(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – In a news conference on Jan. 13, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis issued a call to action to student-based organizations across the Commonwealth, asking them to participate in a new initiative aimed at promoting the importance of education.
The initiative was inspired by the Louisville-based group, Balling for a Cause, that is comprised of students ages 9-16.
“The kids who volunteer with Balling for a Cause are canvassing low-income neighborhoods in Louisville, passing out fliers and talking to parents about becoming more involved in their children’s education,” said Lewis. “For children in these communities, a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college and the workforce can literally mean the difference between poverty or self-sufficiency, prison or freedom, life or death. We want to recognize and empower passionate students to achieve at higher and higher levels, inspire their peers to work hard and achieve, and actively serve their communities.”
To participate in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Student Ambassador Initiative, interested student groups from public schools, faith-based organizations or nonprofit organizations must submit an “Intent to Participate” form online by Jan. 30 that details an education-related community service project to be performed over the remainder of the school year. In March, the student groups will submit a video and any supporting materials highlighting their project, including its impact. Commissioner Lewis will select five groups that made the largest local impact and invite them to an awards luncheon in April.
“The Student Ambassador Initiative will not only highlight the value and importance of education, but it also will promote the value of community service to students across the state,” said Lewis. “There are well over 600,000 students in the Commonwealth right now. They are the future leaders of our state. Students have the power to inspire their peers to stay in school, work hard, and pursue success in school and in life.”
Community activist Christopher 2X, spokesman for Balling for a Cause, expressed his appreciation to Commissioner Lewis for recognizing the students he works with and said he looks forward to seeing how communities can be impacted statewide.
“While Balling for a Cause focuses on students who have been affected by violence in their neighborhoods and in their families, I am certain that communities in Kentucky’s other 119 counties have different needs, however the same idea unites us all,” said 2X. “Whether you are in Louisville or Pikeville, a high-quality education can help keep people off the streets and off drugs, and inspire them to make a difference in the world.”