Category Archives: Uncategorized

Groups Rally for Re-entry & Prison Reform

PRESS CONFERENCE & PHOTO OP: 13 April 2016, 11am, Capitol Steps

NEWS RELEASE:  Groups Rally for Re-entry & Prison Reform

“Right now … if you leave prison, you get $100 and a bus ticket,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said as he laid out his plans for the state prison system in February of 2015.  “That is really not going to help reduce repeat offenders from going back in.  They need an opportunity.”


On Wednesday, April 13, several dozen civic and social advocacy groups* and many members of the general public who are affected by these issues will rally on the front steps of the Capitol in a show of support for proposed reforms, such as the hiring of additional parole and probation officers, the creation of a transitional reentry center program and alternative (non-prison) sentences for nonviolent offenders.

Coordinated by the Central Arkansas Re-Entry (CARE) Coalition, the rally begins at 11am and features speakers from various agencies, organizations and groups which are somehow involved with the incarceration and reentry process.

“Because the impact of incarceration is so great on the individual, their families, and society as a whole, it takes an array of service providers, public policy experts, faith-based groups, community organizations, support services and mentors with lived experience to assist with transition to return to society and avoid the situations that lead to recidivism,” Robert Kim Combs, Chair of CARE’s Policy & Law Committee, explained the complexity of the problem. “No one entity can do it all and do it effectively.  This rally is to celebrate the wealth of people and organizations that are helping and to tell the story of the 56% of people who successfully return without re-offending.  Plus, we also want to acknowledge that many of these groups are working without government support.”


With respect to these collaborative efforts, an official Proclamation of the Governor, declaring April 13, 2016, as ARKANSAS COMMUNITY REENTRY DAY, will be presented and, concluding the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Capitol, meet legislators and learn about their General Assembly.

For more information, visit or call (501) 444-CARE.

*partial list of advocacy groups supporting rally:

  • Arkansans Organizing for Justice
  • Arkansas Access to Justice
  • Arkansas C.U.R.E
  • Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice
  • Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
  • Arkansas Community Organizations
  • Arkansas Department of Workforce Services
  • Arkansas Re-entry and Prevention Initiative
  • Arkansas Time After Time
  • Arkansas Voices of the Child Left Behind
  • ARVets
  • Broken Chain Ministries
  • Center for Artistic Revolution
  • Center for Women in Transitions
  • City Connections
  • Difference Makers
  • Disability Rights Arkansas
  • Diverse Youth for Social Change
  • Goodwill
  • I Too Have a Dream
  • Incarcerated Disciples
  • Interfaith Arkansas
  • Little Rock Catholic Diocese
  • Lucie’s Place
  • Open Door Outreach
  • Personal Empowerment Recovery Coalition Boone County Recovery Project
  • Philander Smith College Better Community Developers, Inc.
  • Recovery Centers of Arkansas
  • SOAR Network
  • The Arc
  • Veterans for Peace – Arkansas Chapter #978
  • Women and Children First

For more information contact Robert Combs (501) 563-2197.

Tagged , , , ,

Fresh Updates to VBC CRD

Thanks to our civic-minded volunteer associate editor (and artist extraordinaire) , Sue Pico, a fresh PDF edition of the Van Buren County Community Resources Directory is now online…!!! Please… help yourself to a copy <smile>… and (all together now), say “Thanks Sue…!!!!” (((hugs))) ~Christine

Tagged ,

CRD Update

As you may (or may not) know, our newspaper publication is the outgrowth of a 5-year effort by our publisher, Robert Kim Combs, to catalog and index the great variety of organizations and programs in Pulaski County, Arkansas, which offer assistance, service and support to those who strive to regain a dignity and maintain self-sufficiency in the face of difficult circumstances.

Updating this directory to keep information accurate is a huge undertaking that requires personal contact with each and every service provider to confirm hours of operation, services provided and eligibility requirements… information with is vital to access these services and yet often changes.

That said, we are pleased to share the good news that the “Resource Provider Edition” of the February 2015 CRD update for Little Rock & Pulaski County in now available as PDF and liked to our Web Directory page.

