The student-led Engage Lead Serve Board's MLK Day of Service garnered 235 volunteers Monday, a record turnout. They helped pack warm kits for the homeless, stocked shelves at a food pantry, assembled medical binders, and much more at 12 area nonprofits: Brooklawn and Bellewood, La Casita Center, Critically Loved, The Food Literacy Project, Americana Community Center, KY Science Center, Harbor House of Louisville, Dream Factory Inc, Lampton Baptist Church, UofL composting project, UofL Garden Commons and Dreams with Wings Inc.
From the state Capitol to Belknap Campus, University of Louisville research about and efforts to fight human trafficking are getting extra attention during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
UofL will have two new January campus events and offer its 10th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Conference to focus on the issue and to help victims receive aid.
And recent research by UofL’s Human Trafficking Research Institute, announced Jan. 7 in a Capitol Rotunda news conference with Governor Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron, indicates human trafficking, particularly of children and vulnerable youth, occurs at high rates across Kentucky, according to Jennifer Middleton, institute director and associate social work professor.
“These findings serve as a call to action and highlight the need for improved community education and awareness. To respond to this call, we are joining Gov. Andy Beshear, trafficking survivors and our university partners to elevate the conversation here on campus,” she said. “UofL students, staff and faculty can play an important role in preventing and addressing human trafficking in our community.”
The Frankfort announcement included initial results of Project PIVOT (Prevention and Intervention for Victims of Trafficking), which UofL did in partnership with Kentucky’s Department of Community Based Services and the Attorney General’s Office with two-year grant funding of $100,000 from the Kentucky Children’s Justice Act Task Force.
Researchers reviewed 698 reported cases of child trafficking over a five-year period between 2013 and 2018. The review was done primarily to answer the question of what happened to those cases in the child welfare system. Among the findings:
A majority of the cases involved family-controlled trafficking, meaning a family member (most often a parent or primary caretaker), gave offenders sexual access to the child in exchange for money, drugs or something else of value.
Children trafficked by family members were younger and more likely to have multiple perpetrators than those trafficked by nonfamily.
Younger children, rural children and children with previous child welfare involvement were more likely to have multiple perpetrators.
The involvement of drugs in child trafficking cases increased significantly during the five-year period.
Project PIVOT results will be used to ascertain gaps, systemic issues and opportunities for enhanced education, training and policy development.
“What we are finding is that the majority of the time, the crime of child trafficking isn’t being carried out by strangers passing through our towns,” Middleton said. “This has implications for how we educate our communities about child trafficking as well as how we prepare child welfare workers and first responders to identify and respond to potential child victims. Community awareness and enhanced training for professionals are key to preventing and addressing child trafficking in our state.”
Beshear invited state leaders, advocates and survivors to help draw awareness to the issue.
“By coercing victims into and profiting from forced labor and commercial sex, human traffickers represent some of the worst of humanity,” the governor said. “As attorney general I was honored to work with so many passionate advocates and survivors to help combat trafficking and as governor I commit to do the same. We will not stop until we end trafficking, and we must all work together to do so.”
Here are details about the free, public campus events:
A January 11 film screening and state premiere of “California’s Forgotten Children,” a documentary about child sex trafficking, and panel discussion afterward will be 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. Donations will be accepted to fight human trafficking in the community. Reservations are requested and can be made online. UofL’s Kent School of Social Work, UofL’s Women’s Center, Louisville Metro Human Trafficking Task Force and Louisville Metro Office for Women are sponsors.
A January 14 Human Trafficking Awareness Resource Fair and discussion will be in the Student Activities Center Ballroom. Featuring numerous agencies, the fair will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; stickers and survivor-designed postcards will be provided as part of a national #EndIt campaign. The fair leads into a 1:30-2:30 p.m. Critical Cardinal Conversation on Trafficking and Missing Women of Color by panelists including a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children representative, a parent and former police officer. Sponsors are the Human Trafficking Research Initiative, Project STAAR, Women’s Center, Cultural Center, Office of Diversity Education and Inclusive Excellence and Women 4 Women Student Board.
The 10th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Conference is 5:30-8 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Student Activities Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for a resource fair and light refreshments. Sponsors are the Women’s Center and the Women 4 Women Student Board.
Marion C. Moore middle school students are talking with students from different countries about a shared environmental project. UofL professor Mary Brydon Miller, from the College of Education and Human Development, is coordinating the global education effort to bring kids together on climate change.
“Part of what we want our children to understand is that climate change is happening everywhere, but it looks different in different parts of the world,“ Miller said.
Two of Moore teacher Ben Kolb’s science classes interacted with students from South Africa for more than an hour via Skype, asking about each other’s daily lives, the environment in their home countries and their shared project on climate change.
