STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE: Education
Giving children the building blocks they need to succeed is the goal of The Foundry as they strive to break generational poverty through education.
"When he came in he didn't know many of his colors, he didn't count very much," says Kiosha Owens, whose son, AJ, goes to The Foundry.
"Children without any intervention and from a poverty-stricken home are automatically 18 months behind," explains Susan McCloud, the Educational Director for The Foundry.
"So many come in so unprepared," said Dani Ray with The Foundry. "They don't know how to hold a pencil, (they) don't know how to hold a pair of scissors, (they) don't know how to simply eat with a spoon."
According to the Governor's Office of Early Childhood, as of the 2015-2016 school year, only half of Kentucky kids tested kindergarten ready. McCloud says in the West side of Bowling Green, the numbers are even lower:
"On this part of town, 74% of them are testing not ready."
The Foundry is also helping the parents. They have to meet a number of requirements, including being employed for 20 hours a week or being in school part-time and attending six parenting involvement classes.
"You learn about rent, you learn about insurance. It's different things that they provide," said Diondra Anthony, a Foundry parent.
"I just want you to be engrossed in what your child is doing, that's the ultimate goal," explained McCloud.
"So if you feel like you're all alone in the world you can come here and ask Ms. Susan and she will figure it out."
As the children and parents work to build a better future, those with The Foundry hope they feel the investment as they move onto kindergarten and beyond.
"It not only changes a child, it changes a family, it changes a community, it changes a generation," says Ray.
The Foundry is free to qualifying families; 72% of funding comes from private donors and the other 28% comes from grants and subsidies.