Partners for Education at Berea College



    • Posted on by Charlie Foster
    • The Full Moon Writers: (back row, left to right) Chelsey Belt, Gabrielle Tirey (middle row, L to R) Whitney Tillery, Hailey Tirey, Brooke Clark, (front row, L to R) Megan Shaw, Carla Cox, and Destiny Lakes.

      The Full Moon Writers, a community writing and arts group for girls ages 11 – 16, recently performed their play, A Friendship Birthday Sleepover. The play is about a birthday party to which one friend doesn’t receive an invitation and how the group reconciles with her. (more…)


    • Posted on by Charlie Foster
    • Jimmy Wayne on stage at Renfro Valley.

      Jimmy Wayne stars at Stars Over Appalachia.

      Renfro Valley was packed on Saturday, November 10, with families from eighteen Kentucky counties all celebrating the important roles that parents and grandparents play in education.  Berea College’s Office of Externally Sponsored Programs and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame hosted the event.  The Berea office sponsors college access programs across the region, including GEAR UP, Promise Neighborhood, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math & Science, Educational Talent Search and i3.



    • Posted on by Charlie Foster
    • Eight hundred eighth-grade students traveled to the Corbin Center for Technology and Community Activities on Tuesday to meet with more than 40 professionals from around Kentucky. Students traveled from Bell, Knox and Corbin school districts for the event, sponsored by Berea College’s GEAR UP Promise Neighborhood program.

      Chad Henson and Brett Messer from Knox County Middle School show off an aviation map of Kentucky, which was part of a presentation on aviation careers.


    JCMS Student Takes Art Classes, Wins Contest

    • Posted on by Latrice Williams
    • Local art classes provided an opportunity for Jackson County parents and students to bond, and it helped produce an art contest winner. In August, oil painting classes were held at Jackson County Middle School and McKee Elementary. After their artwork was created, participants were encouraged to enter their paintings in the local Jackson County Homecoming Fair and art contest.

      Jackson County artist Wonda Hammons taught the art classes, which were sponsored by the Berea College Promise Neighborhood Initiative. Twenty parents and twenty students at each of the schools participated. Students and parents, in groups of two, attended a two-hour class each week for a four-week span, where every attendee created an original piece of art.


      Aaron Bowles poses with his prize-winning artwork.



      Beautiful works of art by parents and students were then displayed at the art contest at the Jackson County FairTen-year-old JCMS student Aaron Bowles won first place and best in show for his oil painting of an elaborate ocean scene displayed at the art exhibit. Aaron received two ribbons and was very proud of his accomplishments, but even more proud was Aaron’s mother, Melissa Wilson. Aaron and his mother, along with other parents and students of JCMS, enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to be involved in these wonderful art classes and exhibits.
      Participants will have the opportunity to visit the Kentucky Artisan Center in December to see Kentucky’s outstanding artisan products and listen to guest speakers from different institutions explain the options available to anyone interested in a degree in art.


      The goals of these art projects are to bring families together, celebrate relationships, succeed in creating a unique piece of artwork, and emphasize the importance of college preparation and educational career choices. The Promise Neighborhood Initiative is planning future classes, too. A new class is beginning at Sand Gap Elementary, and classes will begin at Tyner Elementary, Jackson County High School and Annville Christian Academy in February or March. There will be four sessions per school and at least one session per month for up to twenty-four months. Promise Neighborhood will cover all costs for materials and instruction, with no cost to participants.


    • Posted on by Victoria Fleury
    • Jackson County grandparents attended a day-long, “Grandparents as Parents” event hosted by the Berea College Promise Neighborhood Initiative at the Jackson County Extension Office on October 23.  The event focused on helping them understand their rights, custody standing, and legal guardianship status, with special instruction in understanding children’s development and dealing with children coming from substance abuse.  Grandparents asked questions and discussed challenges they faced as primary caregivers.  The event also gave grandparents information regarding adolescent behavior and how to provide positive intervention for difficult transitions children may face.

      The goal of this and future events is to provide care for the caregiver.  Linda Potter, Parent Engagement Specialist for Jackson County, and community partners wanted to make sure these grandparents know how appreciated they are for stepping up to care for their grandchildren. Family Court Judge Gene Clark noted just how much difference grandparents make. “If it were not for grandparents,” he said, “my court system might shut down.  These kids have to go somewhere, and if the grandparents or other family does not step up, or are unable and unwilling to take care of them, they’re going to have to go to foster care….and quite frankly all of my foster care beds are full.”  He said that providing help to these grandparents is essential to benefit the next generation of children who, through parental substance abuse or other reasons, have no one to take care of them except these family members.

      Other presenters at the event included Carole Gnatuk, a child development specialist from the University of Kentucky; Doug Burnham, director of the Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children Training Project; Kimberley Collett, supervisor at the Department for Community Based Services; Linda Potter, Parent Engagement Specialist for Promise Neighborhood; and Neal Broadus, Dropout Prevention/Parent Involvement Coordinator for the Jackson County Public Schools.

      Future monthly or bi-monthly group meetings will continue to provide assistance to grandparents raising their grandchildren.   In these meetings they can share their experiences as well as receive legal advice regarding custody, adoption and foster parent issues.  For more information about future meetings and topics contact Linda Potter at (606) 287-7505 or


    • Posted on by Charlie Foster
    • The Christian Appalachian Project Family Life Abuse Center, in partnership with the Berea College Promise Neighborhood Initiative, is proud to present the Celebrating Women of All Ages Conference at Eastern Kentucky University’s Manchester Campus Saturday, October 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The conference is a free, fun-filled, educational, self-esteem summit that is open to all Clay County women ages 13 and up. To attend, register at the Cumberland Valley District Health Department, located at 330 Shamrock Road in Manchester, Kentucky, or online at


      The conference will feature educational workshops on self-esteem, cyber safety and social media, healthy cooking, relationships and finances. A healthy lunch is provided and will feature a musical performance by Mitch Barrett. After the luncheon, stress relief activities will be available. Community resource tables will also be set up to connect participants to available services in the local community. All registered participants will receive a free tote bag filled with promotional materials.


    • Posted on by Charlie Foster
    • Students from Berea Community Schools hosted teams from Clay and Owsley counties in Berea for activities and hands-on learning as part of a Destination ImagiNation Skills and Challenges Day.  Destination Imagination is an educational program where students work together to solve challenges with creativity and enthusiasm. Last Saturday, the students constructed sturdy towers out of toothpicks and gum drops and built contraptions that held ping pong balls underwater. Then they planned out and performed short plays for one another—but only after they designed their own background scenery.


      A Berea Community team tests the load-bearing strength of their toothpick and gumdrop tower.




    • Posted on by Charlie Foster
    • The GEAR UP program in Pulaski County hosted two days of theatre productions and career exploration talks for middle schools students from Garrard, Laurel, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties this week.


      The Chamber Theatre Group, a national educational theater company, gave four performances of their ENCORE production. The show features classic American literature brought to life on stage and is specifically designed around the school curriculum for middle school students. Among the plays and stories performed were Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”


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