“We’re doing something called The DOT project and it stands for ‘do one thing,’” said Riley Burton, Moore middle school student. “Some of the ideas have been to take shorter showers and don’t use as much water. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, and use less plastic to help save the animals in the oceans.”
Sadie Dickinson, a Marion C. Moore student, was excited when she was able to interact with people from the country where she grew up.
“It was like a little taste of home, honestly. It’s a way to connect with them in a different way,” said Dickinson.
‘We are partnering with our schools here and in other parts of the world to try to bring the research and educational resources of the university out into the community to work together to address climate change,” said Miller.
“Our institution is proud to receive this national recognition for our efforts. Our faculty, staff, administrators and students are committed to working together to reduce apathy, increase engagement and graduate civic-minded students prepared to solve the most pressing challenges facing our country and the world,” said Pam Curtis, director of the Office of Student Involvement.
UofL won a silver award last year. This is UofL’s first year for a gold award. Data reveals a 9.7% increase in UofL’s voting engagement since 2014.
Student participation in elections nationwide has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the recent midterm election. According to Tufts University’s National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, voter turnout at more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%.
“We are excited to honor University of Louisville with an ALL IN Challenge gold seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “More institutions like UofL are changing the culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.”
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus.
More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.
Louisville Law students volunteer at an expungement clinic on Oct. 26, 2019. Clockwise: Alana Johnson, Elias Kang-Bartlett, Seth Wiseman, Maggie Groot, Sofia Calleja.
Several Louisville Law students volunteered at an expungement clinic hosted by the Louisville Urban League last month.
The Reily Reentry Project Expungement Clinic, named for local lawyer and Urban League board member Stephen Reily, drew hundreds of people who wanted to clear their criminal records.
"In law, 'expungement' is the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant’s criminal record as well as, ideally, the public record," according to the American Bar Association.
Having a criminal conviction can make it more difficult to find a job or rent an apartment. But expungements come with fees that can be a barrier to many people; in Kentucky, to expunge a misdemeanor costs $100 and to expunge a felony is $500. Reily committed $100,000 a year for three years to cover the fees from this clinic and clinics planned for the future. Louisville Law students also volunteered at a February 2019 expungement clinic.
"It was an absolute privilege to help the Louisville Urban League provide a service so desperately needed," says Sofia Calleja, Class of 2020. "An expungement of a record can help lift families out of poverty. It opens doors to better jobs with benefits and access to stable housing. It was an amazing learning experience."
Jarui Desai (’18) and UofL senior Praneeth Goli partnered for a project, called the Droplet Water Project, that is providing clean drinking water to those who need it most. After scoping different places and hiring on-site engineers to test the water in those locations, they are able to find the areas where they can make the biggest impact. After choosing a location, they work to secure funding, figure out the logistics and ensure legal compliance.
As of now, they have completed water projects in both India and Columbia. Desai believes very firmly in the mission of their organization and is rewarded by the smiles on young faces as they take that first drink of clean water.
“For the kids, it was exciting to have someone from a different country come in and play with them, but also provide them water,” she said. “But it’s not just the children; it’s the teachers, and their friends and families. The whole village now has access to clean water.”
The project hopes to expand globally, reaching as many underdeveloped communities as possible.
“There are other individuals that people can’t see right now that are in need,” Desai said. “We’ve been able to open other people’s minds up and get them to realize world topics.”
The renewal of a substantial grant will allow the University of Louisville Trager Institute to build on the success of programs aimed at care coordination, professional education, community building and Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness.
The Health Resources and Services Administration has renewed the institute’s $3.75 million grant to expand its Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) throughout Kentucky. The previous funding awarded in 2015 focused on areas in and around Louisville; the new funding will help the institute reach all 120 counties in the Commonwealth.
The UofL Schools of Law, Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing and the Kent School of Social Work will be part of this program to help individuals optimally age by intervening in multiple facets of care which include patients, their families and caregivers, interdisciplinary health professionals, practice models, health care systems and communities.
“This grant renewal speaks to the success of our Trager Institute, and we are deeply honored to be recognized at a federal level for our success and promise of future achievements to dramatically improve the health and well-being of older adults throughout Kentucky,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.
“To date, we have helped more than 300 older adults move toward the goal of optimal aging and we have trained more than 3,500 learners,” said Anna Faul, PhD, executive director of the UofL Trager Institute. “Our outcomes include the development of our nationally recognized Flourish Index which assesses the degree to which a patient is flourishing in six determinants of health. We’ve also had numerous publications and have included our model of care at the Republic Bank Foundation Optimal Aging Clinic.”
