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Elrod Center for Family & Community

The Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community at Ouachita Baptist University is dedicated to service through the educational experience. The center seeks to provide the leadership necessary to link the university’s unique resources to the needs of our region and is focused on coordinating and facilitating volunteerism, service learning, servant leadership and community engagement.

The Elrod Foundation was created primarily for the support of the Elrod Center. The center was established during the tenure of Dr. Ben M. Elrod, Ouachita’s 13th president. Dr. Elrod led in the creation of the center because of the values he held dear and wished to perpetuate through the operation of the center. Those values include a commitment to servant-leadership, sharing one’s blessings with others and giving back to the community of which one is a part. The four great loves of Dr. Elrod’s life were God, family, Ouachita and the church. He secured the involvement of generations of students in becoming servant-leaders through the mission of the center and the foundation that supports its work. Upon his retirement, the Ouachita Board of Trustees named the center in his honor.
Sign up for Tiger Serve Day



Hours of Service from Ouachita Volunteers per Academic Year



Students, Faculty and Staff Volunteer for Tiger Serve Day each Semester



Families are Provided Thanksgiving Food Boxes each November



People are Provided Weekly Meals Through Feed Arkadelphia

“Life as interpreted and demonstrated in the life and teachings of Jesus is to be found in selfless giving of one’s self in service to others and thus to God. As important to the center’s purpose as are the practical services provided, more important is the dynamic impact on the lives of those who provide the services. It changes lives forever and opens up a vista to live as God intended it to be. It is an identification of the servant with his Lord who, in his most concise description of his life’s purpose said, ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

Ben Elrod headshotBen M. Elrod
Former Ouachita President

A Word from our Director 

Judy Duvall

Judy Duvall, director of the Elrod Center

For over two decades, the Elrod Center has served as the hub for the volunteer service that flows between Ouachita and the surrounding community. Our students, faculty and staff are a tremendous resource for meeting community needs, and Arkadelphia is a better place because of the love and care our volunteers provide.

Through the Elrod Center, volunteers are discovering the great joy in service. Often we see that when students get involved in serving, it jumpstarts a whole life of service. Service lies at the very heart of God. Service transforms those who serve. And service meets real needs. Simply put, service makes us better, happier people, it makes a difference in our world, and it makes us more like Christ. Former Ouachita president, namesake and founder of the Elrod Center Dr. Ben Elrod summed it up beautifully: “What is servanthood? It is the simple attitude, characteristic and act of giving up oneself for the good of others. In doing so, we become more like Jesus.”


If you want to get involved with meeting needs through serving our community, come join us!
It will change your life!

See Elrod Center Staff

Our Programs




Through one-on-one instruction and mentorship offered in our weekly tutoring programs, Ouachita students help children and teens succeed in academics and in life.

The America Reads, America Counts and Peake Partnership programs give Ouachita students the opportunity to visit local schools to work with grade-school students, while the after-school tutoring programs connect them with Arkadelphia students of all ages at the Elrod Center.

Strong bonds are created and maintained as Ouachita tutors work one-on-one with the same students throughout the academic year.

Students who are eligible for federal work-study may apply to work as a tutor, and those who wish to volunteer can receive TranServe credit.

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Motivation is a huge factor for our students and when Ouachita students work with them, their motivation improves. They want to impress their tutor, look forward to seeing them and are so grateful!
– Jodie Daniell, Instructional Facilitator at Peake Elementary

It has been the most amazing experience and has absolutely made me feel like I've found my place and my purpose at Ouachita.
– Olivia Hobson, America Counts and After-school Tutor


Tiger Serve Day

Tiger Serve Day is a once-a-semester event where students, faculty and staff serve the community of Arkadelphia together. This day is a gateway to service for many volunteers on our campus and lights a spark for continual service throughout the year.

Teams of six to eight volunteers work together at non-profits, homes of senior adults, schools and churches, as well as on city clean-up jobs. Tasks take about three hours to complete: raking, trimming bushes, painting and washing cars and windows, for example.

Volunteers serve to improve quality of life and provide hope for others. Relationships between volunteers and area residents often continue throughout the year.

The Tiger Serve Leadership Team is composed of 30 students who do background work and planning for the day.

