Mayor Fischer announces Cultural Pass, Summer Reading and other summer learning opportunities for youth, teenagers

May 30, 2019

School is almost out for the summer, and Mayor Greg Fischer is reminding parents and caregivers that there are plenty of fun, low-cost, or free learning opportunities available for Louisville area students of all ages over the next three months.

During a news conference today at the Main Library, Mayor Greg Fischer and partner organizations outlined a number of programs designed to keep kids engaged and prevent summer learning loss, including the Louisville Free Public Library’s Summer Reading program and the 2019 Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs in partnership with Metro Louisville, the Free Public Library, the Arts and Culture Alliance, and Fund for the Arts.

“We’re a city of lifelong learning and that means we’re a city of year-round learning,” said Mayor Fischer. “With our Summer Reading Program, Cultural Pass and other programs, families have plenty of fun options this summer to keep kids’ minds active so they’re prepared for success in school and beyond.”

In celebration of both the Library’s Summer Reading Program and the Cultural Pass, the Mayor announced the Main Library will host the Summer Reading Kickoff and Cultural Pass Showcase on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will offer a host of activities, performances, and crafts featuring twenty members of the Arts and Culture Alliance. Participating groups will include the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Shakespeare, and more. For more information, please visit LFPL.org/Kids or call (502) 574-1620.

The Cultural Pass supports and encourages lifelong learning by providing free access to more than 50 of Greater Louisville’s arts and cultural institutions for children and young adults to age 21. The Pass is valid from June 1 to August 10 for one-time general admission at each of the participating institutions. 

This year, residents in four surrounding counties—New Albany/Floyd County, Charlestown/Clark County, Jeffersonville Township, Harrison County, and Bullitt County—will also be eligible to participate in the 2019 Cultural Pass through their public libraries. Southern Indiana residents are eligible for the Cultural Pass thanks to support from Bales Foundation, Duke Energy, and Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County.

“Our community is fortunate to have one of the most unique initiatives across the country to fight summer learning loss,” said Tonya Abeln, Director of Community Relations for Churchill Downs, Inc. “Churchill Downs is proud to continue supporting arts and cultural experiences that make our city stronger.”

"This Cultural Pass is a passport for Greater Louisville kids and families to unlock boundless creativity at our world-class arts and cultural institutions,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. “We are deeply grateful to our donors and partners who make this one-of-a-kind initiative possible. This is a critical investment for our region that allows kids to learn, play, and grow all summer long.” 

The 2019 Cultural Pass and Summer Reading Program materials are available beginning June 1 at any Louisville Free Public Library branch. Pass holders can register and track the progress of their Cultural Pass online at LFPL.org/culturalpass and are encouraged to visit as many venues as they are able during the summer. Children with five or more documented visits will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win prizes.

“Educators often spend the first six weeks of a new school year re-teaching skills that students learned in the previous grade before they can move on to new material" said A. Dale Josey, Chair of the Arts & Culture Alliance. “The Alliance leverages the collaborative power of the region's arts and culture sector to counteract learning loss by keeping young minds active and engaged in the many summer activities available via the Cultural Pass. We appreciate this opportunity to harness our collective talents to host 'fun' arts and culture learning opportunities to somewhat minimize summer brain drain."  

To learn more about the Cultural Pass, please visit fundforthearts.org/culturalpass.

Summer Reading

Presented by the Library Foundation, the Library’s annual Summer Reading Program is a free 10-week program that encourages kids and teens to read for fun over the summer by offering prizes and incentives. Every child—from infant through 12th grade—who completes the program will receive a pencil pouch, along with passes to local attractions like the Kentucky Science Center, Squire Boone Caverns, a Louisville Bats baseball game, McDonald’s ice cream, and more.

“Summer Reading is the Library’s longest-running and most successful program,” said Library Director Lee Burchfield. “This 90-year tradition reaches nearly 50,000 children and teens in the Metro area and helps them stay on reading level and return to school better prepared to learn.”

For more information, or to pre-register for Summer Reading, visit LFPL.org/SummerReading, or call (502) 574-1620.

