Volunteers in Action (VIA) recognized outstanding volunteers on April 16 at the 32nd annual Volunteers of the Year Awards. The event at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library was sponsored by WNKY News 40, American Legion Post 23, and BGMU.


Anne Grubbs Spirit of Service Award

Linda Krutza, honored by Community Education

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



Linda serves on the Community Education Board of Directors, as the Chair of its Advisory Council, and on the planning committee for the 50th-anniversary celebration. She also is a steadfast supporter of events such as Blockbusters at the Ballpark, Stand for Children Day, Teen Angel, and the former fundraiser, Spellabration. She has volunteered in any role in which she could be of service to Community Education or the event.

Her service to the community also extends to Hope House, where she serves on their board and assists with their various events; the Institutional Review Board at Western Kentucky University; and her many years of service at Rich Pond Baptist Church. She has been a member of Rich Pond for 37 years and has given her time to the music, children’s, student, and adult ministries, as well as serving people all over the world through missions.

Linda is also a member of the VIA Executive Committee and the steering committee of Vision: a multi-agency council of Warren County.

Her drive and commitment to improving the quality of life for all in our community are why we recognize Linda Krutza.



This year’s other nominees were

Jerry Bray, honored by Community Action RSVP


Sandy Riley, honored by Kids on the Block


Ashlea Shepherd, honored by Debi Wade Jordan


David Smith, honored by Community Action RSVP


Stephanie Weckerly, honored by New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding



Team Spirit Award

First Christian Church Community Grocery, honored by Saturday Meals

This award recognize those groups who work together to provide volunteer service in the community.


The vision statement of the First Christian Church Community Grocery store states it “hopes to increase the number of relationships formed with the guests and neighbors” who visit the grocery. The mission statement describes how the church and grocery “walk alongside its neighbors with dignity, compassion, and respect while supplementing their food needs.”

FCC operated a food pantry for more than 20 years in downtown Bowling Green. However, in August 2021, the church decided to try a grocery store model for two weeks. Each guest was allowed to “shop” at no cost for the food items they wanted. Feedback from the trial was so positive that FCC moved to a permanent grocery model in October of that year.

They now offer each “neighbor” (their name for food recipients) the opportunity to shop for what they need and want. Adding fresh produce, milk, pet food, laundry detergent, and hygiene products created a more typical grocery shopping experience.

Volunteers are encouraged to be active listeners, make eye contact, have relaxed body language, not be in a hurry, and introduce themselves and invite the guests to do the same. Everything the volunteers at the Community Grocery do is designed to provide food items in an environment that serves those in need with dignity and respect. As such, we recognize First Christian Church Community Grocery as Saturday Meals’ Team Spirit Award honoree.

This year’s other nominees were

American Bank & Trust, honored by Community Education


The team of Patricia Brown and Dorothy Taylor, honored by Community Action RSVP


Leadership Bowling Green, honored by Kentucky Kids on the Block


Rookie Award

Judi Clark, honored by Community Action RSVP

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


Nestled along the town square in the quiet town of Scottsville, there lies a church with an outpouring of resources. First Methodist Church member and RSVP volunteer, Judi Clark, operates the food pantry and hot meal kitchen through the church’s outreach ministry programs.

One of the ministries housed in the church is The Hand Up Food Pantry & Clothes Closet. This ministry offers shelf-stable items to qualifying residents, as well as clothing and household items for families. On average, the pantry serves 20-25 families each week in a community that, according to a Feeding America study, approximately 1 in 7 people (or 13.5 percent) are food insecure.


Also housed in the church is Open Hearts Café, which is open once a week for residents to come and enjoy a free, hot, home-cooked nutritious meal.
Judi also maintains a backpack program for homeless people.

As a retiree, Judi spends most of her days shopping for food, sorting donations, planning meals for the cafe menu, and operating the facilities while supervising volunteers and assisting clients with paperwork. From writing grants, securing funding and resources, to operating Christmas toy drives, Judi is dedicated to serving her community and making an impact on those in need. She has served more than 658 hours through both stations, influencing more than 1,630 hours of service from the volunteers who serve there.





This year’s other nominees were

Boy Scouts of America, Troops 705 and 1920, honored by Toys for Tots


Cindy Campbell, honored by New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding


Max Marley, honored by Kentucky Kids on the Block


Spirit of Community Award


This award is selected by the Executive Committee of Volunteers in Action and recognizes an organization or business that merits special recognition for its volunteer service in the community.


Many people recognize that Starbucks as a corporation gives back globally in significant ways, but the local store on Scottsville Road makes a tremendous impact on the Bowling Green-Warren County community in a million little, and not-so-little, ways.

Of course, coffee leaps to mind as the logical donation that Starbucks provides to nonprofit events to keep folks chugging along at elementary, middle, and high schools for teacher appreciation week; fall festivals; track meets; swim meets; pancake breakfasts; Muffins with Mom; Doughnuts with Dad, and more. They donate to Empty Bowls’ fundraiser for food pantries, for United Way events; Volunteers in Action; Vision: a multi-agency council; and to keep those runners and walkers warm at the Run/Walk for Children, the Medical Center’s 10k Classic, and the March of Dimes Walk for Babies.