Tagged , ,


Words cannot express the depth of my appreciation for the outpouring of warm wishes for my speedy recovery, which I am happy to report is well underway.  Being now 17 days into my rejuvenation, I note with humility that my comeback has at times been rather arduous, but that I am now feeling tremendously ‘new and improved’ and am steadily getting back into the swing of things and wanted to share some warm-fuzzies and Valentine ((hugs))) with you…. ~Christine


Dancing with life after death.

Wednesday last, I died.

At least that’s what I’m told, having no recollection of the event which, as per various news clips, occurred at the Arkansas State Capitol on the afternoon of January 28, during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting

“A woman had a heart attack,” 5NEWS reported. “Arkansas Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, performed CPR.”

“The woman (who would be me) was slumped back in her chair, taking small gasps of air,” Woods told reporters.

Accounts continue that when my face went pale, I was laid down on the floor so that Senator Woods could administer CPR until a medical crew arrived a few minutes later to stabilize me. Also, that Dr. Jim Bledsoe (spouse of state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers) and Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, assisted in the life-saving intervention, which at one point involved the use of a defibrillator.

And there were obviously many others onsite at the Capitol, along the way of Emergency Medical Transport, and at UAMS where I was admitted who had a hand in my survival. Yet the truth is, I remember nearly nothing about any of it except that I am forever appreciative of all quick and sincere efforts given by so many people to saving my life.

For the record, as I regained conscious awareness of my surroundings and what had taken place, I was informed of treatment options and consulted with my adult-children about what course of action to take. Thus on Thursday afternoon, about 24-hours after my admission to UAMS, I was released to travel home to Van Buren County and begin my recovery.

Now, being one full week into my rehabilitation, I am thrilled to say that things are going great. I slept really well the last couple of nights and breakfast this morning –- which I prepared for myself – tasted totally great.

A few big things have changed, however. Most notably the February publication of Help YourSelf: Community Resources Directory, which I edit and layout, is temporarily on hold. And I don’t plan to be doing any Can-Can dancing for a while!

What I do plan is to continue reclaiming good health and expressing my appreciation for all those aforementioned who helped rescue me, especially including my five fabulous adult-children, three of whom reside out of state, flew home immediately to be at my side and have been pampering me ever since.

Also I am compelled to especially acknowledge my dear friend, professional colleague and business partner, Robert Kim Combs, who was at my side from the moment I succumbed at the capitol straight through my release from the hospital and beyond, making multiple trips from the Little Rock airport to my home near Clinton, chauffeuring my incoming kids.

Thanks & (((hugs)))… ~Christine

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Champion Awards

We are both proud and humbled: Help YourSelf Publisher & General Manager, Robert Kim Combs, was among a select group of business professionals, agencies and elected officials recognized by the Central Arkansas ReEntry (CARE) Coalition as CHAMPIONS of proactive reentry advocacy and public service.  Click here to see our pictorial of the Awards Luncheon and learn more about what what these folks did to deserve the recognition…!!!

Champions All: (left to right): Senator Eddie Joe Williams, Publisher Robert Kim Combs, City of Little Rock (Andre Bernard), CSI Construction (Jonathan Seman), Senator Stephanie Flowers, Senator Joyce Elliot,  Office of Child Support Enforcement (Dan McDonald).

Champions All (left to right): Senator Eddie Joe Williams, Publisher Robert Kim Combs, City of Little Rock (Andre Bernard), CSI Construction (Jonathan Seman), Senator Stephanie Flowers, Senator Joyce Elliot, Office of Child Support Enforcement (Dan McDonald).

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Champions declared by CARE Coalition

Arkansas State Senators Eddie Joe Williams, Stephanie Flowers and Joyce Elliot will be honored as Champions by the Central Arkansas ReEntry (CARE) Coalition at its Annual Membership & Recognition Luncheon, 23 January 2015.

