Backside Learning Center gives back to workers who make Derby happen
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Backside Learning Center is tucked in between the barns on Churchill Downs property.
The goal is to be accessible to the workers and their families.
“We don’t consider ourselves a charity,” Executive Director Sherry Stanley said. “We are just a resource center that is giving to, but also learning from the community back here.”
Stanley said about 85 percent of backside workers are Spanish speakers. She said the center helps about 1,000 people throughout the year.
They distribute clothes and fresh food to people on Mondays. They offer services to make life as easy as possible, like filling out documents, offering English classes, or helping with homework for the kids.
“Whatever that family needs, we create a safety net for them,” Jennifer Dutton said.
Dutton is a social worker and the social services manager for the Backside Learning Center. She is the daughter of immigrants, so this work is close to her heart.
She said services expanded this year by offering therapy.
“I was really able to help out a few people with individual therapy, but I also had a really large group of kids where we met every week to just kind of do some group therapy and decompress with COVID,” Dutton said.
Dutton wants people to appreciate these families the way she does.
“We have workers who get up at like 4 in the morning,” Dutton said. “They work every single day. They work really long, hard jobs and they allow this to happen.”
Stanley agreed, saying the goal is to make the Backside Learning Center a safe and welcoming environment for the diverse community.
“We want people to feel like they are embraced and appreciated for the hard work that they’re doing here and for everything they’re contributing for our community,” Stanley said. “And that they feel like they are a part of our community and an important part of our community.”
You can visit their website to volunteer with the Backside Learning Center. Volunteers do not need to speak Spanish for some programs.
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