During the next five years, the program seeks to address the following core health needs of older adults in Kentucky:
High levels of chronic conditions and poor quality of life among older adults
Lack of a robust rural primary care system, particularly the low number of geriatricians
Lack of quality nursing home care in rural areas
The need to create age-friendly emergency departments
The need to coordinate coalitions and community stakeholders to maximize the potential of population health initiatives within rural environments
The need to train a health care workforce that can deliver culturally appropriate services to the growing Hispanic populations
Lack of knowledge among health care professionals about the need for alternative pain management strategies to address the risk of opioid misuse
The need for dementia-friendly communities and compassionate care for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia
Goals of the expanded efforts include strengthened partnerships, professional education for health care providers as well as students, community building and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias training using the institute’s own Compassionate Care curriculum.
Several hundred UofL faculty, staff, students and alumni flocked to several sites across the campus and city for the university’s inaugural week of service last week.
Cards Come Together service opportunities included a community cleanup in Old Louisville, a composting project, a beautification project with New Directions and volunteering at the Americana Community Center’s fall festival. In addition, daily on-campus donation drives benefited Dare to Care, Volunteers of America Shelby Men’s Recovery program, Jefferson County Public School students and Catholic Charities of Louisville.
President Neeli Bendapudi and Athletics Director Vince Tyra kicked off the week of service at the Red Barn during the Wear Red to be Fed cookout. Bendapudi asked the crowd to “…think of Cards Come Together as University of Louisville’s love letter to the city of Louisville.”
To show their passion, participants, including a slew of student-athletes, traveled to Old Louisville to begin the community cleanup by landscaping community green space.
Volunteers also painted faces and pumpkins at the Americana Community Center’s fall festival, painted and landscaped a Germantown house at the New Directions Housing Corporation beautification project and sifted worms in super soil and turned compost using pitchforks and shovels at the community composting project.
Niki King, communications and marketing specialist, participated in the community composting project and said the week of service fostered a sense of pride as part of the UofL family.
“I’m passionate about sustainability, so I was excited to have this opportunity to work on composting as part of Cards Come Together,” said King. “During the composting project, we learned that UofL has the only community compost in Metro Louisville, which made me appreciate just how vital UofL’s leadership is for the region’s sustainability efforts.”
King also pointed out that the service projects offered a rejuvenating change to the normal work day.
“I largely work at a desk all day. It was nice to have a change of pace and work with my hands in the outdoors for a bit,” she said. “It was refreshing.”
This is the seventh annual Open Studio Weekend, featuring more than 100 artists in all visual media. Established professionals, exciting newcomers and students, alumni and faculty from Hite Art Institute will share their work in unique studio spaces.
This year, the public may visit inside the Hite Art Institute’s new MFA Studio facility, a renovated warehouse at 1606 Rowan St. in the historic Portland neighborhood. Hite faculty and MFA students operate studios there in a range of media, including ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, painting, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, book arts and design.
This year also continues a partnership with LouVelo Bike Share, which makes free bike rentals available to OSW attendees from noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3.
In addition, a distinguished panel of curators from around the region will select works by participating artists to showcase in the Open Studio Weekend Juried Exhibition at Hite’s Cressman Center for Visual Arts, 100 N. Main St. All are welcome to a free opening reception during the First Friday Hop, 6-8 p.m., Nov. 1. The exhibition is on view through Dec. 14.
Open Studio Weekend is 12-6 p.m., Nov. 2 and 3. Tickets are $12, or $10 for students, art educators and LVA members. A ticket provides access to all participating studios and includes a 60-page publication with maps to studio locations, suggested routes, information, and images of participants’ artworks. Tickets are available on LVA’s website.
All proceeds from the weekend tour benefit the Mary Spencer Nay scholarship at UofL and Children’s Fine Art Classes through LVA.
