Save our Neighborhood

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Lighthouse Promise, Inc.
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Lighthouse Community Center opened its doors in September 1999 with the purpose of becoming a vital community center bringing about positive change and long-term moral, education, and economic renewal in the Newburg community. The Lighthouse Community Center is an approved and endorsed site for the JCPS “Every 1 Reads” program. In addition to tutoring reading, Lighthouse also tutors in math, science, and computer skills.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Lighthouse Promise is located in the Newburg/Norfolk communities of Louisville, KY. Newburg is a high crime, drug infested, high vandalism, and gang involved area. During the last fiscal year alone over 2,000 felons released from Metro Corrections returned to Newburg to live. A single parent living below the poverty level heads 50% of Newburg households. The unemployment rate is nearly double that of Metro Louisville, and median family income is 2/3 of Louisville Metro. Many Lighthouse students (1) live in a one parent home (2) have numerous siblings with different fathers (3) are raised by grandparent or other non-parent guardian (4) observe drug addiction and/or abusive behavior in parent or siblings (5) observe criminal activity, gangs, and neighborhood bullies. Lighthouse fights this environment influence by empowering our students, offering understanding, care, love, and tutoring programs. While the majority of our time is spent with our students, we feel it is important to equip the entire community for success. Therefore, we offer GED courses and testing as well as Microsoft lessons in our Workforce Development Class. Without Microsoft and computers, this is impossible. Our entire curriculum is based upon teaching with computers and reaching out into the entire community. In contrast to the high crime rate, Lighthouse is proud to announce that over the course of our ten years, hundreds of children have gone through our program and NOT a single child has gotten in trouble with the law. In addition, we boast a much higher high school graduation rate. Demographics indicate that within the Newburg area 80.2 % of children graduate from high school while 96% of Lighthouse student's graduate. In addition Lighthouse students have higher grades on average than their peers and their deportment both at Lighthouse and at public school is better. The Lighthouse is a safe, caring place where each child consistently receives individual attention and where their dignity is respected.The Lighthouse Community Center is an approved and endorsed site for the JCPS “Every 1 Reads” program. In addition to tutoring reading, Lighthouse also tutors in math, science, and computer skills. Lighthouse mirrors the JCPS schedule and enrolls 68 “at risk” youth in the fall and spring semesters with 40 youth in the summer program. Demographics indicate that Lighthouse could be working with 250 youth if space were available. We are currently in planning stages of expanding our facility. We plan on increasing the facility by 22,000 square feet. The total estimated cost of this expansion is $997,000. The building will allow Lighthouse to work with 250 “at risk” youth, 54 adult GED students, and 20 adult students in the “Workforce Development Program.” It will also allow for a recreation area where team building skills will be taught through basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, etc. This building will also house a “Disaster Relief Center.”). Obviously, more Microsoft equipment will be needed in this new facility.Lighthouse offers a full GED program with support from JCPS. Currently 27 women, mostly single mothers at or below poverty level are enrolled in the program. We expect that over 95% of these will qualify for the GED. Lighthouse also offers a “Workforce Development” program that teaches computer skills to 15 women per class. Lighthouse offers a Saturday program, “Boys 2 Men” that works with 30 boys ages 9 to 16. Several of the boy`s fathers are former felons released from Metro Corrections who don`t want their sons to make the mistakes they made. Recognizing the participants in these programs do not have the means to pay all Lighthouse Programs are offered at no charge. Further all programs are at full capacity with a waiting list, that we hope to handle with an expansion of our current facilities. Lighthouse offers programs in the areas of education and art. Our fall & spring semesters mirror the Jefferson County Public Schools schedule. In education, Lighthouse offers tutorial and homework assistance in reading, math, science, and computer training four afternoons/evenings per week. The fifth evening is set aside for special events, choir practice, dance training, field trips, art instruction, Karate, etc. Lighthouse is an approved and Endorsed Site by the Mayor and JCPS for its “Every1Reads” program Our Boys-2-Men program is offered on Saturdays to 30 boys ages 9-16. This program allows these at-risk youth and their fathers