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Foundations team up to bring back Get Ready! program

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Preschoolers, parents again will receive summer opportunity

By Kelly Cantrall

Central Kentucky Community Foundation and the PNC Foundation are once again helping young children “Get Ready!” for their future education.

Get Ready!, a program for children from birth through age 5, which debuted last summer and was created by the Central Kentucky Community Foundation, returns this year with funding from PNC Foundation.

The PNC Foundation is donating $42,000 and serve as the camp’s financial sponsor for the second year. Sabrina Mills, a vice president of PNC Bank, said she and others wanted to be part of the program again.

“We were so impressed with what they’d done and the comments we received,” she said.

The program took place at North Park Elementary School and Central Hardin High School last summer. For several weeks, children and parents could work with preschool teachers on age-appropriate lessons. They could attend as often as they liked, and parents were given suggestions of lessons they could do at home.

The day camp served 328 children and 220 adults. The program also had a child-care component in which the preschool teachers discussed with child-care workers the ways they could implement similar lessons into their daycare settings. The program worked with 28 child-care workers last year.

Davette Swiney, vice president of the community foundation, said she knew she wanted to bring the program back after seeing the students at the camp. Seeing the difference a few weeks made for the children “just told me what a need there is, and how important this need is,” she said.

Research has shown that many students start kindergarten already behind their peers. Swiney said those children deserve all of the same opportunities. Without these types of programs, the community doesn’t enable them to succeed.

“I think as a society that’s surely not what we want to be,” she said.

The funding just covers the costs for this year. Swiney said the foundation is working to make the camp a continuing opportunity.

The details of this year’s camp aren’t known yet, but Carlena Sheeran, director of early childhood education at Hardin County Schools, said she is ready and willing to help in any way she can.

“I’m just thrilled that we’re able to offer this opportunity to our community again,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.