Falling in love with the 501

by Brittany Gilbert

I can’t think of a better place to live than the 501. I’ve lived in a big city, and I’ve lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone, and Conway is my happily ever after. 

I get excited thinking that my children get to grow up in this town, in this area, where there is so much available to them and yet there is a small town feel. It’s not hard to appreciate what I now call my hometown of Conway, but I also want to teach my children how to develop a love for their community. 


Participate in community events and support small business

I know that the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce works hard to provide opportunities for families to enjoy and experience different activities and events. Christmastime is my absolute favorite. Toad Suck Daze is another awesome time where the community shows off its fun side. 

We have so many amazing businesses in the 501 that are run by hardworking families with big dreams. Consider getting your coffee from one of our very own, unique coffee shops in town. Enjoy a meal out at a local mom-and-pop restaurant. 


Organizations with opportunities to serve the community abound around the 501. We love to partner with the Arkansas Dream Center, both in Conway and Little Rock, for different events they are sponsoring. 

Bethlehem House in Conway is an amazing organization that relies on community help as well. 

A simple call can get you connected with these places and help you find out what needs they have and how you can help. 

Project Zero is an organization that supports the children in our community who are looking for a forever home. 

See a need/create a service project

A few years ago, some ladies noticed that there were a lot of homeless people in the winter months and that their pantries were overflowing with plastic Walmart bags. What do the two have in common? Not much. Except that these ladies were also skilled at crocheting. They started crocheting sleeping mats out of these plastic bags that everyone has way too many of in their homes.

They saw a need and they filled it with what they already had in their possession. 

Maybe your bigger kids love to mow lawns and can help the elderly by taking care of their yardwork. Maybe your younger kid needs to read a certain number of books a month to reach a goal in school and can visit a nursing home and read to some men and women. 

We know of several kids who have donated their birthday presents to kids in need. When we teach our children that we have all that we need, they start to see that there are some families and children in our community who do not. 

Let’s help our children (and ourselves) to see the needs around us and develop a stronger love for our community through giving back and serving others.


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and a daughter and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].