Participating Hite students, alumni and faculty, with their studio numbers, include:
Betty Alvarez Painting 14, Britany Baker Drawing 37, Frank Baldwin Painting 29, Megan Bickel Painting 17, Lindsey Bishop Jewelry 36, Anne Borders Painting 29, Tiffany Calvert Painting 14, Rita Cameron Painting 39, Tom Cannady Painting 34, Geoff Carr Photography 20, Don Cartwright Painting 32, Dave Caudill Sculpture 27, Ying Kit Chan Mixed Media 14, Xin Chen Glass 13, Sandra Chu Painting 27, Andrew Cozzens Mixed Media 11, Sabra Crockett Painting 39, Katy Delahanty Mixed Media 12, Linda Erzinger Sculpture 38, Cassie Fischer Painting 36, Elizabeth Foley Printmaking 27, Jeanne Freibert Painting 35, Angie Reed Garner Painting 20, Will Garner Drawing 20, Terri Gilmore Sculpture 41, Johnny Gordon Glass 34, Jen Grove Calligraphy 23, Claudia Hammer Painting 19, Kaitlin Hennessy Mixed Media 23, Bryan Holden Sculpture 17, Noah Howard Mixed Media 12, Casey Hyland Glass 19, Dawn Johnston Painting 33, Joanna Jorgensen Jewelry 33, Kyle Keeney Mixed Media 35, Megan Kociscak Painting 40, Marti Kuehn Painting 34, Lisa Kurtz Ceramics 29, Lori Larusso Painting 11, Erica Lewis Drawing 16, Debra Lott Painting 44, Aaron Lubrick Painting 29, Scott Massey Sculpture 14, James Russell May Painting 37, Helen Merrick Painting 45, Melanie Miller Glass 19, Nancy Gordon Moore Painting 31, Deb Ogburn Mixed Media 34, Chris Owens Mixed Media 38, Peggy Peabody Painting 33, Amy Pender Glass 33, Tara Remington Mixed Media 11, Rosalie Rosenthal Photography 11, Catherine Rubin Painting 32, Debbie Shannon Printmaking 32, Danny Seim Mixed Media 12, Rachel Singel Printmaking 15, Stacy Staggs Painting 37, Debby Stratford Printmaking 31, Chuck Swanson Mixed Media 31, Victor Sweatt Painting 12, Rachid Tagoulla Photography 13, Maria Tinnell Fiber 40, Susan Tolliver Painting 44, Mark Traughber Drawing 19, Caroline Waite Mixed Media 31, Xuanyi Wang Painting 17, Katherine Watts Printmaking 15, Cletus Wilcox Mixed Media 23 and Jingshuo Yang Painting 16.
Last week, Flora Ponder received a proclamation from former Louisville Mayor Harvey Sloane highlighting her influence in Louisville. Ponder was one of the University of Louisville’s first black nursing students, attending school in 1954 during the peak of segregation.
She was inspired by her great-grandmother to attend nursing school and was the first African-American nursing student to live in the student nurses’ home. At that time, Louisville General Hospital was the teaching and research hospital for the UofL Medical School.
According to WHAS11, Ponder spent her career working to meet the health care needs of the underserved in collaboration with Sloane, who was a physician. She served as the head nurse of recovery and the Intensive Care Unit at the Louisville General Hospital from 1957-1958, and went on to serve as the head nurse at the Louisville and Jefferson County Health Department form 1959-1965.
Ponder helped to establish and served as the Director of Nurses at the Park-DuValle Community Health Center. She assisted in establishing the first emergency transportation service at Park-DuValle, which later expanded to the city of Louisville. This evolved into what is today the Louisville EMS Service.
Ponder currently serves as a nursing consultant to various health organizations. She is listed in the Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky and the Notable Kentucky African American database.
The Anne Braden Institute has received the 2019 southern regional W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. The award was given for their collaboration with the Fairness Campaign to research and write the 1st LGBTQ State Historic Context in the nation, housed at the National Park Service.
Also, Cate Fosl, Director of the Anne Braden Institute and Chris Hartman, Director of the Fairness Campaign joined Mark Hebert on UofL Today discuss their project and the history of the LGBTQ movement in Kentucky.
Registration is now open for the University of Louisville’s inaugural Cards Come Together event, a week of service to improve the campus and community October 22-25.
The goal for Cards Come Together is to have 1,000 UofL community members, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, participate in the event. Participants will complete projects both on campus and at off-campus sites throughout Louisville.
“One of the things that drew me to this university was its strong to commitment to improving the city of Louisville,” said President Neeli Bendapudi. “I’m so excited for us to work together as a cardinal family to showcase how much good we can do.”
Service opportunities during Cards Come Together include a UofL community composting project, community cleanup in Old Louisville, New Directions Beautification project in the Highlands and assisting with the Americana Community Center Fall Festival. Daily donation drive opportunities on campus will benefit various organizations, including Volunteers of America’s Shelby Men’s Recovery program, Dare to Care, Jefferson County Public Schools and Catholic Charities of Louisville.
“The University of Louisville takes pride in its role as a metropolitan research university,” said Ralph Fitzpatrick, vice president for community engagement and co-chair of the Cards Come Together Committee. “This week of service provides another opportunity for the university community to come together to fully engage in the welfare and vitality of the Louisville metro area.”
Participants must register in advance for Cards Come Together’s service opportunities at uofl.me/cardscometogether. Participation is entirely voluntary. This is not a work-related activity under the university workers compensation program. Staff can use Community Service Leave, but should obtain supervisor approval before registering to participate.