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Abby BlankenshipTiger Serve Day has given me the opportunity to see how deeply Ouachita loves the Arkadelphia community. I have loved being able to meet many of the individuals and organizations we serve each semester. Volunteering on Tiger Serve Day has allowed me, alongside hundreds of Ouachita staff and students, to meet the needs of others and bring joy through the work we do!
– Abby Blankenship

As a retired Ouachita employee, I value the ongoing relationships with students that Tiger Serve Day provides. While seeing tasks accomplished is wonderful, the anticipation of reuniting with my team is the highlight.
– Lindsay Van Sicklen, retired librarian



ElderServe connects Ouachita students with senior adults to form friendships and provide companionship.

For an hour each week, students can make a difference in the life of a senior adult while gaining a wise new friend who has valuable life experience.

Group activities include pumpkin decorating parties, veterans events and Valentine balls at area nursing homes and assisted living centers. Some students choose to work with hospice patients and their families by making visits, putting together gift baskets and sending cards of encouragement.

Contact Judy Duvall at duvallj@obu.edu for more information.

I love our weekly visits and getting to know a new friend.
– Mrs. Weems

Getting to visit and walk through life with a senior adult is awesome! I look forward to visiting each week and forming that friendship with my elder.
– Gracen Hambrick

TranServe students


With TranServe, students can have a record of volunteer hours on their university transcript.

This is a great way to stay connected to needs in the community as weekly emails are sent to TranServe students with local options for service. A permanent record of volunteer hours is helpful when applying for jobs and graduate schools!

Service hours include any volunteer activity for which the student is not paid. Elrod Center staff work closely with students to connect them with places of service in the community.

The process is simple!

  • Register for TranServe each semester.
  • Record volunteer hours on the hour verification form.
  • Serve a minimum of 20 hours.
  • Turn in these hours to the Elrod Center at the end of the semester.
  • Your semester transcript will reflect these hours.

Apply Now

Thanksgiving baskets

Thanksgiving Baskets

Ouachita volunteers help feed families in need by providing Thanksgiving baskets.

Each year Ouachita students, faculty and staff collect and donate goods, assemble baskets and deliver the components of a holiday meal to families in need. Books, Bibles and homemade goods are included in each basket. The center works with school counselors and Lighthouse Ministries to identify families who will benefit and partners with the Sodexo Stop Hunger Campaign to feed approximately 100 families.

Contact Leigh Anne McKinney at mckinneyl@obu.edu for more information.

feed Arkadelphia

Feed Arkadelphia

Feed Arkadelphia combats food insecurity and food waste in Arkadelphia.

Each week, Elrod Center volunteers partner with the Sodexo Stop Hunger Campaign to box leftover food from the campus dining hall and deliver it to families in the community.

Contact Bryce Krisell at kri68646@obu.edu for more information.

Gwyneth HadasaFeed Arkadelphia has allowed me to follow my passions. Every week my friends and I witness the family’s anticipation and the children’s squeals of excitement when we hand them the warm food. These expressions of joy warm my heart, especially when we leave knowing that these families are less hungry that day. The rewards from serving are beyond compare.
– Gwyneth Hadasa

Arkadelphia Human Development Center

Volunteers visit the center once a week to work with residents with developmental disabilities in both a male and female unit. Activities involve playing games, outdoor sports, reading and painting nails. Students also write personal notes to send to residents to encourage and provide friendship. For more information contact student leader: Shelby Cheek che74804@obu.edu.


Healthy Relationships Week

Healthy Relationships Week is dedicated to helping students make connections and strengthen bonds with each other.

Large group events, break-out sessions, chapel, Refuge, Noonday and a couples retreat are all focused on helping students, faculty and staff establish and maintain healthy relationships in all areas of life. The week seeks to provide the needed tools for success in interactions with others.

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BustilloThe couples retreat was a great time for us to get to know other married and engaged couples at Ouachita and learn how to manage conflict in a healthy and mature way.
– Sebastian & Hallie Bustillo



TaxServe is an opportunity for volunteers to make a difference in the community by offering a free tax preparation service.

Students and faculty are trained by leaders of the Central Arkansas Development Council and will receive a certificate from the IRS affirming they have received the training. This qualifies them to help community members fill out their tax returns at no cost.

Contact Diane Runyan at runyand@obu.edu for more information.

