LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington Public Library and YMCA of Central Kentucky have entered into a strategic partnership, offering an NTI (non-traditional instruction) Learning Lab for residents living in the Cardinal Valley neighborhoods. LPL is providing a physical space, furniture, computers, wi-fi, and translation services for French and Spanish speakers (as needed) while the YMCA provides staffing, programmatic guidance, curriculum, and enrichment activities.
Additionally, in partnership with God’s Pantry Food Bank, children will receive a take-home meal each afternoon. The NTI program will be offered Monday-Thursday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The program began last week at the Village Branch Library located in the Cardinal Valley area off Versailles Road.
“The Library, YMCA, and the Library Foundation are deeply committed to this project and the residents of the Cardinal Valley area,” said LPL Executive Director Heather Dieffenbach. “We know that many children may suffer from social isolation as well as limited academic achievement and parental support during Fayette County Public School’s NTI-2DL instruction as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions.”
LPL and the Y recognize that the cost of $65 per child, per week, is a significant barrier for many who reside in the Cardinal Valley neighborhoods and who will most benefit from this service. For this reason, both partners are seeking private funding to enable them to offer the Learning Lab at the Village Library at no cost to participating families.
“As an organization dedicated to youth development, we know how important it is that our children have a safe and enriching environment for learning and that’s why the Y has been stepping in to fill the gaps to changing community needs. Being a resource for children and families during this time is part of delivering on our promise to strengthen community,” said Jessica Berry, vice president of mission advancement for the YMCA. “We are pleased to partner with the Lexington Public Library is an initiative that is critical to ensure all students have equitable, safe learning environments to continue to grow and thrive while schools are operating virtually.”
The Learning Lab will accommodate 20 students per week. After a 10-week period, the program will be reevaluated on the needs and the plans of Fayette County Public Schools for the spring semester.
The Y and LPL are working with the family resource coordinators at Cardinal Valley Elementary, James Lane Allen Elementary, Leestown Middle, Dunbar High, and Lafayette High Schools to identify students who most need assistance.
In accordance with state guidelines, transportation to and from the Library is the responsibility of the participating families. Participants will be required to observe all YMCA and Lexington Public Library safety protocols, including mandatory face masks and physical distancing. In the event of a COVID-19 exposure at the Learning Lab, participants will follow the YMCA’s childcare guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all staff and students.