10/21/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/21/2020 08:45
Louisville, KY (October 21, 2020) - The Churchill Downs Foundation Relief For Equine Industry Needs (R.E.I.N.) Fundrecently announced that it was able donate $5,000 to the Backside Learning Center (BLC) at Churchill Downs Racetrack, a nonprofit that provides educational programming and social services to backside workers and families, for its recently opened NTI learning hub. The BLC's JCPS Community Learning Hub is a home base for students who are learning virtually during this school year and is located in Beechmont Baptist Church. The BLC rents a full wing of the church, including six large classrooms, office space and several smaller tutoring rooms.
The space was already in use by the BLC as a satellite location for an after-school program for backside children, but was shuttered at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, BLC staff worked tirelessly to help students engage with virtual learning. They spent endless hours on calls with JCPS teacher and administrators, as well as internet providers to advocate for reduced-cost internet. The team also solicited donated computers and tablets, as almost none of the families had devices or internet and workers' children were not able to engage in school. By the end of the school year, nearly all of the families had some sort of donated device as well as home internet.
During the summer, the BLC made the decision to reopen at Beechmont as a JCPS Community Learning Hub for the 2020-21 school year. Many of the families no longer had internet, but more importantly, due to the work schedules of parents on the track and English predominantly being spoken as a second language at home, the students needed daily support to assist with technology troubleshooting and homework help.
The hub at Beechmont opened in September after much preparation to ensure readiness and safety for all. Today, they operate 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, serving 35 students daily. Through a partnership with Dare to Care, which Churchill Downs Racetrack helped subsidize with a $2,000 donation, lunches are provided to each student as well. In addition to academic help, students are engaged in outdoor activities and social and emotional developmental work.
With the $5,000 donation from Churchill Downs Foundation's R.E.I.N. Fund, the hub will be able to provide individual learning kits to each child in order to best meet them where they are in their academic process. Additionally, the donation helps cover the expenses associated with renting the satellite space and keeping it routinely cleaned and sanitized.
The R.E.I.N. Fund, or Relief for Equine Industry Needs, was established by the Churchill Downs Foundation in response to the growing needs in the racing industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent interruption of customary racing operations. The emergency relief fund specifically addresses the needs of backside communities by providing meals, micro-grants and financial assistance with emergency needs as well as the fulfillment of essential care for horses.