Mahfouz Matthew Batshoun and Antonio Burgess finished the spring semester and were ready to embark on a long-awaited summer – one, looking back, they now call life-changing.
While their friends packed bags for glamorous retreats to international destinations or tropical climates, the pair of UofL students and Pi Kappa Phi brothers chose to be part of their fraternity’s long-standing philanthropic initiative, The Ability Experience.
Each summer, members of Pi Kappa Phi trek across the country and participate in one of six nationally-known programs that are part of The Ability Experience, a nonprofit organization aimed at building relationships and empowering people living with disabilities.
Batshoun found one program that captured him immediately, Build America. The six-week-long event focuses on building or repairing accessible amenities for camps, specifically created to give those who have disabilities a summer camp experience.
“My great aunt was paralyzed from the waist down and before she passed away, she worked incredibly hard to push for equality for the community of people with disabilities in Kentucky, including things like the integration of accessible parking,” Batshoun said.
The sophomore from Northern Kentucky first traveled to Boston, where he and his 10-member team spent time bonding and receiving training on how to correctly use power tools. The group visited with and worked with campers in Ohio, Colorado, Arizona and California. At the end of each trip, Batshoun said his team presented a $5,000 grant from the money raised to each camp to aid in future projects.
Of the many memories he’ll carry with him, Batshoun’s time at Colorado Lions Camp stood out in particular. During a project, his team worked on repairing a wheelchair ramp for the girls’ cabin. One day, the only camper in a wheelchair asked Batshoun if he could test the ramp after it was finished.
“The next workday finished and we finally completed the wheelchair ramp, so I waited until after dinner to tell Easton that we finished the ramp and we were ready for him to test it out,” Batshoun recalled. “We walked up to the cabin and he started to go up the ramp. Once he got to the top, he had the brightest, purest smile I had ever seen on his face, and it was at that instant I truly knew the impact that The Ability Experience has.”
Though it’s impossible to predict memories like that, Batshoun said it didn’t take much convincing for him to dedicate his summer to The Ability Experience.
Batshoun’s friend Davin Newsome, also a Pi Kappa Phi member at UofL, worked with Build America in 2017 and convinced him to do it as well.
“Davin was not wrong at all. Build America was by far the most impactful and memorable seven weeks of my entire life. From the lifelong brothers I spent every waking hour with for seven weeks to the countless amount of lives we impacted along the way, this was without a doubt the summer of a lifetime,” Batshoun, a sophomore, said.
Burgess elected Journey of Hope, a cycling trip in which three teams ride to spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities to Washington D.C., with starting destinations in Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Barbara.
Training started May 27, and the team left June 9 from San Francisco to begin their cross-country voyage, with all three teams converging on Capitol Hill.
As the north route’s crew chief, Burgess led a 29-member team on a trip that lasted 63 days. One of their stops included a two-day stint in Grand Island, Nebraska, where Burgess recalls spending “every moment” with people, sharing meals and visiting their workplaces. He said lunch at a park constructed by brothers of Pi Kappa Phi was easily the highlight.
“The two mothers who gave us the tour of the park have been around Journey of Hope and Build America for nearly two decades and so have their kids,” the Lake Mary, Florida, native said. “One of the mothers had a daughter with a disability in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Her daughter, because of her disability, always had trouble connecting with people until she met cyclist and brother Jason Tirado. He made a lasting impact on her and her family and stayed active in their lives before he sadly passed away in 2000.
“When my team heard that story, we were all moved to tears because both of the mothers were also getting emotional and you can see how much of an impact he had and what he meant to the people of Grand Island, as well as what Journey of Hope and brothers of Pi Kappa Phi mean to the community.”
Beyond the sentimental impact, the three teams contributed financially, combining to raise more than $600,000 and helping more than 3,000 people.
As much as Batshoun and Burgess know they played a significant role in improving the lives of others, Burgess also realizes how much the program impacted him personally.
“Journey of Hope has made me into a better servant leader and in turn has made me want to become a better man, a better citizen, a better friend, a better brother,” Burgess said. “I will continue to dedicate my time and efforts to helping serve the lives of people with disabilities and continue to give back to my local community wherever I am.”
University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi and Provost Beth Boehm recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the president of University of Dubai (UD).
Eesa Bastaki, president of UD, talked with UofL administrators about cooperation between the two universities that will enable engineering students to collaborate and perform research activities together.
Bastaki said UD is especially eager to give its students more exposure to industry. Bendapudi noted UofL’s industry relationships are one of the school’s many strengths, citing a recent partnership with IBM as one example.
“We’re perfectly poised in Louisville,” Bendapudi said. “We have so many opportunities for growth. We will make sure your students have a rich experience.”
Bendapudi said she hoped the agreement would lead to more study abroad opportunities for UofL students.
