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Louisville Has Several City-Sponsored Programs for Kids

Candice Barry's 4-years-old son, Andrew, is growing up in Louisville's Russell neighborhood, where more than 60 percent of people live in poverty and about 27 percent of people never finished high school, according to U.S. Census data.

"I don't want him to be part of that group," she said. "I want my son to go to school and do what he's supposed to do."

To get him into the mindset that school is something he is "supposed to do," Barry enrolled him in preschool at St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education on 26th Street as soon as she could.

After a few weeks, she said she noticed Andrew's mental development progressing. He began scrawling his name on the sign-in sheet. He started pointing out familiar letters.

"That, by itself, has caused him to grow so much more than being at home all day," Barry said.

This summer Barry will enroll Andrew in summer programming at St. Benedicts, too. The program isn't free, like the preschool, but at just about $10 a week, it's much cheaper than other child care options.

And the benefits Andrew reaps are priceless, his mother said.

Now parents like Barry will have more options for things to do with their children during the summer.

Young people in Louisville will have access to 80 city-sponsored summer programs, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Monday. That's in addition to hundreds more offered by local colleges, museums, churches and non-profit organizations.

For more detailed information regarding summer programs, go here.

And earlier this year, Fischer announced plans for the Cultural Pass program, which gives kids free access to more than 30 educational attractions around the city.

Young people taking part in summer programs will also have access to free TARC passes, Fischer added.

"There's no excuse for students to spend the summer losing all the knowledge they've gained during the school year," Fischer said.

Barry said spending a summer with nothing to do can be a recipe for trouble for young people.

"God only knows what they might see, what they might get into, what new friends that they might meet that they don't need," she said.

For parents juggling jobs and bills, summertime can be a struggle.

"A lot of parents don't have anywhere for their kids to go," she said. "It's a really big hassle, versus just being able to bring your kids here for the summer and get done what you need to get done and still put food on the table."

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.