Peace Education

Youth explore appreciation for differences at Peace Ed’s Teen Leaders for Diversity Camp.

Living in a nation that feels more divided with each passing day can take an emotional toll on all of us. But bright spots in this tumultuous time exist in our community. The Peace Education Program is one of them.

Known as Peace Ed, the organization – which began 35 years ago and currently includes 88 schools and 67 community sites in its network – provides learning experiences to youths and adults that help reduce violence, enhance personal integrity and foster mutual support. To learn more, we spoke with Executive Director Eileen Blanton.

HOW IT HAS EVOLVED

“The program started 35 years ago when we were teaching conflict resolution in one classroom in one school,” said Blanton. “We have worked tirelessly over the last (several) years to bring new initiatives to Louisville youth. Some of those initiatives include reducing prejudice and training gang-involved youth on conflict resolution. We have introduced our programs to entire middle schools and preschools. (We) have also created a mediation manual that is being used by different conflict resolution educators around the world.”

Last year, they joined forces with community partners Dr. Eddie Woods, KentuckyOne Health, University of Louisville Hospital, the Louisville Metro Department of Safety and Healthy Neighborhoods and others to establish “Pivot to Peace.” This collaboration is providing an opportunity for victims of stabbings and gunshot injuries to identify and address the factors in their lives that have put them at risk of violence, both physically and mentally, and to help turn their lives around.

THEIR REACH

“We impacted over 25,000 youth and community members, served 26 schools and 15 community sites and provided professional development training for 300 adults during the 2016-2017 school year,” Blanton affirmed. “On average, in just 8.44 hours, Peace Ed can demonstrate an 84 percent increase in youth knowledge of strategies for nonviolent conflict resolution and a 30 percent increase in their use of listening, communication and conflict resolution skills.”

Thanks to Peace Ed’s work, thousands of people in Louisville are able to reject violence and choose peaceful ways of solving their problems. From the streets to hallways and boardrooms, Peace Ed alums are recognized as “champions for change,” who continue to put their skills into practice in meaningful ways.

Campers at Laukhuf Elementary School build skills while playing cooperative games.

CELEBRATING CHANGEMAKERS

A group of Meyzeek Middle School students will be celebrated at Peace Ed’s upcoming event, Champions for Change: A Celebration of People that Make Peace Possible, taking place on Nov. 8 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.

“We are excited to honor the recipients of the Inaugural Lee Thomas Champion for Change Award,” said Blanton. “They exemplify the mission and values of Peace Ed to reduce violence, enhance personal integrity and foster mutual respect. The award goes to the Meyzeek Middle School Navigators, 10 young men who are surrounded by violence and have spent the last three years dedicated to developing the skills needed to navigate conflicts peacefully.”

The Navigators have met every week since sixth grade with Peace Ed trainer Durk Davidson learning to understand their own anger triggers and cues, strategies to de-escalate conflict and develop active listening and mediating skills. Their weekly meetings serve as a safe space to find mutual support in navigating the difficult – sometimes violent – situations they encounter at their school, neighborhoods and homes.

“The change I have seen in these guys since the first day we met is phenomenal,” said Davidson. “Every week, they share how they’ve used their skills to navigate conflicts and to improve their lives. I am so proud of these young men and how much they’ve grown. They are already a big part of their schools and neighborhoods being safer places to grow up.”

The Navigators invite the community to come celebrate Peace Ed’s 35 years of victories over violence with all the people who make peace possible throughout the city. There will be live music (including a special performance by Ben Sollee and Cynthia Fletcher), hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. 

“It’s impossible to measure the amount of violence that has been prevented by this work and all of the ways it impacts individuals for the rest of their lives,” said Blanton. “However, our efforts have been praised as a factor in reducing violent crime in Louisville this year by 35 percent. We are excited to celebrate our mission on Nov. 8 and join with our community to raise funds to help our youth to resolve their conflicts peacefully.” VT

Peace Ed’s Champions For Change

Kentucky Center for
African American Heritage

5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 8

peaceeducationprogram.org

502.589.6583

By the Numbers

• Schools with high levels of conflict cite their work with Peace Ed as reducing their conflicts by 25 to 50 percent.

• In just 8.44 hours Peace Ed can demonstrate:

– 84 percent increase in youth knowledge of strategies for nonviolent conflict resolution

– 30 percent increase in their use of listening, communication and conflict resolution skills.

