BARBOURVILLE, KY — Union College recently completed an ARC Flex-E-Grant project that laid the foundation for an after-school program for area youth.
Union College was awarded $9,500 through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Flex-E-Grant program, which is administered by The Center for Rural Development, to develop a youth wellness program.
Union College developed the program to serve Knox County youth ages 6-13 years old. The program employs a research-based health program that promotes wellness, nutrition, and physical activity. Activities include training community members to serve as health leaders, hosting parent and child wellness workshops, community cooking events, and engaging youth in afterschool and summer wellness programs.
“Since the grant was awarded, Union College is now offering afterschool programming for youth ages 6-13 four days a week,” said Gina Johnson, of Union College. “Operating under the auspices of a neighboring Boys and Girls Club, our program is designed to help students living in a region of high poverty and low school performance improve their academic achievement in STEM content, literacy, and life skills through the application of effective, research-based practices and experiential learning during non-school hours.”
Union College partnered with other local community organizations such as county extension services, Barbourville Independent Schools, Knox County School District and the City of Barbourville.
The Center for Rural Development (The Center) and the Brushy Fork Institute at Berea College worked together to identify projects that align with the goals of the Flex-E Grant Program and support other regional initiatives such as Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and the Kentucky Promise Zone. The grants provide a critical resource for communities to plan and implement projects that address both local and regional development efforts.
The 2017 ARC Flex-E-Grants funded 22 projects totaling more than $180,000 in grant funds with a minimum of 20 percent matched locally. The grants were awarded in economically distressed counties, as designated by the ARC, including Carter, Clay, Cumberland, Estill, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Letcher, Magoffin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Morgan, and Whitley counties.
Three additional multi-county projects with a regional development focus impacted counties of Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Whitley, and Wolfe.
These Southern and Eastern Kentucky communities used the grants to engage local residents in planning processes that explore strategic approaches to community and economic development, and projects that resulted in assets for tourism, downtown revitalization, youth development and other areas.
For more information on The Center’s Flex-E-Grant program, contact Patti Simpson at 606-677-6000.
Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.