This is an excerpt from the nomination for Robert Holt as Man of the Year:
25 years ago Robert Holt of Bryant did not know he would be leaving a 6 figure income to work with youth on the streets, schools and communities of Arkansas. But in 1993, Holt said God called him to the streets to work first with youth involved in gangs.
Before Holt’s journey to the streets, he graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and went to work for his father at Freightliner Trucks for 18 years.
While he was at Freightliner, Holt was a volunteer youth director for Second Baptist Church in Little Rock; then he also helped several churches build their youth ministries. These activities would prove to help Holt in his bigger mission yet to come.
While teaching a Sunday school class, Holt asked the students what the world was missing – they said love. That is where Holt’s mission to clean up the streets began.
“I had always planned to retire by the time I was 35 years old, and I was well on my way when God pushed me out of my cushy day job to the streets,” Holt said…
In 1994 Holt began his grassroots effort to reach youth in schools and neighborhoods by forming the nonprofit organizaiton L.O.V.E. Let Our Violence End. The program trains individuals to identify and intervene in the lives of at-risk youth.
Holt said the primary purpose of LOVE is to provide comprehensive, compassionate, and quality services to youth with behavioral emotional or addictive challenges. To achieve his goals, LOVE provides or trains others to provide everything from education on gangs, drugs and cults to mentoring, bullying prevention and in-schools suspension enrichment….
(Editor’s note:They also started and enrichment center)
The center’s food bank, which is open weekly, was the first thing opened and it grew from there. In 2014 they gave out over 6000 meals, 4300 food boxes, 600 bicycles, 700 youth recieved Christmas gifts, 75 jobs through Labor Force, 15 GED graduates, and they are in the process of equiping churches aroung the state to mentor the more than 7000 youth whose parents are incarcerated. This partnership is through Prison Fellowship, Angel Tree.