Unleashed Magazine Logo

Opportunity to Succeed

Issue 4

Serving as the Family Resource Coordinator at Kerrick and Eisenhower Elementary schools in Louisville since the Fall of 2020, Nicole Joyner knew the position would be challenging, especially since she started at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most of my time is spent meeting the basic needs of students and their families,” she said. “Things like school supplies, backpacks, clothes, shoes, socks. Even hygiene items are something that we hand out to students and families several times a day.”

Nicole estimates that up to a quarter of her students begin the school year without the necessary supplies, while the rest almost always run out at some point, leaving many families anxious about how they’ll be able to afford to replace them.

It’s a struggle that isn’t unique to Kerrick and Eisenhower, though, as parents throughout Kentuckiana face the same worries of making sure their children have the items they need to be successful in school. Imagine the stress of being in a position where a $5 box of crayons might as well cost $50 and you dread each communication from your child’s school, fearing it will just be notification of the need for something else you can’t afford.


That’s where the annual Basic Needs Drive School Supply Collection hosted by Southeast’s LifeBridge Ministry helps.

In 2021, more than 50 schools received 60,000+ school supplies donated by Southeast families. Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, safety scissors, spiral notebooks, loose-leaf paper, backpacks, and much more all were delivered directly to schools, helping educators like Nicole fill the gaps for students lacking needed items not only as classes resumed, but throughout the year. Southeast has found that delivering supplies directly to schools is the most effective way to help the most students in need.

“The items donated to both of my schools is an essential part to maintaining a steady flow of enrichment/education for students and families, especially those in need,” Nicole said.

The mom of one of Nicole’s students said that while she has a job, buying school supplies for her child on one income is nearly impossible.

“The donations the school gets from Southeast’s back to school drive is such a blessing,” she said. “I am praying that things change financially for me and my family. In the meantime, I am grateful for the help we get.”


Besides ensuring Nicole’s students have the supplies they need to give them the best opportunity to succeed academically, the Basic Needs Drive School Supply Collection has opened doors that otherwise might have remained closed.

“A need that is in our face daily at both schools is the mental health of our students, families, and staff. It seems that everyone is stressed,” Nicole said.

Last November, Southeast partnered with the Kerrick and Eisenhower Family Resource Center and Campbellsville University to help students and their families discover their strengths and ways to build on them to have a happier, healthier start to the holidays and the remainder of the school year.

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist helped attendees map their family tree the way professional therapists do, pointing out generational issues and highlighting ways to overcome them. Eleven families attended the initial Family Reset class. A second family enrichment class was held in April, while a third is planned for September 2023.

“It helped me realize I needed to try to slow down in moments of chaos,” another mom said, explaining her daughter takes behavioral cues from how she responds in those situations. “We've always had a pretty open line of communication, but I was able to learn a few more tools and ways of dealing with feelings and differences of opinion. It also helped me realize I'm doing a better job at this mom thing than I thought I was and breaking certain cycles.”

From the Family Reset class, three families, having developed a relationship with Aaron Troutman, the Community Engagement Minister at Southeast’s Southwest Campus, attended the Families Counts parenting and mentoring class at the campus.

That isn’t the only door God has opened through the annual Basic Needs Drive School Supply Collection. Because of relationships forged between Southeast and the schools:

• Southeast was able to walk alongside a grandmother with sole custody of her grandchild to help her avoid eviction.
• A single mom received assistance with repairing her car’s transmission so she could continue to go to work.
• This past Christmas, Southeast members provided gifts for 500 students and dinners for 600 families.
• Central High School in Louisville provided prom dresses to girls from struggling families with attire donated through Southeast’s Shine Ministry.
• Southeast’s Southwest Campus recently installed a new playground for Johnsontown Road Elementary School.

The Basic Needs Drive School Supply Collection each July offers Southeast a great opportunity to help students and their families. Please pray that they are not only blessed in a tangible way, but that God continues to allow relationships to be developed.

Champion Our Students

The isolation and upheaval of the last two years has disproportionately impacted the vulnerable among us, especially children. Just as they need the proper tools to excel in the classroom, connection is a basic need and children cannot flourish in life without the consistent presence of caring adults.

You have an opportunity to champion our children in public schools by committing one hour a week to mentoring students. Your consistent presence can change lives.

Donations Most Needed

• New Backpacks
(mostly for middle or high school students)

• Pencils
(No. 2)

• Markers/Crayons

• Loose-Leaf Paper

• 2-Pocket Folders

• Sticky Notes

• Disinfectant Wipes

• Copy Paper
(white or colors)

• Miscellaneous
(black/blue pens, rulers, scissors, etc.)

Learn more about helping families as well as championing students in your community by clicking here.

Unleashed Magazine Logo

Recent Magazine Features

Digital Archive