Monthly Archives: December 2014

Learn to Earn

“We see this as a ‘beta model’ test-pilot segment of a comprehensive
reentry system in Arkansas,” Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General
Manager of Help YourSelf: Community Resources Directory, discussed his
company’s “Learn to Earn” program, set for official debut next month.

Assembled by Combs and partner Christine Beems, Help YourSelf
Editor-in-Chief, the training and development program aims to
replicate several of the successful practices discussed during a
6-month round of legislative hearings.

“Our intention is simply to be responsive to the important questions
being posed by our legislators, about what to do to alleviate
Arkansas’s overcrowded prisons,” Combs, whose debut print edition of
the full-color 24-page tabloid ‘community resources’ publication went
into distribution barely two months ago and now has over 16,000 copies
circulating around Little Rock and throughout Pulaski County,
explained his organization’s objectives for the Learn to Earn program.

“One highly successful prison program in another state made it
possible for inmates to earn a good income during incarceration,”
Beems elaborated. “This made it possible for them to pay child
support, clear fines and make restitution, which double-dipped
benefits to taxpayers. It also gave inmates a leg to stand on when
they reentered free society, because they had developed marketable
skill. And the skill that proved most viable was sales.”

Training as a sales and marketing professional, as per the program’s
curriculum, includes skill-development with public speaking, customer
service, information management, accurate record-keeping, doing
research and making presentations. Also included are ongoing
assessments of competency to succeed and individual mentoring for
remediation, all of which were, according to Beems, identified during
the legislative hearings as key competencies necessary for successful

“Our legislators are considering a massive shift in the fundamental
practices of our punitive justice system,” Combs homed-in on a topic
near and dear to ongoing legislative debate: the difference in benefit
and outcome between developing programs to dramatically increase the
number of people who transition from prison back into their family and
community successfully, versus spending $200-million-plus to build a
new prison.

“And they rightly need to see some examples of reentry practices that
work,” Combs concluded. “Because, after all, it is not just our tax
dollars but our overall safety and well-being as a society that is at

Details of the Learn to Earn program, which is offered free of charge,
will be discussed during a meet-and-greet luncheon, 10am to 2pm,
Thursday, January 15, at the Help YourSelf administrative office in
Van Buren County. Program administrators, parole officers, church and
good-works group leaders and civic officials are encouraged to attend
this orientation, and to bring potential candidates for enrollment in
the 6-week training program.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Combs at 501-563-2197 or
visit the Learn to Earn page on this website.

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Happy Holidays

Fireworks at the Arkansas State Capitol

Fireworks at the Arkansas State Capitol

Happy Holiday (((hugs))) from all of us here at Help YourSelf…!!! Hope your days are filled with sublime excitement, abundant effervescence and tons of fun…!!!In addition, we joyously share HUGE THANKS for your warm and welcoming reception of the debut edition of Help YourSelf: Community Resources Directory. So much wonderful stuff is blossoming from all of our combined energies. It is gratifying, humbling and inspiring to do this dance with you, accomplishing collaborative goals.For one example, we fully support and are actively working for the implementation of the “Eight Point Plan for a Safe Arkansas” developed by the Central Arkansas ReEntry (CARE) Coalition — about which we’ll be sending out a special update subsequent to the ‘special strategy meeting’ of CARE’s general assembly slated for Wednesday this week. (Hope to see you there!)

For another, our debut edition has attracted new talent to the Help YourSelf team. Billy Tad Earnest, 36, a family man from Jacksonville and skilled sales professional, has stepped forward to head-up the Help YourSelf marketing team.

Arkansas State Capitol Christmas Tree

Arkansas State Capitol Christmas Tree

You’ll learn more about Billy via first hand experience on Thursday, January 15, at our “Learn to Earn” orientation luncheon, being held (10am / 2pm) at the Help YourSelf administrative headquarters (aka: my home/office in the lovely foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains, 2 miles east of the City of Clinton in Van Buren County, GPS: 223 Primrose Lane, Shirley, AR 72153 <grin>), about which full details are forthcoming in a note you’ll get next week.

Also, we are actively soliciting YOU to write something pertinent to your unique bird’s-eye-view of reentry issues, abiding the following editorial guidelines:

<> 600 to 1500 words (longer articles considered for serialization)

<> Addresses an issue (housing, employment, health care, probation, etc.) of the multifaceted reentry dynamic and proposes a solution.

<> Highlights a ‘success story’ about overcoming homelessness, unemployment, educational challenges, addiction, abusive relationships, stigmatizing social issues or any reentry issue.

Kim Combs, Publisher of Help YourSelf, views one of the 4 showcased exhibits of Black Dolls on display at the Arkansas State Capitol thrugh February 2015.

Kim Combs, Publisher of Help YourSelf, views one of the 4 showcased exhibits of Black Dolls on display at the Arkansas State Capitol thrugh February 2015.

Help us to sing the praises and inspire the hopes of real people coming through tough times and surmounting difficult circumstances to achieve a ‘new and improved’ lifestyle that at one time seemed beyond their reach.

Just to be clear, for an article and/or display-ad to make print in our next edition, submission deadline is the same date as our Learn to Earn luncheon: JANUARY 15, 2015…. however RSVPs and layout space for articles and ads are being accepted NOW… So please, if you have even a glittering of an inkling about doing any of this, let’s schmooze…!!!

Lastly for now on our ‘much to be thankful for’ list, may I gently point your attention to three facts which have made us happy and proud:

<> At this writing, more that 16,000 copies of our debut edition have been distributed to over 100 locations throughout Pulaski County. Many locations have been restocked several times and new requests for bundles come to us several times each week. Wow… simply amazing!!!

<> In mid-November, just weeks after our debut edition made print, Help YourSelf: Community Resources Directory was inducted to the archives of the Sequoyah National Research Center of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, by Daniel Littlefield, Director, because our Publisher, Robert Kim Combs, is by birthright-heritage a proud citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, thus by law officially making Help YourSelf a Native American Publication.

<> On December 6, a magnificent collection of Black Dolls, privately curated by Mary Swift, went on exhibit at our State Capitol and will be on display through the end of February, 2015. Truly, we are thankful to have played a small but vital role in the facilitation of this display and we are proud of our state officials for installing this eye-opening exhibit as an element of ongoing holiday festivities. It is our most sincere hope that it will build stronger bridges of appreciation among every member of our whole community and thus we encourage you to bring your friends and family for a visit to our glorious State Capitol building while it is all decked-out with the season’s grandeur… and to experience this soul-tingling exhibit for yourself.

A small example of the fascinating Black Dolls collection privately curated by Mary Swift.

A small example of the fascinating Black Dolls collection privately curated by Mary Swift.

Beyond that, please contact me anytime via email to or at my home/office phone (501) 745-4153 -or- we can visit in person during the (previously mentioned) SPECIAL STRATEGY SESSION of the CARE Coalition, 10am, Wednesday December 10 at the Willie Hinton Community Center on 12th Street.

With many happy warm-wishes for your joyous holiday season, high hopes for good things to befall us all in the coming New Year and a bushel of (((hugs))) ~Christine
Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General Manager
Christine Beems, Editor-in-Chief
Billy Earnest, Marketing & Sales
Help YourSelf Publishing

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