“People’s minds change when they travel,” she noted. UD is in the United Arab Emirates.
The memorandum was also signed by Emmanuel Collins, dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Hussain Al Ahmad, dean of UD’s College of Engineering & IT, will sign at a later date. The agreement will be in effect for five years.
Walking among the booths at the Gray Street Farmers Market fills one’s senses with a vibrancy that can only be a result of fresh produce and summertime. Excited customers exchanged recipes with enthusiastic vendors and as they rifled through local goods during the market’s UofL Day on Aug. 2.
The celebration was in advance of National Farmers Market Week Aug. 4-10. Farmers markets act as vital resources for families to get locally sourced produce which increases healthy eating habits and boosts the local economy.
The Gray Street Farmers Market was co-founded in 2009 between UofL’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) and the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health Wellness. Together, they work toward relieving the food desert that exists in downtown Louisville.
“We’re in the middle of an increased need to provide fresh produce within downtown Louisville, specifically to those on food assistance programs,” said Sara Frazier, Gray Street Farmers Market manager.
Locally-grown produce can often be viewed as a commodity for only those who can afford it, according to Frazier. The Gray Street Farmers Market addresses the issue with its Dollar for Dollar program, which matches SNAP recipients’ benefits up to $20. The service is provided through donations and numerous fundraising opportunities, including a silent auction available on the market’s website during August. There is also an Elevate campaign for those wishing to donate directly to the Dollar for Dollar program.
The market runs every Thursday from mid-May to Oct. 31, 2019 – rain or shine. It operates from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with lunch options available through vendors and weekly food truck rotations. The market’s governance committee reviews all vendor applications to ensure the products are local and will be a good fit. They want there to be a variety of high quality options for our customers.
Visitors can expect homegrown or homemade products including fruits and vegetables, canned goods, hand-crafted products, artisan coffee and more. Most vendors accept cash, card or tokens. Tokens are available at the information booth in order to help those who need currency exchanged onsite.
The University of Louisville and its community college partners have announced a major milestone – 1,000 reverse degrees have been awarded since fall 2013.
Those partners include the Jefferson Community and Technical College, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Owensboro Community and Technical College and Ivy Tech Community College.
The announcement was made Wednesday by UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, who was joined by JCTC CEO Ty Handy and Mary Gwen Wheeler, executive director of 55,000 Degrees, a Louisville organization that works to improve education attainment.
A reverse degree is an associate’s degree or a certificate that’s awarded by community colleges to their former students who have transferred to UofL and earned at least 60 total credits, including a minimum of 15 from the community college.
“This is simply a matter of giving credit where credit is due. These reverse degrees recognize the hard work students are already doing. We’re just giving them what they’ve already earned,” Bendapudi said. “This program is the perfect example of the university and community college partners working together to increase the number of people with secondary degrees.”
Bendapudi notes that UofL’s is the first formal reverse degree program in the state.
Former JCTC students have been the most frequent beneficiaries of UofL’s program with 777 of them having received more than 1,000 reverse degrees in the past six years.
“We all know somebody where life got in the way and it took them longer to complete their bachelor’s degree than you would expect them to,” Handy said. “Most of us tend to think of college as a four year experience – you’re in, you’re out, you’re on with life – and that is just not the pattern people follow anymore, especially in urban markets like Louisville. This partnership is critical to us because many of these students take longer to finish their degree and that credential gives them an opportunity for better work.”
Indeed, Wheeler said more than 65% of local jobs now require training beyond high school. However, only 43% of people in the community have those credentials.
The reverse degree program tends to motivate students to finish their degrees. The latest data on reverse degree recipients shows that 85% of students are retained at UofL, and 62% of participants who received a reverse degree have graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UofL.
“Increasing those opportunities is important, not just for the community but also because it correlates with a better quality of life,” she said.
Editor’s note: This is a firsthand account of an ISLP trip to Croatia during the spring semester, written by Mackenzie Burke, an intern in the Office of Communications and spring 2019 graduate.
Growing up, I never thought I would get the chance to travel aboard. Mainly due to my parents being the protective types. They weren’t even keen on me going to the University of Louisville because they believed an hour away was too far from home. Despite this, I chose UofL. I knew it would offer me opportunities that no other university could provide. So when I learned the International Service Learning Program (ISLP), a program created for UofL students to travel aboard and provide services, I immediately applied to go to Croatia. I saw this as my chance to finally expand my horizons.
When I landed in Croatia, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. My professor Steve Sohn, a ISLP veteran, did tell me and my peers what to expect in Croatia. One of them being how Croatia is smoking country. From adults to teenagers, smoking cigarettes are practically allowed anywhere at any time. This was difficult for me to imagine until we arrived in the first city called Sisak. It was just as my professor said.
