Merlene Davis: YMCA to continue school-supplies giveaways

Herald-Leader columnistAugust 2, 2011 

  • Preparing for school

    Immunizations, dental checks and physicals are available at HealthFirst Bluegrass (formerly known as the Primary Care Center) at 650 Newtown Pike. For an appointment, call 288-2307.

    Immunizations only can be received at these locations:

    ■ Public Health Clinic South, 2433 Regency Road. For an appointment, call 899-5201

    ■ Public Health Clinic North, 805A Newtown Circle. For an appointment, call 288-2483.

  • Free school supplies

    "Ready, Set, Go!" back-to-school rallies, which offer free backpacks of school supplies, will be held Aug. 6. Supplies will be given out at noon, and registration is 9-11 a.m. To donate money for the backpacks, call (859) 226-0393. The locations are:

    Cardinal Valley Park: 2077 Cambridge Dr.

    Carver Neighborhood Center: 522 Patterson St.

    Castlewood Park: 201 Castlewood Dr.

    Douglass Park: 726 Georgetown St.

    Duncan Park: 530 North Limestone

    Eastland Church of God: 2598 Liberty Rd.

    First Baptist Church Bracktown: 3016 Bracktown Rd.

    Gainesway Park: 3460 Milano Dr.

    Gardenside Christian Church: 940 Holly Springs Dr.

    Imani Family Life Center: 1555 Georgetown St.

    Marlboro Park: 561 Benton Rd.

    Pralltown: 190 Lou Johnson Way

    Rock/LaRoca United Methodist Church: 1015 North Limestone

    Russell Cave Church of Christ: 1841 McCullough Dr.

    Spiegle Heights Park: 424 Spiegle St.

    St. Peter Claver Catholic Church: 410 Jefferson St.

    Temple of Prayer: 549 Parkside Dr.

    William Wells Brown Community Center: 548 East Fifth St.

    Woodhill Park: 457 Larkwood Dr.

The start of school can wreck an already strained household budget, because some students must have required health certificates and examinations in addition to the necessary school supplies.

Fortunately, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the YMCA of Central Kentucky are willing to help in each of those categories.

That's a good thing, because crunch time is here. In just nine more days, schools in Fayette County will welcome students back to class.

Transfer students, and students entering kindergarten, Early Start and sixth grade, must have immunization certificates and physical check-ups as required by state law. The younger students also must have eye and dental exams.

All of those check-ups can be completed at your pediatrician's office, or parents can take the child to the Health Department, where the cost of examinations is based on a family's income. Insurance, KCHIP, medical card, cash and credit cards are accepted.

Once that is taken care of, parents can concentrate on securing school supplies. The YMCA has stepped up to help parents in that area.

For the last five years, LexLinc — a partnership of citizens, government services and agencies — hosted "Ready, Set, Go!" back-to-school rallies at which supplies and backpacks were distributed to 8,000 students of all ages.

But LexLinc was dissolved in September, a victim of the economic downturn. During those five years, the YMCA was involved with the rallies, so when LexLinc faded from existence, the YMCA decided to keep the rallies going.

"It is a part of what the Y is all about," said Nicola Fleming, YMCA school-age director.

The rallies will be held Aug. 6 in 19 sites. Information will be handed out, activities will be enjoyed and food will be eaten before backpacks containing school supplies are distributed.

Each backpack contains a kit filled with supplies appropriate for each age group. Kentucky Utilities bought the backpacks, but the kits cost $10. Unfortunately, some of the sponsors who helped LexLinc with those costs in past years couldn't help out this year.

"I think a better way to say it is that the YMCA committed to sponsoring the program this year in hopes that the traditional sponsors would be able to still help as in the past," said Gail Glasser, president and chief executive of the YMCA. "Unfortunately many longtime donors were unable to do so, and yet the Y felt compelled to honor the commitment we made to the community volunteers and 8,000 children."

So, as in past years with LexLinc, if you have enough to donate $10 for a kit, the YMCA would be glad to receive your gift. The host has changed, but the need hasn't.

We all must join the YMCA in stepping up where we see a need. No one else can do it if we don't.

Reach Merlene Davis at (859) 231-3218 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3218, or

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