will allow me to get a job in a hospital after high school and let me work my way up from there. I really appreciate the chance you guys have given me to pursue down the career path I have planned ahead. Thank you.

Errin S.
High School Student

The continued support and generosity provided by the Sharing & Caring Foundation has had a positive impact for many students in the Rogers Public Schools.  Sponsorships have made it possible for students to participate in career programs such as Culinary Arts, Certified Nurse’s Assistant and Emergency Medical Responder courses offered through NWACC and the Brightwater Center.  Students also have opportunities to earn concurrent college credit in areas relating to business and marketing career fields. The career programs are designed to prepare students for successful careers and bright futures following high school graduation.

Dawn S.
Director, Rogers Public Schools

My two years in Ignite has opened up so many opportunities for me that never would have been possible had I stayed within the traditional classroom setting. By being enrolled at Brightwater, I’ve met world-famous chefs and competed against other passionate high school students from all across America. Because of my involvement in Ignite and Brightwater, I have been accepted into the most prestigious and competitive culinary school in the nation, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. I am so grateful for the graciousness that Sharing and Caring of Benton County has shown me for the past two years that allowed me to fulfill my dreams and exceed all expectations of how I would wrap up my high school career. Thank you!

Anna H.
IGNITE Professional Studies Student

Sharing & Caring is a very helpful resource for children in the area. I have both used and donated to this service and would again in a heartbeat.

CJ J.

This organization went above and beyond to help me get a gift to a child and also helped me help a lot of small children with personal item needs. Such an amazing group of people! Thank you so much!

Angela M.

I wanted to take the time and formally thank you for paying for my CNA class. It really means a lot to me because I've known for a LONG time that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and this is only the beginning of my journey. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime.

Jasmine R.
High School Student

Students in the Ignite Professional Studies program can earn college credit while in high school.  Although this is a great benefit for our students, it can be a challenge financially to pay for the tuition. Through the scholarship program of Sharing and Caring of Benton County, we have been able to support over 250 students earning 1,335 college hours.  It is our intent for all students to have access to higher education opportunities regardless of background and set them on a path that encourages lifelong learning.  Without the support of scholarships through Sharing and Caring, our students would have to make the financial decision if they could afford to be in the program.  Your relief in with those anxieties provide a better experience and encourages workforce training for ALL students.  Sharing and Caring support has helped train students in Culinary Arts, Digital Design & Photography, Health Sciences and Video Production.  Thank you for considering IGNITE as a partner in our endeavor to guide students to using their passions toward career goals!

Teresa H.
Director, IGNITE Professional Studies

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