• Teen Leaders for Diversity participants demonstrate:

– Curriculum understanding up 88 percent

– Diversity skills increase 66 percent

• 95 percent of the youth trained practice at least two new strategies for solving their conflicts nonviolently.

• National statistics show cooperative games programs decrease bullying by 43 percent.

• Schools that implement restorative practices (including conflict resolution and prejudice reduction skills) show an increase in attendance and a decrease in suspensions.

Nonprofit News

President and Founder of Operation Parent Jean Schumm, Karen Lawrence and Director of Community Partnerships for Operation Parent Amanda Gale. Photo courtesy of Operation Parent.

Karen Lawrence Helps Parents In Newly Released Video About Childhood Anxiety

Karen Lawrence, the founder of Camp Hi-Ho, is the featured spokesperson in the first celebrity educational video launched by local non-profit Operation Parent. The six-minute video focuses on childhood anxiety and informs parents about possible causes and warning signs as well as positive coping mechanisms and ways to help their child. The video is now accessible at operationparent.org/oldham-county.

The video is part of a series in a new program Operation Parent launched last month called the “21st Century Prevention Project,” which is based on empowering parents and encouraging them to set boundaries and talk early and often with their children about important cultural teen and pre-teen issues. The program implements a methodical and digital approach to prevention education, allowing busy parents to have immediate access to important information 24 hours a day, seven days a week on any digital device.

“We’re so excited about 21st Century Prevention because childhood anxiety, like many other issues, can be avoided and managed if parents know what to look for and how to address it early,” explains Operation Parent Founder Jean Schumm. “Karen’s tenure working with children at Camp Hi-Ho, as well as her own experience as a mother of three, made her a perfect voice to get the attention of parents everywhere and help inform them about the common issue of childhood anxiety.”

Additional educational videos in the series will focus on topics like cyberbullying, drugs and alcohol, healthy eating habits and vaping. The video series is being made possible thanks to support from Norton Healthcare, Baptist La Grange, Oldham County Fiscal Court and other donors.

A supplementary tool that is available for local parents through this initiative includes the organization’s elementary edition of The Parent Handbook, designed to raise awareness and prevent high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, cyberbullying and eating disorders. The Handbook was distributed to all fourth-grade parents in the Oldham County School district last month and was distributed to JCPS elementary counselors on Oct. 25 who will then send home to 7,776 fourth-grade parents later this year.

For more information about this project or Operation Parent, please visit operationparent.org or call 502.265.9045.

Community Foundation Of Louisville Selects 15 Artists For Hadley Creatives; Program Supports Working Artists In Louisville

 Fifteen Louisville-based artists have been selected to participate in Hadley Creatives, a program developed and supported by the Community Foundation of Louisville (CFL). This second cohort is a continuation of CFL’s commitment to cultivate a community of Hadley Creatives through 2023. Through a competitive application process, artists from multiple disciplines who demonstrated a strong creative vision and a readiness to pursue a career as a working artist were selected. The six-month program will help local artists build their professional practice, cultivate an expanded peer network and dedicate time for reflection and planning.

“The 2019 Hadley Creatives class is a reflection of Louisville’s diversity,” said Susan Barry, president and CEO of CFL. “The Community Foundation is pleased to respond to the creative needs of our community by bringing together performing, literary and visual artists for this unique collaboration.”

2019 HADLEY CREATIVES

Adrienne Miller, Visual Art

Andrew Cenci, Media

Brandon Ragland, Dance

Eli Keel, Theater & Literary

Erica De La O, Dance

Erica Rucker, Theater & Literary

Gibbs Rounsavall, Visual Art

Irene Mudd, Visual Art

Keith McGill, Theater & Literary

Morgan Eklund, Theater & Literary

Richard Sullivan, Visual Art

Sanjay Saverimuttu, Dance

Tatiana Rathke, Visual Art

Theresa Bautista, Dance

William Duffy, Visual Art

The Community Foundation of Louisville has worked closely with Creative Capital to build the six-month program. Creative Capital is a New York-based nonprofit that supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country by surrounding them with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers.