Spotlight sign

Spotlight on Arkadelphia

Held on the first day of classes, the Elrod Center’s first big event of the semester features dozens of vendors with information and giveaways.

Participants include churches, businesses, non-profits and medical providers. This is a fun and interactive event that provides our students an appreciation for all Arkadelphia has to offer.

Learn More

Enrichment Grants


Kluck Service Enrichment Grants

Students compete to be awarded Kluck Service Enrichment Grants (KSEG), which enhance existing university programs related to student activities and service.

Priority is given to proposals that maximize student involvement, have a strong service component and enhance student growth academically, spiritually, socially or physically.

Past Kluck Service Enrichment Grant recipients include:

  • La Fuerza
  • International Club
  • Backyard Bible Club
  • ElderServe Hospice

Apply Now


Elrod Service Enrichment Grants

Elrod Service Enrichment Grants (ESEG) are awarded to faculty and staff to support community engagement in and through the classroom.

Ouachita faculty can apply and receive grants to supplement classroom instruction and to incorporate a strong service component in classroom learning.

Past Elrod Service Enrichment Grant recipients include:

  • Business Administration/Bicycle Learning Activity
  • Social Justice Studies/Feed Arkadelphia
  • Tough Tigers at Group Living Inc. and Special Olympics
  • Public History/Student-Led Workshop at Rose Hill Cemetery

About the Grants

Elrod Service Enrichment Grants for Faculty will be awarded on a competitive basis to enhance faculty efforts to support university community engagement. Priority will be given to proposals that maximize faculty involvement and enhance faculty growth academically, spiritually, socially or physically.

Strategic Reasoning

This proposal supports one of the Strategic Direction and Goals set for 2018-2022 titled “Ensure Transformative Learning” and the sub-paragraph on elevating high-impact educational practices as a distinctive feature of the Ouachita student experience.


  • Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to enhance existing programs related to faculty community engagement activities. Any fulltime faculty member may apply. The proposal may be for an existing activity or a new activity. Priority will be given to proposals which maximize community engagement efforts. NOTE: For projects of a purely academic nature, please refer your requests to the Henry Grants administered by Academic Affairs.
  • Preference will be given to proposals demonstrating a servant-leadership and service-learning emphasis or projects that are entrepreneurial and creative in character.
  • Proposals may be submitted by an individual faculty member or by a cohort.
  • Proposals must be submitted to the director of the Elrod Center for Family and Community by noon on Friday of the fourth week of classes each semester. The committee will review applications and notify awardees within one week.
  • Grants may be awarded in any amount with the average award being $1,000. Preference will be given to non-repetitive grants.
  • Grant proposals should be concise and no longer than one page single typed and include the goal, a description of the activity, and itemized budget (including funds for the activity from other sources, if any), the manner in which the activity will be enhanced by the grant, the proposed service element and the proposed benefits to the community and faculty member.
  • Unused or surplus portions of the awarded grant money must be returned for reallocation to future projects.
  • A one-page evaluation report of the completed project should be submitted to the committee upon completion of the activity. The report must be given to the director of the Elrod Center for Family and Community by the end of the semester for which the award was given. Failure to submit a grant report will result in disqualification from applying for future grants.
  • Funds will be made available immediately following the awards announcement. Awards will be made each semester, fall & spring.
  • Faculty members will be designated as Elrod Faculty Fellows during the year of the award in recognition of their community engagement efforts and will be recognized each year at the Elrod Center service awards banquet.

Elrod Faculty Service Enrichment Grant Committee

Judy Duvall - Chair, Leigh Anne McKinney and Ian Cosh

Note: Funding for this project is provided by the Ben and Betty Lou Foundation-- a family foundation dedicated to supporting the work of the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community at Ouachita Baptist University.

Enrichment Opportunities

Enriching service-learning opportunities are provided through Elrod Center internships, the university classroom and events.

The Elrod Center provides opportunities for volunteers to use their unique abilities as well as their knowledge from their fields of study to serve their campus and community.

Elrod Center interns’ duties include running the center’s social media, graphic arts and baking for center events and programs.

The center partners with faculty to combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience.

Lunch and Learn events at the center support faculty and students by providing speakers from their fields of study.

Contact Us

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