Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Family Resource-Youth Services Center programs (FRYSC) have been awarded a $100,000 grant for the purpose of constructing a custom bus, known as "The Community Cruiser," according to Director of Federal and State Programs for Edmonson County Schools, Jamie Carnes.
The grant is part of a $15 million dollar project from the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 2 (GEER II). According to Governor Andy Beshear's office, the statewide grants will fund educational support services needed due to COVID-19’s impact on schools, youth, and families, with a focus on early childhood education and child care, as well as family crisis and mental health counseling.
According to Mr. Carnes, Edmonson FRYSC, along with other local community agencies, found barriers that not only limited their local programs during the pandemic, but also prevented students from traveling to Brownsville to participate in these programs when they were available. This led to the development of ideas revolving around ways to bring school needs and FRYSC programs to families in small group settings.
Some of the programs provided by the FRYSC are the Back-To-School Bash, 16th Birthday Bash, Holiday Assistance, Future Blackhawks, Future Bulldogs, and help with Cram The Cruiser.
The Community Cruiser will be an Edmonson County school bus no longer used for daily passenger transportation that will be completely customized on both the inside and out. The end result will be more like a tour bus or RV. Carnes said while the planning for the customization is still in its early stages, some ideas include seating and rugs for early childhood programs, tables and chairs for office space, partitions for healthcare programs, an awning for outdoor programs, an onboard generator, public-address speaker system, and other setups meant to help bring their programs to the community.
"We want this to be a versatile vehicle that will meet many community needs," Carnes said. "This is basically going to create opportunities for us to bring many programs we currently provide out to the community."
Carnes said the FRYSC will also be working alongside other community organizations that include but are not limited to: A Plus Family Healthcare, The Edmonson County Cooperative Extension Office, other EC Schools programs, LifeSkills, and Brownsville Missionary Baptist Church, which is the school's partner for the Affordable Christmas and the Backpack Programs.
"We will also be working with Lannie Deweese, our Director of Transportation and the Transportation Department, said Carnes. "We also appreciate Superintendent Brian Alexander who guaranteed full support with a donation of a bus and a partnership with our Bus Garage. The arrangement will provide insurance, bus maintenance, storage, fuel, and a system of support throughout the renovation and implementation process."
Carnes said that they're consulting with an automotive repair company for the custom work required for the vehicle but a time frame is unknown for when the vehicle will be on the road in Edmonson County.
"We hope this will add a better way of serving our community with our programs," he said. "It would not be possible without this grant and all the folks collaborating to make it happen."