Hughes & Coleman Hometown Hero: Shelly Thomas

Shelly Thomas displays resilience while being a leader in Barren County, making her the Hometown Hero of the month
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 10:00 AM CDT
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GLASGOW, Ky. (WBKO) - Shelly Thomas is the Family Resource Youth Service Center Coordinator at the Trojan Academy in Barren County.

She ensures every child has school clothes and supplies.

She even makes sure they have gifts for Christmas. Shelly knows that when students don’t have the resources they need, it negatively affects not only their lives, but their education as well.

“She’s kind of the heart of this school district,” says Heather Gardner, Barren County Schools District Communication officer and grant writer. “She’s one of those people.”

Shelly’s initiative and love for her community shows in her work with the residents of Barren County.

“It’s the love we have for one another and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

She believes that everyone has value and brings that value to everything they do, and this idea is the force behind the FRYSC’s “Resilience Factor” program that she leads.

The program focuses on relationship building while providing wrap-around services that include mental health counseling, academic assistance, transportation, and much more.

Resilience Factor is not limited to students but encompasses the entire community. Shelly doesn’t see them as individual families in the program. “We are one big, beautiful family. We’re a big mess sometimes but we’re beautiful just the same,” she said.

Members of the Resilience Family were eager to speak about their adoration for Shelly.

“She brings love into our community. She just has a kind soul,” said Alisha Carter, a resilience factor mother.

Janiyah Vega-Perez, a junior at Barren County High School and member of the Resilience Factor credits Shelly for helping her family. “She’s definitely brought my family closer to each other and I look forward to going every day to see what she has planned next.”

“I love Ms. Shelly, she’s a great person,” said Barren County Junior Gabriel Woodcock.

This outpouring of love inspires and empowers Shelly to do more for the community she serves.

The first project of the Resilience Factor was the murals painted on the basketball courts at Gorin Park. The positive attention and support that the project received has garnered requests for more beautification requests in the area. They were asked to paint a basketball court Weldon Park and a mural at city hall.

The group is always looking for the next thing that brings beauty and love to the area and want to see everyone grow and thrive.

Shelly says that she is continuing the work of others that have come before her and has faith that the positivity she spreads will continue for years to come. “I’ve worked under some of the most beautiful people, wonderful leaders and it’s so gratifying to be able to give back and just continue to blaze a path that so many wonderful people started.”