“We are excited to partner with Creative Capital to expand Louisville’s Hadley Creatives community,” said Ramona Lindsey, program officer at the Community Foundation of Louisville and staff lead on the program. “Our work will support a community of artists committed to professional best practices while expanding the impact of artists on the social fiber of our city and nation.”

The 2019 Hadley Creatives class was introduced to the Hadley Creatives community of participants and supporters on Oct. 21, with a reception at 21c Museum Hotel.

Creative Capital artists will lead the 2019 Hadley Creatives in a two-day professional development retreat beginning Nov. 10, at 21c. During the weekend retreat, the 15 participating artists will attend sessions on strategic and business planning, securing funding and communication for artists. The group will then meet monthly to further develop their professional skills with support from Louisville’s cultural, civic and business leaders.

Hadley Creatives is supported by the George and Mary Alice Hadley Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville. The Community Foundation designed Hadley Creatives as a way to nurture creative professionals and support a thriving arts economy throughout Louisville.

For more information about Hadley Creatives, contact Ramona Lindsey at the Community Foundation of Louisville, 502.855.6971 or ramonal@cflouisville.org.

Greater Louisville Foundation Receives $10,000 Grant From The Ups Foundation

The Greater Louisville Foundation received a $10,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, which drives global corporate citizenship and philanthropic programs for UPS (NYSE:UPS).

The grant will be used towards the GLI Workforce Inclusion & Education program to improve the workforce inclusion and education pipeline for underserved individuals in the Greater Louisville region.

Dollars will be allocated towards workforce research, travel expenses and program materials to support business engagement in the Academies of Louisville at JCPS.

“We are grateful to The UPS Foundation for investing in our efforts to improve college and career-readiness in our region,” Deana Epperly Karem, vice president for regional economic growth for GLI, said. “We will use this grant to further efforts to create the workforce of the future and ensure economic viability for people from all walks of life.”

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, The UPS Foundation identified specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: volunteerism, diversity, community safety and the environment.

In 2017, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $118 million in charitable giving around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at UPS.com/foundation.

“The UPS Foundation is honored to support the Greater Louisville Foundation’s efforts to get more students ready for the workforce and careers of the future,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. “Our goal is to fund powerful programs that make a lasting difference to the global community.”

At Home With Kimberly Rice

Kimberly Rice with daughter Trinity.

By Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Kimberly Rice is known for her giving spirit and works with several nonprofits within our community. As the administrative marketing manager with River City Housing, Rice works in a supportive role for every department. She recently graduated from the fall Leadership Louisville Ignite Program, where she worked with the Fund for the Arts initiative to help provide art experiences to people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to experience them.

Rice recently invited The Voice-Tribune into her home to share her five favorite things.

1. GRADUATION CAP

“This is the cap I wore when I earned my master’s degree from Indiana University Southeast in May 2017,” she said. “It is significant because graduating was on my bucket list, and I was able to do that. The scripture Jeremiah 29:11 on the top of the cap is my favorite and is about prosperity, hope and a future. Going into graduate school and other transitions in life, it was time to do some soul searching and trust in God. Sometimes faith is trusting that you know it will all work out.”

2. MOTORCYCLE HELMET

“A lot of my friends have no idea how much I enjoy riding on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle,” Rice revealed. “We just enjoy riding around together when we go out to dinner or just for quality time together. I absolutely love this helmet, and he gave it to me for my birthday. It’s jazzy and riding symbolizes a feeling of liberating yourself. When I’m riding, I see things from a totally different perspective that is inspiring.”

3. VINCE CAMUTO WEDGES

“Those are my Vince Camutos, and they express my desire to be different and unique,” said Rice. “I tried to find the perfect shade of this particular color (Canyon Brown) and this pair also had the embellishment, which makes them one of my favorite pair of shoes. I found them in the shoe department at Von Maur. When I see a cute wedge, I can feel pretty and feminine, and I have to get them because I don’t wear heels.”

4. THE UNOFFICIAL MASCOT

Rice joined the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority while attending the University of Kentucky. “One of our founders collected elephants,” she recalled. “When she passed away, the elephant was considered our unofficial mascot in her honor. The tradition is that you acquire 22 elephants as gifts in honor of our 22 founders, then you can buy your own.”

