22nd annual Stand for Children Day SUCCESS!

This year’s 22nd annual Stand for Children Day was held on Tuesday, June 18 at the Bowling Green Ballpark. More than sixty vendors (business and organizations) were featured and more than 1,100 attendees attended the 2019 Stand for Children Day. While it did rain on us during the event, it did not hinder the spirit of those attending or keep people away. A thank you to the It was a great event.

Thank you to our 2019 title sponsors:

On Monday, June 17 we also held our Proclamation and Ribbon Cutting, sponsored by the City of Bowling Green and the County of Warren, in conjunction with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and our sponsors. We week of June 17-21 was recognized as Stand for Children Week.

For pictures, highlight video, and more information, be sure to check out the Stand for Children Day page at: https://www.commed.us/stand-for-children-day/

Collecting Soccer Cleats

Do you have soccer cleats that are no longer used but do not know what to do with them?

Community Education is joining with Refuge Bowling Green to collect and redistribute soccer cleats through the Kentucky Ambassadors Soccer Club. If you or someone you know loves soccer but has outgrown cleats that are gently used or new, this would be a great way to recycle them and enrich the lives of other children.

Cleats can dropped off at the Community Education office, one of our school-age programs, or our summer camps.

Give back and share the joy of the game with others!

30th annual Volunteer of the Year award winners announced

Outstanding volunteer teams and individuals were recognized on April 28 at the 30th annual Volunteers of the Year Awards, presented by BB&T, American Legion Post 23, and BGMU, at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library. The following individuals and groups were recognized for their service.

Anne Grubbs Spirit of Serve Award- Chris Dressler, Community Education

Chris Dressler, is the 2-1-1 Contact Center Director for United Way of Southern Kentucky. She has served on the Community Education Board of Directors for more than six years, previously served as vice chair, and now as chair since November of 2016. Her service extends to the Bowling Green Independent School District where she serves as a member of the Board of Education and previously served as board chair. She also serves as a mentor, served on the Bowling Green High School Steering Committee, the BGISD Community Advisory Cabinet, American Red Cross, serves on Citizens Foster Care Review Board, and has volunteered with the Bowling Green Junior High School and Warren County Cooperative Extension Office’s “Reality Store.”

This award recognizes individuals who excel in quality, length and spirit of service to others.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Chloe Carter, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding

Lynne Gilcrease, The Public Theatre of Kentucky

Martha Jenkins, PhD, Eloise B Houchens Center Board

Teresa Sneed, BGJHS Youth Services Center

Team Spirit Award- English, Lucas, Priest, and Owsley, LLC, Community Education

Sponsoring Community Education’s Blockbusters at the Ballpark is just a drop in the ocean of what ELPO and its staff members do to support our community, both financially and in direct service to others. They not only give back to the community that has supported them and helped them grow but get involved and make a difference. They encourage employees to get involved and volunteer, from mentoring children to serving on non-profit boards of directors. The following are a few of the many ways in which ELPO supports various programs and organizations in our community: United Way of Southern Kentucky, Crimestoppers of Bowling Green and Warren County, Center for Courageous Kids, SKyPAC and Orchestra Kentucky, mentoring children in the Boys to Men program, sponsor of Bowling Green Pride, sponsor of Mud Happens benefiting the Family Enrichment Center, and much, much more.

This award recognizes groups who work together to provide service in the community.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Camping World, Toys for Tots

Eloise B Houchens Center Board, Romanza Johnson

SKyPAC Ambassadors, SKyPAC

Rookie Award- Cheryl Lacefield, Eloise B Houchens Center Board

Since being appointed to the Houchens Center Board about a year and a half ago, Cheryl became involved in every activity and project of the Board. She volunteers for whatever need arises. She has served as hostess for Trees of Christmas; prepared food for events, catered card parties and other events; and donated items to the Gift Shop. Her service extends beyond the Center and into the community as she has served on the WKU Alumni Association Board, with WKU Family and Consumer Sciences Alumni, Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society Alumni, Warren County Home Economists, and many other local charitable events such as the Chocolate Festival supporting Hospice of Southern Kentucky.

This award recognizes an individual or group who is new to volunteering or starting their service with an organization during the last 24 months.

