The Lighthouse United Methodist Community Center, now 10 years old, has helped hundreds of “at-risk” youth, but for every one helped, five were missed because of a lack of space. Lighthouse started working with children only but over time has expanded its mission to help “at-risk” adults also. Lighthouse programs for adults make use of its building at times when youth are not present.
The children and adults in Lighthouse programs often do not have the ability to pay, so the programs are offered free of charge. They are open to all regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or special needs. Lighthouse proves love, support, and safety in an area of poverty, high crime, drugs, gangs, and drive-by shootings.
Located in Louisville’s Newburg neighborhood, Lighthouse is proceeding with a building expansion that has been needed since shortly after it opened. The Lighthouse building committee, chaired by Dick Beard, has been hard at work, and permits for expansion have been requested.
Lighthouse enrolls 68 youth in its after-school and summer tutoring programs in reading, math, science, and computers. It is an endorsed site by Jefferson County Public Schools for its “Every 1 Reads” program.
Lighthouse offers a GED program for 27 adults. The adults are mainly single mothers at or below the poverty level trying to make a better life for themselves and their children. In addition, Lighthouse sponsors 15 adults in its “Workforce Development” program, which teaches computer skills to adults helping to prepare them for the workforce. Again students are mainly single mothers.
Lighthouse sponsors 30 boys ages 9 to 16 in its Saturday “Boys 2 Men” program. Boys mentor with volunteer men who encourage the boys to make the right decisions in life. Several of the boys’ fathers are former felons released from Metro Corrections who don’t want their sons to make the mistakes they did.
All programs are at full capacity with a waiting list. Many of Lighthouse’s programs could be expanded if space were available. For example youth tutoring could be increased to 250 if space were available.
A building large enough to meet the needed expansion has a cost of $997,000. By the end of 2008, cash and pledges totaling $461,000 had been raised, leaving a balance of $536,000. In April 2009, the James Graham Brown Foundation gave Lighthouse a matching challenge grant of $268,000, exactly half of the needed amount. When Lighthouse raises the matching amount, the goal will have been reached.
Churches and their members have been major supporters of Lighthouse since its inception. We want to ask Methodists from all over Kentucky to have a part in supporting this expansion project. We humbly ask that you send your check to Lighthouse Promise, Inc., 5312 Old Shepherdsville Road, Louisville, KY 40228. Every gift is tax deductible.
Lighthouse’s Web site is www.thelighthousecenter.org.
Robert Farrar, President, Lighthouse Promise, Inc.