Hundreds gather to celebrate Berthenia Gill and youth advocacy program

More than 200 in- and out-of-state guests braved the frigid cold to celebrate the successes of Youth Advocate and Resource Network, Inc. (YARN) during its first Appreciation Lunch Banquet on Jan. 20. A major focus at the event was celebrating YARN’s founder and outgoing director, Berthenia L. Gill. Her husband, the Rev. Alvin Gill, was by her side.

The vibrant celebration was held at Stone Hill Ranch in Mayflower (Faulkner County) and was catered by Rock City Kitchen.

Proceeds from the fundraising event will support YARN’s educational programs, which have two goals: to expose children to enlightening, historic travel experiences in Arkansas and around the country and to engage youth with a diverse and empowering early childhood literacy program.

The YARN Center in Mayflower provides after-school tutoring, early childhood literacy programs and community safety forums, as well as a Summer Art Camp and a Garden to Table Summer Program in partnership with the Mayflower High School Future Farmers of America. Other partners include the American Indian, Antonio Jamison Success Center, City of Mayflower, UCA AmeriCorps, Regular Arkansas Baptist Convention, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other community partners.

Rev. Alvin Gill (from left), Honoree Berthenia Gill and Mike Raney with First Security Bank.

During her remarks, honoree Gill thanked the YARN kids for their heartfelt remarks and recognized their achievements and growth. The children were awarded trophies and certificates. Gill also expressed gratitude to YARN’s partners and sponsors and appreciation plaques were presented to Arkansas Community Foundation, ARVEST Bank, Bank OZK, Buff Blass, Central High School National Park Service, Centennial Bank, HCC Concrete Pumping, Farmers Bank & Trust, First Security Bank, Jim Baker, Moncrief One Team, Simmons First Foundation, UCA AmeriCorps and 501 LIFE Magazine. 

Tributes to Gill were provided by many YARN partners, including Mayor Danny Hester, Pastor James Mackey, Pastor Walter Pace, the Rev. Kevin Daley, Arkansas Community Foundation’s Shelly Mehl, Dr. Lloyd Hervey and YARN Office Manager Pat Basing. Additionally, Sidney Moncrief announced the naming of a significant scholarship in Gill’s name to honor her legacy of exceptional community contributions and her profound impact on countless youth and adults. The closing prayer was offered by the Rev. P.E. Davenport, pastor of Palarm Chapel M.B. Church, where Gill is the longest-serving member.

The incoming program director is Gill’s daughter, Maria Hoskins, who is a distinguished children’s book author and publisher who was featured as Author of the Month in 501 LIFE Magazine in December 2023. Hoskins served as chairperson of the event-planning committee. 

Anyone wishing to volunteer or donate to YARN may do so at or contact its director at 501.336.4726 or through [email protected].