The other volunteers recognized were:

Gracie Davis, The Public Theatre of Kentucky

Greg Senser, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding

BB&T Spirit of Community Award- The Son Rhea Foundation

During an era when declining state revenues force difficult choices for school districts, fundraising (and instrument collecting) by the Son Rhea Foundation and an ever-growing number of professional and amateur musicians who support it has raised about $400,000 to provide south central Kentucky students with band and orchestra instruments that neither the children’s families nor the school districts could afford. (This does not include the many instruments collected in drives to get used instruments donated, repaired as needed, and distributed to the bands and string programs as well.)

Patrick O’Rourke, the orchestra director for Bowling Green City Schools, said that without the instruments, he would have to turn away many students who want to play music. O’Rourke added that for many of these students, band is their reason for coming to school.

Son Rhea Foundation’s mission states, “giving children the opportunity to participate in music and art will not only enhance their appreciation of the fine arts but will enrich their lives and guarantee future generations similar opportunities.” With board members like Tony Lindsey (founder), Kyle Frederick, Greg Lyons (who refurbishes instruments for use in the schools), and David Dorris, just to name a few, the future of music for children in our area is secure.

This award goes to an organization or business that merits special recognition for volunteer service in the community.

POSTPONED: 15th annual Summer Activities Fair


BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The 15th annual Summer Activities Fair scheduled for Thursday, April 25 at the Bowling Green Ballpark is being postponed due to a forecast of thunderstorms.

The fair will take place on the rain date of Monday, April 29. Gates will open at 5 p.m. The fair will conclude at 6:30 p.m.

Community Education, Bowling Green High School Youth Services Center, Natcher Elementary Family Resource Center, and the Bowling Green Hot Rods co-sponsor the annual Summer Activities Fair. The purpose of the fair is to provide parents, at no cost, with children in grades k-12 a one-stop shop opportunity for information on activities, camps or other programs offered during the summer in and around our community.

The fair typically includes information on a wide variety of summer activity opportunities, including art; bike safety; cheerleading; church activities; climbing camp; day camps; internet safety; music; outdoor and nature activities; planes, trains, and automobiles; junior police academy; reading; scouting activities, a wide variety of sports camps; theater; and much, much more.

For more information, please contact Community Education at 270-842-4281.


United Way of Southern Kentucky’s (UWSK) LIVE UNITED Awards and Annual Meeting

Congratulations LIVE UNITED Award Winners!
(January 24th, 2018) – More than 270 Southern Kentucky residents joined United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) for the LIVE UNITED Awards and Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 24th at the Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green.

The evening served to recognize the triumphs of organizations that excelled in furthering the mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky in 2018. Fifty-three awards were presented during the celebration to individuals and organizations representing Allen, Barren, Butler, Hart, Logan, Simpson and Warren counties.

Steve Thurmond, United Way of Southern Kentucky Board Member and Executive Director for the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce, emceed the event as United Way of Southern Kentucky presented the following awards to organizations for their support in 2018:


Volunteer Investment Awards
Top Organizations with the largest % of employees volunteering in multiple United Way functions
Fruit of the Loom
Logan Aluminum
The J.M. Smucker Company
Trace Die Cast
U.S. Bank – Area Wide


Organization that embodies the Live United spirit through year round support and enthusiasm for United Way
Honorable Mentions:
Logan Aluminum
Ventra Plastics
Logan Memorial Hospital


Greatest Giving Increases (employee and corporate giving combined)
Increase of $5,000 – $9,999
Berry Global
Community Action of Southern Kentucky
Franklin Precision Industry
Trace Die Cast
Warren RECC

Increase of $10,000 – $14,999
Graves Gilbert Clinic
LORD Corporation
The Murphy Construction Group

Increase of $15,000 – $19,999
Houchens Insurance Group

Increase of $20,000 – $24,999
The City of Bowling Green

Increase of $40,000+
Logan Aluminum

New Campaign Partner of the Year
JPS Wealth Advisors of Hilliard Lyons

Leadership Investment Awards (employee giving)
Most leadership dollars (gifts of $1,000 or more) from organizations employing:
Less than 100 employees: BKD LLP
100 – 250 employees: The Murphy Construction Group
More than 250 employees: Fruit of the Loom


