AKR hires new Community Relations Director

Little Rock native and Harding University graduate Matthew DeSalvo has been chosen as the new
Director of Community Relations for local children’s literacy non-profit, AR Kids Read.


DeSalvo brings a wealth of knowledge to the position from his undergraduate degree in public
administration, including his capstone paper about how illiteracy impacts individuals from lower
socioeconomic backgrounds.


Executive Director of AR Kids Read Charlie Conklin added that DeSalvo’s banking background and
his interpersonal skills will also be a great asset for AR Kids Read.


“The experience and passion that Matthew brings will help us strengthen the relationships with our
schools, partners, and sponsors and we know that will help AR Kids Read reach more children and
be a positive addition for Central Arkansas schools,” Conklin said.


According to DeSalvo, knowing his work will positively impact children is what makes his future at
AR Kids Read so exciting. “It gives these children the opportunity they so desperately need to excel
in life,” he said.


A fourth generation Arkansan who dreams of starting his own non-profit, DeSalvo wants to build up
the next generation of young leaders in Arkansas.


“I am extremely passionate about the youth in our community,”DeSalvo said. He will also carry this
passion into his education as he pursues a master’s in social work at the University of Arkansas at
Little Rock this fall.


However, DeSalvo’s commitment to the community does not stop with work or school. He is a mentor
for two teenage boys at Silver City Church and helps mentor youth of all ages as a baseball coach. He
also uses his free time to invest in the two most important people in his life, his two younger brothers.


DeSalvo replaces Kirsten Elliott, current Director of Community Relations for AR Kids Read. Elliott,
who started as a public relations intern in the summer of 2013, will be pursuing her master’s degree
in public policy at the University of Utah this fall.

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