Centre, Heart of Kentucky United Way share goals for strengthening community
Last week, Centre President John A. Roush and leaders from local school districts participated in a community conversation about a shared topic of interest — public education.
The discussion, “Good Public Schools Are the Foundation of the American Dream,” included representatives from Centre, Heart of Kentucky United Way (HKUW) and local Chambers of Commerce, along with school district leaders from Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties. The group met to discuss critical impact strategies to mobilize local communities to improve education, health and financial stability.
Facilitated by Ben Nelson, a consultant for HKUW, and Roush, the meeting’s goal was to promote collaboration among community members to engage the community and find solutions to common challenges.
“Wednesday’s conversation participants collectively underscored the need for supportive communities, effective schools and strong families working together,” says Roush. “We should look at a child’s needs as a whole person, not just as a student — using strategies and approaches rooted in research.
“Preparing our children for successful lives starts in early childhood and continues into early adulthood,” he continues. “A single positive mentor and role model can make a huge difference in a child’s life. Tackling the education challenges in our communities may require some fundamental change and reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.”
Janie Pass, HKUW executive director, says these conversations help shed light on complex social issues and this is only the beginning of this kind of community collaboration.
“We have an incredibly caring group of educators who wouldn’t be in this profession otherwise,” she says. “That’s why in the months ahead we will be reaching out to hold additional conversations with other education experts from the four counties Heart of Kentucky United Way serves. Additionally, we will be hosting conversations with area experts on the health and financial stability challenges we are facing together in our local communities.”
This initial community meeting is part of a larger set of conversations occurring across the HKUW service area. The discussions will help HKUW assess local community needs in education, health and financial stability, and bring together stakeholders to find long-term solutions to these challenges.
To find out more about Heart of Kentucky United Way, visit www.hkuw.org.