As someone who grew up in a nation where smoking is prohibited in many places and has an age restriction, witnessing such a cultural difference definitely threw me for a loop. However, it didn’t offend me. The point of ISLP is to learn about another culture, and smoking is a part of Croatia’s society. Seeing such a difference helped me better understand what it’s like to live in Croatia.
Along with learning about cultural differences, another part of ISLP is to provide services. My group and I were tasked with developing educational activities to teach to Croatian high school students. At first, I was fearful that it would be difficult for us to connect with the Croatian students. We grew up with different cultural backgrounds. I was scared such a boundary would prevent us from getting along. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Croatian students completely opened up to us. They asked us about our culture, and they were excited to answer our questions, too. Some of the students even invited us out to explore the town, allowing us to get to know them better. By our last day of teaching, I had become so close with my students that I got emotional when we said our goodbyes. Luckily, we became friends on social media, so the goodbye wasn’t final.
After our teaching days, my group and I left Sisak to explore the other cities of Croatia including Zadar, Zaton, Nin and Zagreb. Every place we visited was beautiful, but it was my friends who made the experiences unforgettable. It’s amazing to me how I didn’t know anyone at the start of this program, and now some of my favorite moments are goofing around with these wonderful people.
ISLP not only introduced me to another country’s culture, but it also allowed me to form friendships with individuals whom I may have never met on UofL’s big campus.
Louisville Metro Government and the Coalition for the Homeless have released the results of a five-month assessment outlining the process of applying best practices to Louisville’s Continuum of Care (CoC), a process developed by HUD that helps communities address homelessness in a coordinated, comprehensive and strategic way.
As a community, Louisville attempts to address homelessness in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, using data to identify gaps in services and streamlining the use of valuable community resources. In the past year, new property developments and attempts to enforce community safety have displaced homeless camps, leaving unsheltered individuals to collect on downtown streets and under overpasses.
In response, Mayor Fischer’s Homeless Encampment Task Force engaged researchers from CIK and CCTSJR to support their work with the following specific aims:
To determine national best practices to address street homelessness.
To provide an assessment of the existing service system for individuals experiencing homelessness in Louisville.
To perform a gap analysis between Louisville’s existing services and best practices, with recommendations on policies, practices and funding, to aid Louisville in progressing toward reducing the number of individuals who remain unsheltered.
The study recommendations are outlined below:
Expand and evolve homeless services. Ensure individuals experiencing a housing crisis have access to the single point of entry system at all times. Reinforce the Housing First model and trauma-informed care within the Continuum of Care, such that a centralized case management team provides the accompaniment needed to navigate a complex system, resolve barriers and move into and maintain a home.
Revise encampment policies. Expand policies to shift focus from clearing to providing needed services, including hygiene facilities and housing assistance. When clearances are required, ensure that campers not only receive notice of a clearing, but that they are required to be offered and assisted with storage and shelter options.
Offer multiple low-barrier shelters in locations throughout Jefferson County. To ensure everyone has access to shelter and feels safe, emergency shelters should be smaller, designed for specific subpopulations, meet Americans with Disabilites Act standards and offer a staff to guest ratio that supports trauma-informed care. Emergency shelters should be used as a touch-point to link guests with wraparound services.
Improve collaboration. Resolving homelessness requires the participation of everyone. Communication and collaboration among service providers and across sectors is imperative.
Housing and community development. Prioritize affordable housing in Louisville, especially to meet the needs of households with income below 30 percent Area Median Income ($25,100 for a family of four). As needed, revise zoning ordinances to achieve this.
Address root causes of homelessness beyond housing. Create policies to raise the minimum wage and revise policies that create barriers to employment and housing for individuals who have been in the criminal justice system.
Promote community education and engagement. Develop a comprehensive public awareness campaign that sets achievable goals, involves multi-sector participation and is aimed at multiple audiences (individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness, advocates and service providers, and the general public).
Evaluate the outcomes of new policies and programs.
“It’s critical to recognize that homelessness is a result of a system that perpetuates discrimination and creates poverty. This study reveals that we must strengthen the connectivity between services and providers, as well as across sectors, and employ an approach of accompaniment, whereby our community meets individuals where they are and walks with them on the journey to stability,” said Susan Buchino, PhD, OTR/L, assistant professor, UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences, and research study lead from UofL’s CIK and CCTSJR.
“We are all aware that we have a homeless crisis in Louisville,” said Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “This problem will only get worse through the proposed cuts to preventative services that are currently funded by Louisville Metro Government. We need the community to step up and demand that vital resources provided by the Office of Resilience and Community Services, the External Agency Funds and Neighborhood Development Funds are preserved and expanded using the guidance outlined for us in the University of Louisville report released this week.”