They also donate tasty treats shared in massive quantities in their booths at fundraisers such as the Hospice Chocolate Festival and the Taste of Bowling Green.

Starbucks does not only donate their goods, but the Scottsville Road store also provides volunteers and space for fundraising events. In addition to being a vendor for Relay for Life, they also man (or woman!) a team for the event.  For 11 years running they have hosted the Teen Angel Donation Blast on the first Friday in December to raise money for teenagers who need Christmas assistance.  They provide coffee and treats for volunteers who work the Blast as well as those who donate to the cause.

They built and run a mini food pantry behind their store. They encourage community members to drop off donations of food and personal hygiene products, but the staff keep the mini pantry clean, organized, and stocked.

Although most people don’t know it, the staff at this Starbucks quietly has provided more than a few homeless people with a place to sit out of the elements, a warm beverage, and something to eat. They provide compassion while maintaining dignity.

Other groups and causes Starbucks has supported includes: partnered with the Kids SpOt Center to host an All-Abilities Easter Egg Hunt, Bowling Green-Warren County Habitat for Humanity, BRASS Inc.’s Shop and Share (in-store donation drive), Community Education – Stand for Children Day and Summer Activities Fair, HOTEL INC’s Chili and Cornbread Luncheon and in-store donations, Hope Harbor, International Center of Kentucky’s World Refugee Day, Kentucky Kids on the Block, Lost River Cave – Cocktails and Trails, Snowflurry Scurry, and adopted an area to keep clean, Realtor’s Association – Hope for the Homeless Food Drive, Saturday Meals, and the 2021 Tornado Relief – partnered with American Red Cross, participated in clean-up projects, and served lots of coffee.

Special Thanks

Me & My Girls Catering, Oak Tree Awards & Recognition, Rickman Pottery, VidMonster Productions, Warren County Public Library, and, of course, our judges.

Volunteers in Action is made up of a core group of diverse agencies and organizations that rely on the dedication and commitment of community volunteers. For more information on VIA or the VIA Volunteer of the Year Awards, contact Joshua Smith at (270) 842-4281 or [email protected].

2022 Starbucks Foundation Neighborhood Grant recipient

We are honored to be a recipient once again. The local Starbucks locations have been tremendous supporters of ours and of Teen Angel. A huge thank you is due to Maria Jones and her championing our causes.

2022 Blockbusters at the Ballpark- MOVIE Announcement

31st annual Volunteers of the Year- EXTENDED DEADLINE

Winter 2022 Enrichment classes NOW OPEN!


Our Winter Enrichment class list appeared in the Daily News on Sunday, Dec. 19.  You can also check out the full-page ad of our monthly class listings in the SOKY Happenings, you can find copies around town or here in our office.

Be sure to check our website at www.commed.us/taking-classes/ for the latest updates. Our class offerings are a mix of online and in-person. We are following all guidelines at this time. If changes happen to the class(es) you have registered for, you will be notified once they have been made.

Remember, “it’s never too late to learn!”

We celebrate Before-school and After-school professionals


We are celebrating Before-school and After-school Professionals Appreciation Week on April 19-23, 2021.

“We believe after-school and before-school professionals make a profound difference in the lives of young people,” said Erin Lightfoot, Associate Director for School-Age Programs. “We encourage everyone to join us this week in thanking the before-school and after-school professionals in their lives.”

Community Education has been providing after-school programs in local schools since the fall of 1983. Community Ed currently has almost 50 full-time and part-time staff members working in their School-Age programs, with the majority of the part-time staff members current WKU students.

Community Education currently operates before-school programs in four Warren County schools and 12 after-school programs. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, programs were also offered in Bowling Green Independent School District schools. “We look forward to being back in the City schools this fall,” said Lightfoot.

Before and after-school professionals are skilled individuals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of positive developmental relationships and experiences during out-of-school hours. Currently, in the US, an estimated 850,000 individuals are practicing members of the profession. An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs nationally each year, and for every child in an afterschool program, there are two more waiting to get in.

“Every young person deserves quality after-school experiences that positively impact their development. It takes skilled professionals to create these experiences. Because of the important role before-school and after-school professionals play in the lives of kids, they deserve recognition and support,” said Lightfoot.

Support our Programs

Community Education relies on the support of our generous community to continue to meet the needs of Bowling Green-Warren County through the programs we offer. Remember, ALL donations are tax-deductible.

Did you know that by supporting Community Education through your donation you will be supporting children in our program? For children with special needs, a one-on-one aide can be provided at $5,300 per child for two semesters. The aide provides additional support for the child to be an active and engaged participant in the program. Your support will make a difference for families with special needs children that are enrolled in our program.

Absolutely 100 percent of the money raised stays here in Warren County and will be used for our programs. Such programs include before- and after-school programs that provide child care to about 1,000 local children of working parents; Teen Angel, which provides Christmas assistance to needy teenagers in school; enrichment opportunities for adults; summer activities for children, and much, much more.

We could not feasibly cover such costs without generous donations from our community.

Thank you!

For more information about the many ways to support us, go to our DONATE page at https://communityeduc.wpengine.com/donate/

COVID-19: UPDATE – Office Closed and All Programming

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://communityeduc.wpengine.com/stand-for-children-day/

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.