or other mentor to learn to make better life choices and eliminate the destructive behavior (i.e.: drugs, gangs, violence) these boys face daily.Another new program is our evening offering of GED study courses. We currently enroll 27 women from the community to increase their likelihood of passing the GED and moving forward to a more successful life. Finally, our Workforce Development Classes take these adults one-step closer to success. This class has been expanded to 15 adults that are learning the computer skills needed to join the workforce. Students are taught Word, Excel, Power Point, and the Internet. Our goal is to positively impact the community by education of neighborhood adults as well as children.Lighthouse Regular Programming: Carol Wellman directs the Lighthouse choir, which has 31 members and is growing. The Dance Team has 22 members and is instructed by Portia White-Mohamed a professional dancer with ArtsReach, which is a part of the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Children in the choir and dance troupe have performed throughout the Louisville Metro area, including singing at the Kentucky Center prior to Nutcracker performances. The dance troupe has also participated in recitals at the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Clifton Center. As part of our arts program, we have taken students to productions at the Kentucky Center and other sites such as the Crane House and Actors Theatre.In January 2007, Lighthouse began our Government Program. Due to their environment, many of the Newburg/Norfolk children have seen acquaintances, friends, and in some cases family members arrested and taken through the court system. This causes fear and resentment towards the police, justice system, and government in general. The “Government Program” includes an Annual Safety Fair where Sixth District Metro Police, Okolona Fire Department, and EMS come to Lighthouse and give both Lighthouse and Newburg community children and parents an opportunity to meet and become acquainted with “First Responders”. During the fall and spring semesters, members of the police department, EMS, attorneys, a judge, members of Metro Government, and a Representative from State Government come to Lighthouse to spend time with the children. During the summer session, the children are taken to a police station, fire station, jail, courtroom, and on a visit to the Capitol in Frankfort. As they become acquainted with “First Responders” and “Government Officials” it helps to change children’s attitudes to friendship and shows them how to reach the “First Responders” in time of emergency.Lighthouse also offers summer programming 5 days a week from 9:30AM through 3:30PM. All fall and spring educational programs are continued during the summer. In addition, the children receive both a delicious snack and a free nutritious lunch daily. They receive age appropriate reading material furnished by Louisville Free Public Library Bookmobile. They participate in gardening, and both day and overnight camping. Over the past four summers, Lighthouse has participated in Camp Shakespeare, which concludes with a performance at C. Douglas Ramsey Amphitheater in Louisville’s Central Park. Our “Bridge” program helps the children continue their reading and math skills in order to prevent “backsliding” over the summer. Each July, the Lighthouse holds a free Health Clinic giving back-to-school physical exams, complete with necessary immunizations for up to 150 children. Lighthouse offers this to our own children and to all the Newburg/Norfolk neighborhood children, kindergarten through twelfth grade. A team of doctors, dentists, and nurses perform the exams. The Lighthouse Board voted to use funds received in memory of one of its founders to establish a Scholarship Fund. These scholarships are awarded to Lighthouse students who finish high school and wish to continue their education. We currently have former Lighthouse students receiving scholarships at Lindsey Wilson College.With our after- school and summer programs, we anticipate that the children will seek to achieve and maintain better grades so that completing high school and attending college will be each child’s goal. We have seen vast improvement in their grades in the ten years we have been open. We encourage the children to improve by one letter grade in Math and Science. We hope that our influence will give them higher expectations for what they want out of life. We want them to “reach for the stars”. Using the “KidTrax” program, we monitor Lighthouse children both at Lighthouse and as they continue through their school career.

The programs at Lighthouse are available and of benefit to the entire community. Our center is open to all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, special needs, or religious preferences. In order to meet the needs of the community, Lighthouse offers all programs and services free of charge. Additionally Lighthouse offers free shuttle services between facility and participant’s residences as needed.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact