College Tours-Giving kids a vision for their future

For the last 9 years, South Heights Elementary has been taking kids on college tours. This year the 5th graders went to University of Kentucky, the 3rd graders went to Murray State, the 2nd graders went to Kentucky Weslyan and the 1st Graders went to University of Evansville. One of the 1st grade students during the Q an A with the admissions staff asked “how to you get to college”. Of course the response was hard work and a passion to succeed all the way though school.

Principal Rob Carroll shared that when the 5th graders visited the UK campus, they ran into a former South Heights student who was now attending UK. He shared that he was on one of these South Heights tours almost 9 years ago and today he is a full time college student. The 1st graders also got to meet and spend some time with a South Heights graduate that attends UE.

Busloads of kids on 4 different university campuses with TShirts that say “I’m going to College”….The 1199 vision!

2015 City Serve

CityJoin churches and volunteers as they serve the city of Henderson in parks, neighborhoods and schools to make a difference.


When: Saturday, May 9th Time: 8a to noon

Where: Meet at 8a at the new location of Audubon Kids Zone in Henderson’s East End at the corner of Letcher and Powell

Projects include(but not limited to):

Parks group-Henderson-South Heights School-Heath Farmer

-Jefferson School-Jon Tabor

- Central Learning Center-Matt McCraw

-City Parks-Robby Mills and Ryan Nunn

Bennett Memorial-Henderson-Community One housing projects-Lori Reed, Matt McCraw, Ryan Nunn

-Street to street trash pick up-Ryan Nunn

-Community Garden preparation-Melody Schrader

-Bennett Memorial-Wayne Bennett

Bring a friend, bring your church, bring a trash bag, bring a broom/rake or bring a project, but most importantly

Party and celebration to follow with food and fun at Bennett Memorial parking lot at 503 Letcher Street at noon.

For more information call Ryan Nunn at 279.860.1064 or Matt McCraw at 270.748.1201

260,000 Leaders in 875 cities

2015WebBanners_350x250The Global Leadership Summit is in it’s 21st year and has become the premier annual leadership event to attend! On August 6th and 7th, you will be able to experience the Global Leadership in one of four tristate locations in Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky:

Evansville East at Crossroads Christian Church 

Evansville West at One Life Church-West

Owensboro Kentucky at the Owensboro Convention Center (provided by C12 Tristate)

Henderson Kentucky at One Life Church Henderson

We are looking for partner churches in all four areas of the tristate. If you are interested you can contact Bob Seymore at to connect to the coordinator at the venue nearest your church. The basic requirements of a partner church are found by clicking here.

This years speakers include some familiar names like Bill Hybels, Jim Collins and Craig Groeschel with some new faces like Ed Catmull from Pixar, Horst Schulze from the Ritz Carlton Corporation and Brian Houston from Hillsong Australia.

Here’s the complete 2015 faculty…


Why leverage the GLS as a resource for your church or organization?

Here is a survey based on participants and the impact of these two days:


Cultivating Soft Skills in Workforce Development: K-12 Initiatives

Join this free webinar….

Session Description: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 9.6 million unemployed people in the United States in August 2014, while at the same time there were 4.8 million job openings. While a lot of attention is paid to the lack of technical skills that job candidates possess and the need to invest more in training for STEM jobs, it is also true that one of the biggest barriers faced by employers when hiring is the candidates’ lack of “soft skills” (e.g., being able to communicate effectively, think critically and be a reliable team player).

During this Exploring Innovation webinar series from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, we will hear from leaders in education, academia and business regarding what it means to have a workforce that possesses the soft skills demanded by employers. We will highlight innovative approaches to acquiring and developing these skills in early childhood, K-12 and higher education — strategies that are positioning communities to have a thriving talent pool for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Click here to join the session using the webinar feature.

Delaware Elementary-One Life Kids

This webinar on April 16 will provide insight into what is being done during the school-age years to prepare our future workforce with these invaluable soft skills. In this second of three webinars, participants will learn:

The importance of continuing to develop soft skills from kindergarten through 12th grade…

-How a leading manufacturing firm came to embrace and actively support the development of soft skills among high school students

-How a network of high-performing charter schools in St. Louis is having success with their character education program

Next session is May 7, 2015 — Cultivating Soft Skills in Workforce Development: Higher Education Initiatives

Listen to the archived first session: March 5, 2015Cultivating Soft Skills in Workforce Development: Early Childhood Initiatives


1199 Love Banquet..2015

The South Heights Kids take their families out for the evening.

From Principal Rob Carroll in his weekly staff newsletter…

I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about Saturday night’s big event…”The Love Banquet!” This is truly a one of a kind happening.

Let’s review: Our students earned hundreds of Blazer Bucks in the fall to spend at Santa’s Treasure Island Mall. As you know, they always try to buy for their families first. One of the options, the last two years, is the Love Banquet…a night of food and entertainment offered by a partner of ours!

If you haven’t been…you almost can’t comprehend the “bigness” of it!

IMG_9207Students and their families arrive to a grand dining room that extends through the whole building! They are welcomed by hostesses in white shirts and black pants. As the evening rolls on, our families are fed delicious meals (brought to their tables by volunteer servers), provided with incredible entertainment (thank you Beauty and the Beast cast, Anthony and Mr. DBO), had the chance to win over $2500 in giveaways, and were lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet and listen to former UK/NBA star Kalenna Azubukie!

What a night? Let’s look at the numbers: 280 guests, 100 volunteers, $2500 in giveaways, and $4000 for dinner and extras. That just tells part of the story though. This means so much to the 1199! True partners are not easy to come by. We are blessed with several. This event, in our minds, is such an incredible outpouring of “love” in our students’ direction! Why? Because the volunteers from One Life Church don’t have to do this. That is what makes it so powerful. They choose to! hundreds of hours of planning and preparation with the only outcome being “love” and they chose our kids! Cynthia, Ryan, and the rest of the volunteers…just like you showed our students such incredible love…we want you to know that the feeling is mutual. We care about who cares for our students. It is obvious you do!

This is not about churches and schools. It’s about partners coming together to benefit our kids! ILARAMBAS and thank you! ….Rob Carroll

Audubon Kids Zone


Plans in works for Audubon Kid Zone in the East End

Erin Schmitt…9:52 PM, Jan 20, 2015

Community development in Henderson is taking another strategic step forward.

Plans are in motion to create Audubon Kid Zone East End Hub — which will address neighborhood children’s needs from prenatal to career.

Representatives from various community entities have been meeting at Shoney’s Restaurant on Tuesdays for three years to discuss priorities in the East End. A group of them spoke at the Henderson County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night to announce their newest, and what they consider greatest, project.

“It is the idea of building and knowing every child in that neighborhood that’s under-rescourced,” said Community One Director Lori Reed.

She added that it’s also about building and knowing institutions that serve children and being able to identify gaps. The Audubon Kid Zone intends to build collaborations where the gaps are so children are better served.

The project is in program design mode, but Reed said they have received a six-figure contribution from a private donor to get started. The city of Henderson has also pledged support with money and human resources for the building project and beyond, said Henderson City Commissioner Robbie Mills.

“It’s a good idea to build parks, it’s a good idea to put curbs and gutters in and to help people improve their housing, but when you start helping children with their future, that’s where we’re doing big work,” Mills said.

The next step in community development is strategically linking what is being done with affordable housing with what educators are doing in schools, Reed said. The Audubon Kid Zone East End Hub would serve students from South Heights, Jefferson and possibly East Heights.

“We feel like we’ve done a lot of good work, but we still aren’t getting the levels of success from our kids from conception to career,” said South Heights Principal Rob Carroll. “We realize you can’t just do it as a school.”

The group plans to come back before the board when it has more concrete plans, said Buzzy Newman, assistant manager for the city of Henderson. The group will also consider expanding into other neighborhoods.


Kids Zone-East End


In late 2011, a group of leaders in Henderson began the journey of determining the needs and opportunities in what was considered a declining neighborhood called the “East End”. While exact boundaries are debated, it was generally defined by the group as 2nd Street to Madison to Green Street to Atkinson.


Engage-Slide-16x9The group was started by One Life Church with the idea of focusing on development and improving the quality of life in a specific geographic area, but soon included people from various organizations and backgrounds and was given the name “Engage”. The group is not a legal entity and prefers to say that “Engage” is a verb not a noun. For 3 years the Engage team has met almost every week on Tuesday mornings at Shoneys in Henderson to discuss and move ideas forward in the East End development.


EngageOne of the dominating values of Engage has been to listen to the neighborhood residents and to work towards collaborative solutions. In that context, there have been multiple listening sessions connected to the Engage journey….

  1. USI managed and summarized door-to-door surveys in October and November of 2011.
  2. Community Wide visioning sessions were facilitated by Sue Ellspermann from USI at South Heights Elementary in December of 2011 and in February of 2012 identifying and working towards 6 priorities in East End.
  3. Based on results from East End research and needs, the Sustainable Evansville Area Coalition(SEAC) included the East End in their federally funded comprehensive plan called “A Regional Plan for Sustainable Development”.
  4. Additional Neighborhood discussions happened at Bennett Memorial on Letcher Street in October of 2013 and results were presented to the Henderson Chamber of Commerce in December of 2013 by Bernardin Lochmueller with an overview of an East End revitalization plan.


While ideas from the neighborhood and residents have evolved from the assimilation of the various discussions and include a variety of issues, many of the conclusions are connected to kids.

Some examples include:

-Drug free East End

-Mentoring programs for kids and adults needing career and family support

-Closer relationships between law enforcement and neighbors and children

-Support for South Heights with facilities and resources

-WIFI through out the neighborhood

-Enhancement of the Arts in East End

-Safe and productive environments for kids after school

Kids Zone

405401_457706637582701_1225390405_nA significant contributor to the discussion in East End has been the Principal of South Heights Elementary-Rob Carroll. Rob has created a culture at South Heights that seems to overcome many of the socioeconomic issues that his kids face as part of a 90% free lunch demographic, but he also knows that these kids need every resource possible to succeed in Middle School, High School and beyond.

Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, Rob and the Engage team have discussed what the idea looks like in the East End of Henderson. In October of 2013, a team of 15 from Engage Henderson went and visited the HCZ headquarters and kid’s facilities in New York.

pipelineTo summarize the essence of Harlem Children’s Zone( here is an excerpt from their business plan called “Whatever it Takes”….

 “The Harlem Children’s Zone has created a new paradigm for fighting poverty, intended to overcome the limits of traditional approaches. Our model focuses primarily and intensively on the social, health, and educational development of children. To help support that development, we also provide wrap-around programs that improve the children’s family and neighborhood environments.

The theory of change underlying the HCZ model requires the coordinated application of its five core principles. To create change it is necessary to: 

• Serve an entire neighborhood comprehensively and at scale. Engaging an entire neighborhood helps to achieve three goals: it reaches children in numbers significant enough to affect the culture of a community; it transforms the physical and social environments that impact the children’s development; and it creates programs at a scale large enough to meet the local need.

• Create a pipeline of support. Develop excellent, accessible programs and schools and link them to one another so that they provide uninterrupted support for children’s healthy growth, starting with pre-natal programs for parents and finishing when young people graduate from college. Surround the pipeline with additional programs that support families and the larger community. 

• Build community among residents, institutions, and stakeholders, who help to create the environment necessary for children’s healthy development. 

• Evaluate program outcomes and create a feedback loop that cycles data back to management for use in improving and refining program offerings.

• Cultivate a culture of success rooted in passion, accountability, leadership, and teamwork.

Harlem Children’s Zone began with a focus on 24 blocks representing 3000 kids and now represents 100 blocks and 10,000 kids. Programs include Baby College for new moms, mentoring programs, libraries, health programs, reading programs, fitness, after schools programs, career and college prep and the list goes on. But the most important element is tracking and measurement. Kids are tracked to not get lost in the system and results are measured for effectiveness at every level.

What’s Next

Using similar values and metrics to the Harlem Children’s Zone, it has been the desire of South Heights, City Leaders, Community leaders and the Engage team to create an entity focused on East End kids. There are about 1800 kids under the age of 18 in the East End area. And while there are a lot of differences between East End and Harlem, the common ground is the need to create a pipeline of services to support their success.

IMG_1385The idea would be to create a new organization dedicated to a Kids Zone in Henderson’s East End. The organization would include representation from business and education leaders including some primary funding partners. The ideal would be to immediately purchase or build a facility in the East End on the Letcher street corridor where the Kids Zone idea could have a presence in the neighborhood and the kids could “own it”. It would start with some full time staff with the capacity to work directly with Rob Carroll and South Heights to expand successful programs that are currently limited by the facilities and resources of schools.

The idea of East End Kids Zone is collaborative support for an under resourced neighborhood. Working with the local schools, neighbors and existing non-profits…East End Kids Zone would be an entity committed to the success of kids from birth to college and ultimately committed to stopping the cycle of poverty in an important area of the Henderson Community.

Stay tuned. We are anticipating major developments yet in 2014.