Any child registering to start kindergarten at a Fayette County public school in August will be offered free and low-cost activities to prepare them for their first day of school through the Countdown to Kindergarten program.
Students who are registered at any one of Fayette County's 34 elementary schools will receive a letter welcoming them to school and explaining Countdown to Kindergarten. They will also receive a coupon for a free T-shirt that can be redeemed at any Lexington Public Library branch. The T-shirt will be their ticket to any of the events throughout the summer.
Countdown to Kindergarten events will begin June 9 with Lexington Ballet Company's "Dance to Kindergarten Workshop" and will continue all summer ,with events offered by the following partners: Explorium of Lexington, Lexington Ballet, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Legends, Lexington Parks and Recreation, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Public Library, Living Arts & Science Center and the YMCA of Central Kentucky.
For more information about Countdown to Kindergarten, go to UWBG.org, FCPS.net/kindergarten or Childcarecouncilofky.com.
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Trailgating at the Top
Saint Joseph Hospital, now part of KentuckyOne Health, presents "Trailgating at the Top," a summer kickoff lawn party at Spindletop Hall featuring live music, food, swimming, lawn games, beer/wine, and raffle/silent auction. The event takes place at from 1 to 6:30 p.m., Sunday at Spindletop Hall on Iron Works Pike. Cost is $5 a person at the Legacy Trail/Spindletop entrance; $10 a person at the main Spindletop entrance or $35 a carload. Kids 12 and younger are free.
The event will feature music by Chris Carpenter and Conch Republic.
Proceeds will benefit Bluegrass Tomorrow. Buy tickets at Trailgatingatthetop.eventbrite.com. Go to Bluegrasstomorrow.org for more information.
2nd Sunday on Runway
The third annual 2nd Sunday on the Runway event will be June 10 at Blue Grass Airport.
"This event will provide members of the local community with 4,000 feet of flat, smooth runway surface to be active with friends and family while enjoying a rare opportunity to exercise in an aviation environment," said Eric Frankl, executive director at Blue Grass Airport.
The public is invited to bring bikes. New this year is the United Way's 5K on the Runway, sponsored by BC Wood Properties, beginning at 7 a.m. Race participants will run the 5K on the runway. "It's a unique race course with a unique view," said David Kitchen, director of brand strategy at the United Way. "How often are you given a flat, wide open course where you can watch the airplanes take off and view some of the most beautiful green space at the same time?"
2nd Sunday events begins at 1 p.m. For more information, go to GHKY.org.
Taking grant applications
Lexington Clinic Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit that raises and distributes funds to support scholarships as well as patient and community-based health services. Local charities who are meeting health-related needs in Central and Eastern Kentucky are invited to submit a grant application to LCF. For eligibility requirements, guidelines and an application, go to Lexingtonclinicfoundation.org/grantseekers.html. Grant applications are due by 4 p.m. Aug. 10. Awards — ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 — will be made by late October.
Red Cross heroes
The Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross completed its fifth annual Heroes Campaign presented by Wal-Mart on May 17. The Heroes Campaign is a community awareness and fund-raising campaign that seeks to recognize people who are making a difference in the community and to support the local Red Cross through financial contributions.
A campaign team of 43 community leaders, led by Toyota's Wil James and his wife, Michaelene, began work in February and has raised more than $157,000 for local Red Cross programs and services. During the campaign, donors raising or contributing a minimum of $1,000 were eligible to nominate someone as the 2012 Red Cross "Hero of the Year."
The 2012 Red Cross "Hero of the Year" is Vicki Blevins from Pink Connection. Blevins is the person behind Kentucky Pink Connection, an organization dedicated to assisting women fighting breast cancer. Her work was recently recognized by the Lexington Fayette County Health Department.
Finalists were: Ashley Boyd Gann, founder, CEO, chief accountant, head fund-raiser and chief cook for Sweet Blessings, a non-profit that seeks to bring joy to impoverished or ill children by providing a memorable birthday with an amazing cake; and members of the Hypnotiq Motorcycle Club, who serve as role models to the children enrolled in the Early Head Start and Head Start classes at the Community Action Council's Southeast Lexington Child Development Center. They prepare classrooms and food for Head Start open houses, fill backpacks with school supplies and read to the kids.
Others recognized as 2012 "Hero of the Year" were:
■ Jennifer Allen, who donates her spare time to multiple charities including the American Diabetes Association, Angel Tree and Visually Impaired Preschool Services. Allen has served on the Advisory Board of VIPS for the last five years.
■ Cheryl Barber, an American Red Cross volunteer who dedicated her time to those affected by the tornado outbreak on March 2 in Eastern Kentucky. Barber worked nights in the tornado shelter, provided mental health services and was a crucial link to the American Red Cross.
■ Kim Darland, an employee of Wal-Mart for 29 years, who has raised thousands of dollars for the American Red Cross, Children's Miracle Network, Special Olympics, the DARE Program, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.
■ Dr. Ray Garman and Gerry van der Meer, co-chairs of the Flight 5191 Memorial Commission. They successfully led the memorial commission through an intense process of site selection, design selection and fund-raising. The result is a sculpture in the Hospice Memorial Garden at the UK Arboretum.
■ Dan May, who became an advocate for blood donations after his daughter was born with a condition that required two open-heart surgeries and blood transfusions before she was a year old. He is the blood-drive chairman for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, where he works. May served on the board of the Kentucky Blood Center for six years.
■ Jennifer Mynear and Doug Mynear, parents of Jarrett Mynear, the founder of Jarrett's Joy Cart, which was dedicated to making hospital stays less lonely and less scary for children. After Jarrett's death in 2002, the Mynears continued the program. Today, there are multiple chapters all over the country. In Lexington, more than 35,000 gifts have been given to patients at the Kentucky Children's Hospital.
■ Alan Stein, who created a community-oriented organization dedicated to giving back to the Bluegrass with the Lexington Legends. His initiatives include the Baseball Buddies Program, Community Organization of the Night, the Strike Against Tobacco Campaign, the Hit the Books Reading Program, and the Field of Dreams Program. Stein also was instrumental in keeping Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass afloat during a recent financial crisis.
■ Jenni Williams, a certified athletic trainer with the Fayette County schools. During a conditioning drill for a high school basketball team, an eighth-grade student collapsed. Williams treated the student with an external defibrillator and then administered CPR. The student's family was later told that Williams saved their son's life.
Piano lessons for adults
Beginning group piano classes for adults 60 and older are being offered at The Music Institute of Lexington starting the week of June 11.
Each group piano class has a maximum of eight students and meets for 60 minutes once a week for 8 weeks. Classes are held in a group piano lab connected to a conferencing system. It enables each student to hear only his or her piano and the instructor's piano, fostering a relaxed, stress-free learning environment.
An open house will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 6 in the The Music Institute piano lab inside of Trinity Hill United Methodist Church, 3600 Tates Creek Road.
The beginner-level classes cover basic principles of music reading and keyboard skills. No music background is assumed or required, and participants will develop keyboard skills that enable them to play for their own pleasure. It is not necessary to own a piano to enroll in a class. There are more advanced levels for those who have had piano training in the past and would like to begin studying again.
For more information, contact The Music Institute office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (859) 273-9991 or go to Musicforlexington.org.
St. Paul First Communion
Children at historic St. Paul Catholic Church received their First Communion and afterwards released biodegradable balloons with prayers attached for the city of Lexington. St. Paul Catholic Church is planning to launch a campaign by the end of the year to raise money to restore its steeple, which is original to the building built in 1865. The steeple has been an iconic element of Lexington's skyline for almost 150 years. The restoration project is estimated at $1.8 million.