Courier-Journal, April 13, 2014
Bailey Loosemore, email@example.com
Smoketown needed additional children’s services even before the Presbyterian Community Center closed in December.
There are more than 60 children on St. Vincent de Paul’s campus, spanning a block on South Preston Street, and 350 kids in the surrounding area who greatly need educational and development services, St. Vincent de Paul executive director Ed Wnorowski said.
St. Vincent de Paul officials hope to fill that need with a new family success center, taking the place of a thrift store the agency had operated at 1029 S. Preston St. The store has moved to 10280 Shelbyville Road, in Dorsey Plaza, and will open April 28 [*Note from SVDP: The opening has been delayed until after the Kentucky Derby.] The success center will open in June but initially only for children living in apartments on the St. Vincent de Paul campus.
More than 300 people who were previously homeless live on campus, Wnorowski said.
“Many children are coming from single-parent households,” Wnorowski said. “They need good, strong afterschool programming, support for developing skills to succeed.”
St. Vincent de Paul began planning the success center in 2005 when a master plan for the campus was developed, Wnorowski said. Officials intended to complete the center by 2010 but are excited to finally have the project underway.
The organization has spent $1.5 million to gut and rebuild the inside of the former thrift store, which was mostly storage for its four locations. The other two Louisville stores are on Market Street and Hikes Lane, and a fourth store is on the Lewis & Clark Parkway in Clarksville.
The new center includes a middle school-sized gym, game area, teen lounge, computer classroom, culinary kitchen, dining area and rooms to teach music and art, Wnorowski said.
Programs will be limited to around 30 people and will include adult classes on life skills, food preparation and drug and alcohol abuse, among others. The center hopes to also teach parents skills they need to make their children successful in school that they can continue at home, said associate executive director/development Nancy Naughton.
The center will target children in third, fifth and eighth grades to prepare them for major steps in their education, including moving from elementary to middle school and middle to high school.
Wnorowski added that students need to be proficient in reading in third grade to have the most success throughout their education.
Students in all grades can receive mentoring in all school subjects, as well as advice on nutrition and social skills.
“We’re really filling a need,” Wnorowski said. “Retail can go just about anywhere.”
The new thrift store will have double the retail space of the 4,500 square feet available in the Preston Street building, director of communications Linda Romine said.
It will attract new customers in eastern Louisville and give people a closer location for making donations, Wnorowski said.
“Customers will travel to the store, but you need to make it convenient for donors,” he said.
St. Vincent de Paul will start taking donations for the store when it opens at the end of the month.
Reporter Bailey Loosemore can be reached at (502) 582-4646. Follow her on Twitter at @bloosemore.
To contribute or get more information, go to www.svdplou.org, call (502) 301-8695 or (502) 301-8682, or write to 1015-C S. Preston St., Louisville, KY 40203