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.
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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.