In addition to the three legislators, the Champion distinction will also be awarded to Arkansas Office of Child Support Enforcement, CDI Construction, the City of Little Rock and Robert Davis.

The awards pay tribute to the individuals, state and municipal agencies for their work promoting the success of Arkansans reentering free society after incarceration.

Williams, Flowers and Elliot are being recognized as longtime proponents of criminal justice reform and outspoken dedication to eliminating prison overcrowding and reducing recidivism.

CDI Construction is being recognized for its willingness to employ ex-offenders, the Office of Child Support Enforcement for their work helping ex-offenders meet their legal obligations, the City of Little Rock for their general support of organizations working on reentry issues, and Robert Davis, founder of iahWeh Entertainment, for his success as a returning citizen.

In addition to the awards recognition, the coalition’s accomplishments of the past year will be reviewed and their strategic plan for 2015 will be outlined.

The luncheon convenes at 11:30am, Friday, 23 January 2015, at the Willie Hinton Center, 3805 W. 12th St., Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, contact Leta Anthony, Chair of the Central Arkansas ReEntry Coalition, (501) 541-6038 or email


NEWS RELEASE co-authored and distributed copyright free as a public service by Christine Beems, Editor, and Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General Manager, HelpYourSelf Publishing. Please email questions and requests to

Tagged , , , , , ,


“The answer is always going to be no, unless you ask,” Adam Weiss, Supervisor of the Mobile Crushing Division, Hamilton Aggregates, Inc., and keynote speaker at the upcoming Learn to Earn luncheon hosted by Help YourSelf Publishing, explained how developing his sales-skill fast-tracked his career in his chosen profession.

“When you know how and when and what to ask, you will almost always get a yes,” Weiss, who is also a lead heavy-equipment trainer with the rock-crushing and moving company, is featured on the luncheon agenda for Thursday, January 15, in Van Buren County, Arkansas.

“Our intention is to help alleviate Arkansas’s overcrowded prisons,” Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General Manager of Help YourSelf, discussed the unique relationship between his publishing house, the self-help resources directory they produce, the Learn to Earn ‘sales training program’ they offer, and the Joe or Jane seeking to make a comeback from prison life.

Training as a sales professional, as per the Learn to Earn curriculum, includes skill-development with public speaking, customer service, information management, accurate record-keeping, doing marketing research and making presentations. Also included are ongoing assessments of competency to succeed and individual mentoring for remediation, all of which were, during a six-month series of legislative hearings on prison overcrowding and mitigating recidivism, identified as key competencies necessary for reentry success.

The 10am to 2pm, January 15th Learn to Earn luncheon addresses why and how the ‘sales training program’ component of the company’s business model cultivates self-reliant collaboration which, in turn, feeds community prosperity while at the same time ensuring the publication and distribution of the Community Resources Directory (CRD) produced by Help YourSelf.

Since it first hit the streets mid-October of 2014, the CRD has become sensationally popular with the general public (over 16,000 copies now in distribution throughout Pulaski County) and is cherished by the service providers whose listings it indexes, making their jobs easier and putting critical information directly into the hands of those who need and deserve it most.

Assistance program administrators, parole officers, church and good-works group leaders and civic officials are encouraged to attend the luncheon orientation and also to bring potential candidates for enrollment in the 6-week training program, which is offered free of charge.

For more information or to RSVP for the luncheon, contact Combs at 501-563-2197 or visit our Learn to Earn page.


NEWS RELEASE authored and distributed copyright free by Christine Beems, 223 Primrose Ln., Shirley, AR 72153; 501-745-4153. Please email questions and requests to
Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General Manager
Christine Beems, Editor-in-Chief
Billy Earnest, Marketing & Sales
Sue Pico, Volunteer Associate Editor VBC-CRD
Help YourSelf Publishing / Community Resources Directory / Learn to Earn

Happy New Year

From all of us here at Help YourSelf, know that every time we hear this song we are thinking of each and every one of you… and we hope that when you hear it, you will think as warmly and kindly of all of us… (((hugs))) and Happy New Year…!!!

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.

Tagged , , , , ,