Audubon Kids Zone

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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.

 

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