Our January Jam

Our January Jam

January is known for new beginnings. Maybe it’s learning something new, starting a new project or the idea of a fresh start. We’ve used the first month of 2024 to learn, grow and advocate for our youth and families.

Here’s a few things we’re proud of this month:

We matched four new mentors this month! Our first Amachi Mentor training was held on January 16. Training includes child abuse and neglect, boundary setting, active listening skills, trauma training and more. Trainings are required for new mentors and will be held bi monthly moving forward. Learn more about Amachi of Frankfort.

In partnership with Just Say Yes, we held our first Youth Cafe on January 23. Youth Cafes are a way for us to connect with teens in our community. These free cafes will be held monthly.

On January 24, some of our staff and four of our high school youth attended Children’s Advocacy Week Rally at the Capitol. Kentucky Youth Advocates host this annual rally to bring attention to Kentucky kids and the services they need. After the rally, we were honored to spend a few minutes speaking with Representative Derek Graham.

WJRF receives ten food boxes every other week from Locals. Boxes, which contain fresh produce, meat and more, are distributed to our families. Locals received a grant to make this happen in Franklin County and we are grateful for their collaboration that our families have already benefited from.

Our staff joined Yes Arts and Frankfort Police Department for a training on January 18. The training, which focused on neurodivergent support, discriminatory practices and punishment vs. discipline was the start of an amazing partnership between the three organizations. The KRUSH COLLAB is an initiative funded by the United States Department of Justice that allows us to partner with local agencies to bring students impacted by incarceration together with local law enforcement officers to build relationships through art therapy, mural projects, family picnics and more. Our first session was held this month so stay tuned for more information as our project progresses!

Thanks to a grant from SAHMSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), our marketing director is able to spend a set amount of hours per week working with Just Say Yes, a coalition at the Franklin County Health Department. Through this work, we believe local collaborations and partnerships will thrive. 

We brought in 8th graders! Now that our high school outreach program is growing, we are excited to kick off our middle school program. This month, we started program registration for 8th graders. They will begin by meeting every other week at Thorn Hill Education Center. We know this is an important time to connect with them and we will be here to support them during their transition to high school. Starting next school year, our middle school program will continue with 6-7th graders. Learn more about teen programming.

On January 16 and 17, several of our staff attended National Family Learning Training. Family Literacy is a national program headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. The Thorn Hill Education Center has been approved to be the first center in the country, anchoring their goal to reach 60 centers by 2030. The center focuses on three areas: Family Engagement, Family Literacy and Family Leadership. Wanda J leadership attended the training to learn more about this new partnership that our families will benefit from. Learn more.

Our board of directors met on January 22 for their first meeting of 2024. Our seven member board is the governing body of our organization and meets monthly to discuss needs and planning. Currently our board is Todd Horstmeyer, Tuesday Lemon, Shannon Bright, OJ Oleka, Shelley Hearn, Jonathan Scott and Dustin Bowman. See more of our leadership

That’s a lot for thirty days! We’re heading into 2024 with a strong leadership, a vision for a mission-minded year and big things to come. Stay tuned for updates from Wanda J!