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.

29th annual Volunteers of the Year award winners announced

Outstanding volunteer teams and individuals were recognized April 22 at the 29th annual Volunteers of the Year Awards, presented by BB&T, BGMU, and Kirby & Moore, LLP, 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- Kevin Wiles, Community Education

Kevin, the deputy chief of police for Bowling Green and former Marine, has served on the Community Education Board of Directors for more than nine years. During that time, he has been instrumental in assisting the agency with the sometimes unpleasant aspects of human behavior that are encountered while providing a safe and engaging environment for children. His guidance in those more unfortunate circumstances has been pivotal in protecting both children and staff members. Kevin also was a steadfast supporter of Community Education’s long-running fundraiser, Spellabration, serving wherever he was needed. His service to the community includes: volunteering with Greenwood High School’s swim, track and cross-country teams; and serving on the security team and teaching junior and senior high school boys at Eastwood Baptist Church.

This award recognizes those excelling in quality, length and spirit of service to others.


The other volunteers recognized were:

Danny Bays, Lost River Cave & Valley

Nick Carter, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding

Virginia Cole, SKyPAC

Romanza Johnson, South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block

Connie Pittman, Romanza Johnson

Tony Rose, Marissa Shelton


Team Spirit Award- Stuff the Bus Foundation, Community Education and Marissa Shelton

During the third week of July each year, at Bluegrass Cellular on Campbell Lane, you will find Tony Rose and the amazing Stuff the Bus Foundation Board building a bus “city.” Tony literally lives in a school bus for the week in hopes that our generous community members will drop off school supplies. The bus “city” is staffed 24-7 for nearly 100 hours. Why does the team of STB work so hard? It’s because their mission is to meet the school supply needs of school-age children, ensuring that every child starts the school year on an equal playing field, regardless of background, home life, or economic status. Since 2005, more than 100 tons of basic school supplies, sports equipment, clothing, and monetary donations have been collected serving ten counties and 20 after-school programs. With the creation of a Stuff the Bus Scholarship Fund through Western Kentucky University, they hope to enable the same students they helped in K-12 attain their dreams of a post-secondary education.

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


The other volunteer groups recognized were:

ARGI Financial Group, Lee Alcott

Car Seat Safety Matters, Andy Vickery

Kentucky Public Health Association: WKU Chapter, BGJHS Youth Services Center

New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding Instructor Team, Chloe Carter

Sierra Club Mammoth Cave Chapter, Lost River Cave & Valley

SKyPAC Ambassadors, SKyPAC


Rookie Award- Ryan Depp for Ryan’s “Making a Difference Outreach,” Doug Depp

According to his dad, Doug, the thought of 14-year-old Ryan wanting to help people probably meant making a couple of trips to Salvation Army. Doug admits, “Boy, was I ever wrong!” By October 2016, Ryan’s “Making a Difference Outreach” was born. Ryan started by packing sack lunches to hand out to our homeless community, then began handing out pizza on Wednesdays, and finally organizing clothes and blanket drives. The Outreach currently serves 25-40 hot meals each Saturday. Ryan also has arranged, collected, and distributed 200 pairs of shoes and more than 2,000 pairs of socks. Ryan also has found time to support other service organizations such as: Morgantown Food Pantry, WKU Hilltoppers for Christ, First Saturday Homeless breakfast, Feeding America, Stuff the Bus, Realtors for Hope, Room in the Inn, and many more. Cecilia Herrell said, “In a dark world, Ryan brings a ray of light and hope to the community. The world needs more people like Ryan Depp.”

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


The other volunteers recognized were:

Teresa Douglas, Janel Doyle

Kayla Fugate, South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block

Diana Hankla, Operation Stand Down Kentucky

Emma Jeppsen, New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding

SKyPAC Ambassadors 2017-18 Recruitment Class, SKyPAC


BB&T Spirit of Community Award- Graves Gilbert Clinic

While this year marks their 80th anniversary of providing a “lifetime of care,” it is their commitment to the people of south central Kentucky that we honor Graves Gilbert Clinic. A very small list of the agencies and organizations that have been impacted by their volunteer service or financial contributions includes: the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Autism and Asperger Support Group of Bowling Green, Barren River Animal Welfare Association, Car Seat Safety Matters, Center for Courageous Kids, Community Education, Empty Bowls of Bowling Green, Family Enrichment Center, Hospice of Southern Kentucky, Orchestra Kentucky, South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, and Warren County’s Relay for Life.

Debbie Diamond, Director of Human Resources and Marketing (right), along with VIA Board member, Joshua Smith, accepts the BB&T Spirit of Community Award on behalf of Graves Gilbert Clinic.

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


Special thanks to our sponsors: BB&T, BGMU, and Kirby & Moore, LLP, Caterer Lisa Bearnson, Graphic Designer BJ Jordan, Oak Tree Awards & Recognition, Rickman Pottery, Emcee Tony Rose, D93 WDNS, 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]