Kentucky Colonels give back to local youth center

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Colonels are giving back to the community.

Saturday, about 15 Kentucky Colonels helped clean and organize the Arbor Youth Services shelter, making supplies easy for volunteers to find and quick to grab for a youth on the go. It’s part of the Kentucky Colonels’ fifth annual Day of Service.

“To connect back with younger people here, it means a lot. I think it’s important for the community. We live downtown, less than a mile away, and we see a lot of students, we see a lot of homeless,” said Kentucky Colonel Jim Hartsfield.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, 535 students in Fayette County experienced homelessness over the course of the 2020-2021 school year.

“We’re all here to try to help and facilitate this organization that I think is great here for the service for the young people here in the city,” said Hartsfield.

The help is needed. The Kentucky Colonels cleaned out the house for kids ages 18 to 24, but the shelter is home to kids of all ages.

Andrew Shayde, Development Director at Arbor Youth, says the shelter serves kids from many different home situations.

“They’ve been abused, they’ve been…maybe left on our doorstep…we had a mother who tried to set her son on fire. We’ve had kids that were living in a barn because their parents had nowhere else to go. Kids that were living in a car and a police officer found them and brought them here so they were warm and safe,” said Shayde.

Shayde also says youth homelessness is sometimes through no fault of their own.

“Some people think, man, if they’re nineteen and homeless, it’s their own fault, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. We hear their stories every day, we see what they go through,” said Shayde.

The Kentucky Colonels were awarded $2.1 million to support 275 charities throughout the Commonwealth. Arbor Youth was one of five different non-profits across Kentucky who received volunteer help from the Kentucky Colonels on Saturday.

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