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“We were in a spot where we realized we needed help just to get through the month,” says Marshall. “There’s no worse feeling than having to choose between paying your bills and buying basic necessities for your children, especially when you’re working so hard to get to a better place in life. You realize you need help, but you feel like you can’t ask.”
Marshall had made it this far in life on her own; she was ashamed to have to ask for help now. That’s when a friend told her about Hark.
Kylie Marshall is at what she calls the “hustle and grind” phase of life. She’s 29, married, and has three children between the ages 3 and 8. To support that family, she and her husband were working three food service jobs between them while Marshall attends nursing school. She wants to help people while making a better life for her and her kids, and she’s willing to work hard to do so. She doesn’t like to complain.
But in March 2020, when COVID-19 really hit Bentonville as it did the entire state, region, and country, Marshall’s entire life was upended. Within the first week of the pandemic, as restaurants quickly closed and scaled back, she and her husband lost all three of their jobs. Overnight, Marshall was facing bills, rent, and car payments with no way to pay for them. She didn’t know what to do.
Life happens to all of us...Hark can connect you with resources right here in northwest Arkansas
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They walked me through the entire process of getting the resources we needed. They helped us get through a really hard month.
Hark is a division of Excellerate Foundation that serves northwest Arkansas and connects residents with vital community resources and services when they need them most. Since March 2020, more than 10,000 people across the region have come to Hark to be connected to help and services through the most extensive map of regional resources ever compiled, covering 10 social determinants of health (for example: housing, food, education, social support, and transit) and 50 individual areas of need.
And the process of getting help through Hark is simple and straightforward.
“It was really easy,” says Marshall. “They were really accessible.”
Step one: First, Marshall went to the website (www.harknwa.com) and filled out the assistance form—a series of questions that assessed her potential needs and those of her family. The process took only a few minutes and was completely confidential.
Step two: Within hours of submitting her assistance form, Marshall was contacted by a Hark Community Liason, much like a highly trained social worker, who was dedicated to pinpointing Marshall’s specific needs.
Step three: Using the assessment form and the initial conversation, the Hark Community Liason crafted a customized assistance plan tailored to Marshall’s individual needs. The Community Liason then linked her to a few of the hundreds of organizations in the Hark database, ensuring that those needs were met.
Step four: The Hark Community Liason continued to check in with Marshall and review the plan, answer any questions, and put the plan into action. Throughout the process, Marshall’s dedicated Community Liason checked in to make sure the plan was working and tweaked and adjusted the plan to accommodate any changes and meet new needs as they arose.
“The coolest thing about Hark is how kind and non-judgmental they are,” says Marshall. “They didn’t make me feel like I was bad for needing help, which our society often sees as a sign of weakness or laziness. We’re working as hard as we can. Receiving that help in such a kind way made me and my family feel like we were worthy of help.”
The elements of Marshall’s assistance plan are now part of the more than 80,000 referrals made through Hark. And thanks to Hark’s assistance, Marshall and her family are back on track to building a better life.
By StoryStudio on March 25, 2022 11:00 AM
For Marshall, Hark was able to link her and her family with rental assistance through a partnership with
Benton County, that offered relief from utility bills to keep the power and water on as well as other services. The Hark Community Liason was also able to put Marshall in touch with free credit counseling and help her enroll in Upskill NWA to further her pursuit of a nursing degree.
“Having that stress relief was the biggest gift,” says Marshall. “We could take a deep breath and feel safe and know that we were going to be okay.”
If you or someone you know needs similar assistance or has questions, visit Hark at www.Harknwa.com or call 211.