Exchange’s Americanism efforts focus on the education and enlightenment of our youth and fellow citizens that the freedom and greatness we enjoy today were hard-won and must be cherished and protected. Promoting pride in country, respect for the flag and appreciation of our freedoms are the primary purposes of Exchange’s Americanism programs.
The Freedom Shrine, sponsored by the National Exchange Club, is a collection of photographic reproductions of original documents from American History. The display includes the Bill of Rights, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and United States Constitution. The shrine is displayed in court buildings in Fort Smith and Greenwood and also in the main branch of the Fort Smith Public Library.
Exchangites spend countless hours and resources to improve the lives of people in the communities they serve. In addition to members giving of their own time and resources, the Club collectively honors “do gooders” through its various award programs including:
Book of Golden Deeds Award
The Book of Golden Deeds Awards is an Exchange Club program that honors a worthy person or group that continuously donates time, talent, and energy to help those in need. The purpose of the Book of Golden Deeds Award is to recognize such unsung heroes for their good deeds. The award is presented each year by Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club to a worthy citizen.
Law Enforcement/Firefighter/EMT of the Year Awards
Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club recognizes the sacrifices made by law enforcement and emergency responders through its annual awards program for local civil servants. Each year, the Club partners with the respective agencies to select a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, and an emergency medical technician to honor for their service. These “Hometown Heroes” Awards are presented each year at a special FSNE event.
Sponsorship of Girls, Inc. Summer Camps
Every year since 1947, Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club has provided scholarship funds for students to attend summer camp through Girls, Inc., a non-profit organization, committed to helping girls become “Strong, Smart, and Bold.” Over the past 70+ years, the Club has contributed more than $350,000 to the scholarship program, enabling hundreds of young ladies the opportunity to experience an exciting and memorable week with their peers.
Partners in Education
Supporting local students and educators is a top priority of the Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club. This is accomplished through participation in the Fort Smith Public Schools’ Partners in Education program. FSNE is a long-time Partner in Education with both Beard Elementary School and Ramsey Junior High School, providing financial and volunteer support to both campuses. Members serve as pen pals, host shoe drives, and donate their time investing in the lives of students. The Club is a proud recipient of PIE’s prestigious Bud Jackson Teamwork Award, which recognizes outstanding collaborations between schools and its Partners in Education.
Exchange has always had its finger on the pulse of national concerns, and in 1979 the prevention of child abuse was adopted as the organization’s national project. Exchange Club National President, Dr. Edward North, Jr. brought this growing concern to the attention of Exchange Club members and Exchangites accepted the challenge to make a difference in the lives of children and families, by engaging in a variety of activities designed to educate and inform the public, as well as by establishing community-based centers to help families. Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club supports the national objective here at home through its involvement with local agencies aimed at preventing and addressing child abuse. These include:
Parent Aide Center @ Hamilton House
Fort Smith Noon Exchange is a proud partner of Fort Smith’s Hamilton House, a Child Safety Center that provides forensic interviews, victim advocacy and support, mental health services, and specialized medical evaluations for child victims of physical or sexual abuse. FSNE assists the organization by funding a Parent Aide Center, which provides trained parent aides to work in the homes of high-risk families. The aides teach nurturing and non-abusive parenting through the use of modeling, literature, DVDs, and other educational materials.
“Step Up, Speak Out!”
FSNE also promotes the local “Step Up, Speak Out!” movement, which is focused on raising awareness of the local prevalence of child abuse, specifically child sexual abuse, and the prevention thereof through education. Exchangites volunteer at SUSO’s bi-annual community block parties, held in cities throughout the region and regularly participate in “Step Up, Speak Out!” rallies and events.