Surrounded by Louisville student activists, Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis announced a statewide initiative to encourage student-led education service projects Sunday.
Called the Student Ambassador Initiative, Lewis is asking for student groups to pitch ways they’re promoting the importance of education in their communities. The five most impactful projects will be invited to an April awards luncheon.
Standing in the gymnasium of the Chestnut Street YMCA at the initiative’s launch, Lewis said the students surrounding him — members of Louisville’s Balling for a Cause group — inspired him to launch the program.
Balling for a Cause, which includes students in Louisville and Southern Indiana, pushes the importance of early parental involvement in education.
“While Balling for a Cause focuses on students who have been affected by violence in their neighborhoods and in their families, I am certain that communities in Kentucky’s other 119 counties have different needs, however the same idea unites us all,” Christopher 2X, community activist and spokesman for Balling for a Cause, said in a news release.
Groups like Balling for a Cause give students a stake in their education, Lewis said, actively engaging them in their community and their education.
That engagement is important in larger state education goals, including “raising the bar” and closing achievement gaps, he said.
“We want to recognize and empower passionate students to achieve at higher and higher levels, inspire their peers to work hard and achieve, and actively serve their communities,” Lewis said in a news release.
Kentucky student groups from public schools, nonprofits and faith organizations can apply to participate in the program throughout January. Groups will submit a video explaining their project’s impact in March.