Other summer programs

The Summer Reading and Cultural Pass programs complement hundreds of camps and enrichment activities organized by nonprofit organizations, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), local colleges and universities, museums, churches, and arts organizations.

To help families sort through the many summer offerings, the Mayor reminds the community that a searchable database of quality Out of School Time (OST) programs is available through 2-1-1. Thanks to the BLOCS community partnership, families can access this resource year-round by visiting www.louisvilleblocs.org and clicking on the 2-1-1 link. The list is also available by dialing Metro United Way’s 211 call-in line, or accessing the 211 app.  BLOCS was established in 2011 by Louisville Metro Government, JCPS, Metro United Way, and the Louisville Alliance for Youth, in an effort to bridge in-school and out-of-school time, while demonstrating OST programming is a fundamental support in improving educational outcomes.

Louisville Zoo: The Louisville Zoo is a living classroom with something to learn all year long. When kids are out of school, it is the perfect place to keep minds active and engaged with amazing animal species from around the globe or one of the Zoo’s many summer camps. Weekly camps are available for ages from pre-K to 8th grade. All Zoo camps include Zoo walks, large animal presentations, attraction rides, and up-close encounters with live animal ambassadors. Events are happening all summer, from the Friday Night Movie Series to the ever-popular Storybook Character Day. All events and camp listings can be found at louisvillezoo.org.

Louisville Parks & Recreation: Louisville Parks and Recreation will be offering structured summer camp programming at six community centers this season: Beechmont, Cyril Allgeier, Douglass, South Louisville, Southwick, and Sun Valley. Pricing will remain the same as last year: Beechmont, Cyril, Douglass and Sun Valley will be $80 per week, and South Louisville and Southwick will be $65 per week.

Open programming will take place at Berrytown, Parkhill, California, Portland, Newburg, and Shawnee Community Centers. Open programming is $20 per month, and all participants must be registered.

For locations, visit bestparksever.com and contact the site of your choice for more information.

Other fun and inexpensive options during the summer for kids include the city’s 30-plus spraygrounds and spraypads, free movie nights at the Iroquois Amphitheater, hiking and camps at Jefferson Memorial Forest, and visits to the city’s two Metro-owned historic homes, Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing, and Historic Locust Grove.

Additionally, Louisville Parks and Recreation is looking to hire responsible, motivated high school and college-aged students during the summer to help with summer camp staffing. Please call (502) 574-7275 for more information or drop by the Parks office at 1297 Trevilian Way to fill out an application.

Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods

The Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Outreach Team will be holding regular office hours at the Shawnee Arts and Cultural Center this summer. They will connect with partners to bring resources to support employment, housing, expungement, mental health, etc. to residents in the neighborhood to eliminate access-related barriers. The team will continue to canvass, conduct peace walks, table events, attend neighborhood association meetings, and more.

OSHN is partnering with Cities United to host a “Russell Family Block Party” Saturday, June 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OSHN will continue hosting One Love Louisville Ambassador Institutes and Networking Nights. The next free Ambassador Institute will be Saturday, June 22, at 9:30 a.m. Come learn about conflict resolution, community organizing, and more.

The One Love Louisville Implementation Team meetings will continue into the summer; our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the Mayor’s office. We will be reviewing the city’s violence reduction action plan and discussing ways that you can get involved.

We are recruiting for the next cohort of One Love Louisville Youth Implementation Team members. This is a youth leadership advisory council to Mayor Fischer for ages 16 to 24 with a focus on advocacy and civic engagement. Please contact OSHN for more details.

We are also recruiting for the next cohort of THRIVE Fellows. This fellowship seeks young men who are interested in leadership, civic engagement, and public service. If you are between the ages of 22 and 26, and have a history of being justice-involved, please contact OSHN for more details.

This summer we will be recruiting for the Trauma Resilient Community Advisory Board. This advisory board will work to guide this initiative over the 5-year project period. Board members will participate in strategic planning and ongoing decision making as Louisville becomes a more equitable, trauma-resilient city.

Please follow Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods on Facebook and Twitter to stay engaged and for opportunities to #BeThe1. We can be reached at (502) 574-1903 or at OneLoveLou.org.