Top 10 campaigns for overall corporate and employee giving in 2018:
10. Warren RECC
9. LORD Corporation
8. The J.M. Smucker Company
7. The City of Bowling Green
6. The Murphy Construction Group
5. U.S. Bank – Area Wide
4. Trace Die Cast
3. UAW – General Motors Corvette Assembly
2. Fruit of the Loom
1. Logan Aluminum

Also recognized during the evening was a student organization that is working to support and promote United Way’s efforts. Student United Ways are campus based student led organizations that work in partnership with local United Ways. Currently there are more than 80 Student United Ways around the world spanning five countries. Here in Southern Kentucky, the following organization was recognized:
Western Kentucky University Student United Way

For the third year, United Way of Southern Kentucky presented the Shooting Star Award. The Shooting Star Award winner was chosen from applications submitted by United Way partner programs on behalf of clients who had exemplified courage and tenacity in overcoming obstacles and has used United Way services to build a better life. This year’s Shooting Star Award was awarded to:
Kiosha Owens (Submitting Agency: The Foundry)

For the third year, Community Impact Partnership Awards were presented to organizations who have excelled in moving the needle on United Way’s Community Impact work through their partnership. Each has been instrumental with their impact in the areas of Education, Income, Health, and/or Safety Net. The Community Impact Partnership Awards were presented to:
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake: Kindergarten Readiness
The BKD Foundation: Kindergarten Readiness
Charles M. Moore Insurance: Kindergarten Readiness
Family Enrichment Center: Kindergarten Readiness
U.S. Bank: Kindergarten Readiness
Graves Gilbert Clinic: Imagination Library
Fruit of the Loom: Imagination Library
Trace Die Cast: Kindergarten Readiness & Transportation
Allen County Career & Technical Center: College & Career Readiness
WBKO: Advocacy
The City of Franklin: 2-1-1 Contact Center

Finalists for the premier award of the year, the LIVE UNITED Award, were presented via video throughout the evening. This award was presented to the company that exemplifies United Way’s core Give, Advocate and Volunteer goals through outstanding campaign support including increased giving, high participation and per capita, advocating internally and externally on behalf of United Way throughout the year, and exceptional volunteer participation from a large base of employees. Special consideration was given to those organizations with specific support to United Way’s work in Education, Income, Health, and/or Safety Net.

The top three finalists for the LIVE UNITED Award included: Logan Aluminum, The Murphy Construction Group and Trace Die Cast. Following the recognition of the three finalists, the Live United Award was presented to: Trace Die Cast

During the Annual Meeting, three new incoming members of the United Way of Southern Kentucky Board of Directors were approved including:
Andrew Bedi, Greenview Regional Hospital
Tom Flynn
Stefanie Jones, Fruit of the Loom
Zach Massey, The Murphy Construction Group

As well, the following members were approved for an additional term on the board:
Todd Kanipe, Citizens First Bank
Lindsey McClain, American Bank & Trust
Steve Sinclair, Graves Gilbert Clinic

In addition, the following slate of officers were approved by the membership for 2019:
Tommy Adams, Charles M. Moore Insurance – Chairman
Mike O’Kelly, Farmers National Bank – Chair Elect
Stacey Hughes, Treasurer

Four board members were recognized for their long term commitment to United Way of Southern Kentucky as they retire from their service on the board:
Mike Sherrod, Tristar Greenview Regional Hospital
Ken Campbell, Ventra Plastics
Nora Roper, General Motors Corvette Assembly
Thad Connally III, First Choice Home Medical

Finally, Donna Harmon was recognized for her service and inspiration as the 2018 Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Debbie Hills, President and CEO for United Way of Southern Kentucky, said, “Tonight’s celebration is the culmination of a year of outstanding efforts by many partners in the community. The accomplishments by the organizations recognized tonight will support long-term community change in our priority focus areas of Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Most important are the thousands of lives that will be impacted through that work which is made possible by the combined generosity of those honored tonight, as well as hundreds of other organizations that support our efforts.”

For more information on how you can LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating, and volunteering with United Way of Southern Kentucky, visit www.LIVEUNITEDToday.comor call 270-843-3205.

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community.United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.