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News from the Family and Youth Services Team

Impacting schools through the KRM In Project

KRM’s bullying prevention program, the In Project, started as a pilot program in January 2018 at Semple Elementary School. A group of 20 students participated in biweekly sessions led by KRM Youth Services staff to promote inclusion and social integration for newcomer refugee and immigrant students.  The In Project’s curriculum focuses on growing compassion and empathy while also partnering newly-arrived refugee students with a ‘buddy’ to help navigate their new school. The In Project’s pilot semester was a great success, and in August, KRM returned to Semple Elementary School to continue the program during the 2018-19 school year and also expanded to reach a new group of students at Kenwood Elementary School.

Semple Elementary School ESL Teacher Louis Jackson and KRM student Bitondo.

Semple Elementary School student Bitondo is a 2nd grade student participating in the In Project. She was well-behaved in class but was extremely shy and quiet. This hesitation stunted her English acquisition and left her socially isolated from her classmates. Teachers nominated her to participate with the hope that the program would boost Bitondo’s confidence in the classroom and with her peers. In the initial meetings, staff struggled to coax Bitondo to introduce herself or participate in games with classmates.  Yet as the weeks progressed and as students got to know one another while learning about compassion and empathy, Bitondo displayed new levels of confidence with each session.  She was bonding with classmates and entered each session chatting with new friends. Her ESL teacher, Louis Jackson, said, “The In Project provided an opportunity for one of our quietest newcomers to build confidence in representing herself verbally. As a direct result of her participation in the program, her English acquisition and overall learning has skyrocketed.” KRM Youth Services is excited to continue the reach of In Project in more schools and provide more support to students like Bitondo.

–Meagan Floyd, Youth Services Coordinator

new beginnings tutoring/mentoring

Each week, New Beginnings tutor/mentors meet in the homes of KRM students all over the city. They work on reading comprehension, homework, and relationship building. This hour a week is invaluable time. Because of our generous tutor/mentors, academic support is accessible to our newcomers who often cannot access other out-of-school-time programming. It also allows a tutor/mentor to see inside a  student’s world and to learn about a new culture by spending time with the student and their family. To give students the opportunity to experience the joys of Louisville and bond with their tutor/mentor, KRM plans field trips and extracurricular activities around the city throughout the year. Here’s a bit of what we have done together this fall…

In September, students and their tutor/mentors gathered for a rainy but fun afternoon at the Parklands at Floyd’s Fork where they explored science first-hand, learning about different Kentucky ecosystems and animals. The group went on a hike and creek exploration, where the students were not afraid to kick off their shoes and jump right into the creek with their nets. They were amazed by the fish and crawdads that they discovered. Thanks to KRM’s amazing community partners, students experienced a Louisville FC soccer game and holiday performances at Actors Theatre and StageOne in October and November.

We are incredibly thankful for the volunteers who generously invest their time into helping newcomer students. If you are an active KRM volunteer who is interested in becoming a volunteer tutor/mentor, please contact Emily Duerksen at If you are new to KRM, visit our volunteer page to learn how to register.

–Emily Duerksen, Cultural Exchange and Mentoring Coordinator VISTA

Kindergarten Registration

KRM Youth Services works with students and their families from their arrival to Louisville and beyond with services ranging from Kindergarten registration to educational case management and college and career readiness.

Each year, KRM Youth Services staff partner with the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) ESL Intake Center to register children who will be starting Kindergarten during the 2019-2020 academic year. From November until early in the spring, KRM will register over 50 children for Kindergarten!

–Meagan Floyd, Youth Services Coordinator

Family Center fun at the speed art Museum

The Family Center’s ongoing partnership with the Speed Art Museum created a collaborative art education and cultural experience for program participants this fall. Lucy Kacir, the Speed Art Museum’s Youth and Family Programs Manager, visited the Toddler and Preschool classes at the Family Center and led the children in sensory-rich activities inspired by works of art. Then in November, the mothers and children took a field trip to the museum. The children had a blast exploring the Art Sparks children’s interactive gallery with its wide variety of dynamic, hands-on exhibits. A guided tour introduced the mothers and children to a variety of exhibits in the collection, helping the children connect with art through a number of age-appropriate family activities.

Special thanks to Lucy and the Speed Art Museum and for welcoming KRM mothers and children so warmly to the museum!

–Lisa Rice, Family Center/Early Childhood Coordinator

New Media and Culture Lab

This fall, KRM was excited to launch a new initiative to support the personal, social and academic lives of youth and young adult clients through technology infused arts and culture programming. The New Media and Culture Lab, which is open to students two evenings during the week and staffed by New Media and Culture Coordinator Jared Zarantonello, was the result of two successful summers engaging KRM teenage students in digital learning. The lab, located in the newly-renovated KRM ESL wing, offers a suite of technological and educational resources which will empower students to learn, build skills and express themselves through various digital art forms such as music production, video and photo editing, graphic design and web-publishing. The lab is also a place where students can find academic support through accessing computers to do homework, fill out college applications, search for scholarships, and more. In addition to the weekly open lab hours, this initiative will also support the robust arts and culture programming that has been growing at KRM through the KRM Live and Master Classes.

–Jared Zarantonello, New Media and Culture Coordinator

Thank you to our partners

Our warmest thanks to our funding partners for making the work of KRM Louisville’s Family and Youth Services Department a reality: Cralle Foundation, Foundation for Impact on Literacy and Learning, Inc./ Lead2Feed Program, Lift a Life Foundation, Metro Louisville Government External Agency Fund, Metro United Way, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement Refugee School Impact.

We are grateful for our community partners who provided gifts and winter assistance to clients during the holiday season: Appriss, The Coopers – Louisville City FC Support Group, Crescent Hill Baptist Church, KentuckyOne Health, the Lawrence Family, Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville City Futbol Club Players, Miles for Merry Miracles, and other individual donors.