“We appreciate the hard work and collaboration among all of our partners, and especially the Coalition for the Homeless and University of Louisville,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “It will take a united community to address the complex issue of homelessness.”
UofL’s School of Music is going worldwide this summer with an especially long list of travel opportunities on the books.
Students and faculty are learning, teaching and performing in such far-flung locales as Ecuador, Costa Rica, Vienna, Austria, Denmark, Korea and Thailand.
It’s no wonder as “advancing the art of music globally through the work of faculty composers, performers and researchers” is a key goal in the school’s mission statement.
“The faculty and students of the School of Music have been increasingly active from an international perspective for the past dozen years or more, with the current summer representing a kind of apex of these opportunities in terms of the nature of international programs in which we are involved and the numbers of music students and faculty members participating in some fashion,” said Christopher Doane, dean of the School of Music. “Our students and music faculty members expect to have these opportunities as a part of their UofL experience and we have been fortunate to have the international connections and network of friends, donors and music alumni to make these opportunities possible.”
The trip, which included sightseeing, masterclasses and other performances, was commended in official letters signed by the president of Costa Rica.
It was the second such trip to Costa Rica for the School of Music. Students performed there five years ago as well. Both trips were a result of connections formed when Josue Ramirez came to UofL to study piano performance in 2010 as a Fulbright Scholar.
As amazing as that first experience was, this one was even better, Lloyd said. The
hospitality, comraderie and quality of music shared was incredible, she said.
“I cannot say enough about our Costa Rican friends who hosted us,” Lloyd said. “It was extraordinary … I think the students would say it was a life-changing experience. There were lots of tears when it was time to leave.”
Jessica Wise, who graduated this spring with her Masters in Music in Flute Performance, agreed.
“Playing the flute duet in the Bach Magnificat with my duet partner Katie McDonald in the National Theater was my favorite part of the trip. To play in such a beautiful hall filled with musicians and a full audience is an experience I will never forget,” she said. “My host family was also absolutely incredible and my favorite part of the trip too. They made me feel a part of their family and so welcome. It was very difficult to leave them. They invited me back to their homes in the near future, so I hope to travel back to Costa Rica and see them again soon.”
The trip marked the beginning of a formal exchange program between UofL’s School of Music and Costa Rica’s National University School of Music, which will ensure many more students will have similar experiences in years to come.
Other international trips for the School of Music this summer include:
Jazz in Ecuador
Twenty students and faculty from UofL’s jazz program joined Mike Tracy, Jazz Program director, for an exchange program at the Universidad de las Américas Escuela de Música in Ecuador. Read more about the trip on Tracy’s blog.
Music Therapy in Vienna
The music therapy study abroad program is traveling to Vienna, Austria and Denmark in June. The group will visit the University of Music and Performing Arts and participate in a music therapy career day with the famous Vienna Boy’s Choir. In Denmark, they will attend the European Congress of Music Therapy. Students will present a workshop with Petra Kern, UofL music therapy professor.
Even the instruments are in on the globe-trotting action. Piano faculty members Anna Petrova, Krista Wallace-Boaz and Naomi Oliphant traveled to Hamburg, Germany, to pick out a new Steinway piano for Comstock Hall. The purchase was made possible by a bequest from donor Helen Lang. Click here to see Oliphant performing the piano before it makes its journey back to Louisville.
As the only provider of burn wound care services in Kentucky and a larger 250-mile radius inclusive of areas within Indiana and Illinois, the UofL Hospital Burn Centerhas piloted a telehealth program to reduce barriers for patient follow-up care.
“Travel distance, along with often other serious health conditions, make it difficult for patients to get to a weekly appointment,” said Jodi Wojcik-Marshall, MSN, APRN, ANP-BC, manager of the UofL Hospital Department of Advanced Practice Nursing and nurse practitioner in the Burn Center. “We saw a need to reduce the high number of missed appointments by reducing access barriers.”
Jennings led the effort to translate the outpatient burn center’s in-person standards and protocol into a telehealth format.
The program uses the technology BlueJeans for providers Wojcik-Marshall and Michelle Broers, PT, DPT, CWS, FACCWS, to have a dialogue with patients during telehealth visits. Each patient downloads the free BlueJeans app to their smartphone or device and uses a unique connection number to sign in for each appointment.
“We found both in the literature and in early observations of this pilot benefits not only for patients but also for home health providers and family members who help the patients with their treatment,” Jennings said.
Jennings and her team are in process of evaluating patient and provider satisfaction surveys. Next steps include determining adjustments to the program, and how the burn center may expand the initiative to benefit more patients.