On Saturday, August 4, 2018 the YMCA of Central Kentucky in partnership with the Fayette County Public Schools, sponsors, and community partners held its annual Back-to-School-Rallies. These rallies provided more than 6,000 elementary, middle, and high school children with backpacks and grade-appropriate school supplies in 17 Lexington neighborhoods.

Lexington kids create ‘slime’ at a science/ arts & crafts table

The 6,000 backpacks were collected in another YMCA initiative called Operation Backpack. They asked the community to extend a helping hand to children and donate new, full-size backpacks that included a note of encouragement for the kids going back to school.

Nearly 48,000 children have been served through these Back-to-School-Rallies since the YMCA began coordinating it in 2011.

“The Y is honored to once again lead this initiative. For many of us, purchasing back-to-school supplies is something we don’t give a second thought to. But for many, right here in our community, it’s a very real financial hardship,” said YMCA of Central Kentucky President and CEO David Martorano.

The rallies began with thousands of children and their parents making their way to each distribution site to register for the backpacks. Afterwards, the kids could enjoy a variety of activities;  which included inflatables, arts and crafts, games, and food and drinks (activities varied by location).

Brooklyn Queen performs at YMCA Back to School Rally at Douglass Park

At 10 am, a press conference was held at the Douglass Park distribution site. Several speakers included David Martorano, YMCA of Central Kentucky President and CEO; Angie Green-Hampton, President, Georgetown Street Area Neighborhood Association; and James Brown, First District Councilmember, LFUCG. Manny Caulk, Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent, was unable to attend.

This year’s festivities also included a headline performance by teen rapper and viral sensation, Brooklyn Queen. The 13-year-old released her album in 2017, and it has eclipsed 100 million music video views. There were also guest performances by Brooklyn Queen’s little sister, and fellow hip-hop artists Que 9 and Devine Carama.


List of 2018 Rally Locations:

  • Bainbridge/Squires Valvoline (corner of Blazer Parkway and Palumbo Drive)
  • Caroline Memorial Community Center (Nicholasville)
  • Coventry/FCPS (formerly Imani)
  • Coolavin Park
  • Douglass Park
  • Eastland Park Nazarene (with Remnant Church)
  • Gainesway Community Center
  • Gardenside Christian Church
  • Gethsemane Lutheran Church
  • Green Acres Park
  • Lou Johnson Park
  • Marlboro Park
  • Russell Cave Church of Christ
  • Shiloh Baptist Church
  • Total Grace Baptist Church
  • Valley Park
  • Woodhill Park

For more information about the Back-to-School Rallies, visit ymcacky.org/backtoschoolrallies

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