“There are many things you have done to help me and I appreciate all you’ve done. However there is one thing I have appreciated above all else, which is your character. You’ve shown me respect, and thanks to you I have begun to feel a greater self-worth than I’ve known for many years. You give people hope. Seriously man, thanks.”
This compliment from a student that Jerod works with embodies everything I would like to tell you.
Jerod Bradshaw is a case manager for Arkansas Career Pathways at Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC). This year, Jerod single handedly ran the workplace campaign at NWACC for United Way of Northwest Arkansas. Not only did he take on this campaign alone, he increased donor participation by over 300% and drove an increase in campaign dollars raised by more than 50% over last year.
There are three things Jerod attributes to the increases.
- He made the campaign and United Way more visible to the students and staff at NWACC. He was available and was out telling people about United Way. “I was a lot more proactive about it because I’ve seen what these programs do,” said Jerod.
- He was more informed about what United Way of Northwest Arkansas does. Arkansas Career Pathways utilizes the Gifts in Kind Warehouse, NWA Diaper Bank and works with programs that United Way funds, such as Single Parent Scholarship Fund. Jerod has also served on many committees with United Way of Northwest Arkansas such as the Summit Committee and the Financial Stability Coalition. He has been connected to United Way since 2011 when he began working with Career Pathways.
- Finally, he had a passion for what United Way does.
“I really felt like I was working for a good cause. We’re (United Way and Arkansas Career Pathways) kind of in the trenches together. We see people at their worst and help them to their best. That’s an awesome feeling!”
Every day Jerod gets to help students through their struggles. He says that he is basically a one-stop-shop for the students in the program. He is someone to listen, celebrate with, vent to and get help from. He and Career Pathways help the over 100 students in the program with anything from providing diapers, toothpaste and toilet paper, to helping with resumes and renting textbooks.
Jerod has a passion for his job because he grew up in poverty here in NWA. In 9th grade, he got involved with a program called Upward Bound which helps low income and first generation college students through school. He says that this is the program that changed his life. They taught him what you need to go to college and got him there. He was even able to take what he learned through
Upward Bound and help his older brother get into a nursing program. During college Jerod was able to study abroad in Austria for a year which inspired him to teach English there for two years. He has been able to travel to 10 different countries and even speaks German.
Jerod has a joy about him that is infectious. He starts almost every day with an inspirational post on Facebook and almost always has a corny joke to make you laugh. He has a passion for teaching and the students he helps. He is a success story of his own, and now finds joy in helping others become their own success. We feel lucky that Jerod has chosen to Live United and cannot thank him enough for his continued support. Thanks for being an everyday hero, Jerod!