5. MOTHER’S DAY PHOTO

“(On) Mother’s Day 2017, my two daughters surprised me by taking me to Churchill Downs,” Rice remembered fondly. “It was the first time they were able to treat me and take care of all the expenses for the day. Trinity is my youngest and Jhade is older. We had so much fun on this day just spending time together.” VT

Growing Local Businesses One Cup At A Time


Story By Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co.

We take coffee shops for granted nowadays, but 25 years ago they were few and far between. The concept of a local coffee shop back then was not what it is today. But that didn’t discourage Mike Mays, Co-Founder and President of Heine Brothers’ Coffee.

Twenty-five years ago Mays was able to get his first Heine Brothers’ Coffee shop on Longest Avenue financed, and since then Mays has managed to grow the enterprise to 15 locations (with two more locations opening soon).

When Heine Brothers’ Coffee finally found the perfect building to house their headquarters, Wilson & Muir Bank was one of their first calls.  “We called Sam and he was there touring the building with us a day or two later,” said Mays.  WMB had Heine Brothers’ financing lined up to buy and renovate the building in no time. “It helps me sleep at night knowing that my bankers know my business and are committed to being there to help me grow it,” said Mays.

“Heine Brothers’ has become a local success story and a community treasure,” said Sam Winkler, WMB Senior Vice President. “Mike and Heine Brothers’ could bank with anyone in Louisville these days, but I am proud that he has chosen to bank with us at Wilson & Muir Bank,” added Winkler. 

Mays’ relationship with WMB goes beyond business. Brian Bates, WMB Senior Vice President, has also assisted Mays in getting residential loans on two different occasions. Due to Mays’ previous relationship with WMB, the process of getting a residential loan was simplified. “At the end of the day, it brings satisfaction knowing we help clients accomplish their objectives by being a local bank with local people making local decisions,” said Bates.

Wilson & Muir Bank’s decision makers are always accessible whenever a client needs them. It’s one of many reasons why Mays loves working with WMB. “They are ready to act quickly if an issue for Heine Brothers’ comes up,” said Mays. 

As coffee shops continue to be a part of our everyday lives now, Heine Brothers’ Coffee is excited about the future and continuing their relationship with WMB. “I couldn’t recommend Sam, Brian and the team at Wilson & Muir Bank more highly,” added Mays.

Boutique Buzz

Holiday Open House at Summer Classics

Summer Classics at Westport Village cordially invites you to attend their Holiday Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 1. The luxury furniture store will serve drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and a portion of sales from the evening will support Norton Children’s Hospital.

Summer Classics Holiday Open House

1321 Herr Lane, Suite 160

6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 1

502.426.1808


Chenoweth Square Holiday Walk

Chenoweth Square is making shopping for the holidays fun with their annual holiday walk. Shop from local favorites like B.You, Digs Home and Garden and Fleur De Lis Interiors while enjoying Christmas carols and refreshments. Donations will be accepted for Home of the Innocents during the walk. Items needed include bar soap, body lotion, toothpaste and hair brushes.

Kick off the holiday shopping season in style with one-of-a-kind selections at Chenoweth Square from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 9.

Chenoweth Square Holiday Walk

3907 Chenoweth Square

6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 9

facebook.com/ChenowethSquareWCW


Vogue Center Holiday Walk

Stock up for the holidays at the Vogue Center’s Holiday Walk from 5 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 9. Shoppers can sip and stroll through the center as they browse selections from some of the Vogue Center’s most popular merchants – including Anabel’s Oriental Rugs, Peppermint Palm, Blush and From the Vault – while enjoying tasty food and drinks from Coal’s Artisan Pizza and Cooking at the Cottage.  Begin your holiday shopping during this unique local experience.

Vogue Center Holiday Walk

3720 Frankfort Ave.

5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 9

facebook.com/fromthevaultlouisville

Letter from the Editor


Late last year, I was invited to speak at the City of New Albany Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast, a long-standing tradition that gives an opportunity to unite people of all ages, ethnicities and faiths. “These are not hopeless times,” I said with conviction as I stood at the podium. “These are trying times – but they are not hopeless.”

I’ve held onto that belief, but after the past week, I felt my stance waning. I didn’t know just how much so until Monday when I sat in the office of Red Pin Media Publisher Laura Snyder to go over the tasks at hand – including the production of the next issues of our publication – and somehow segued into what has transpired over the past week, nationally and here locally, in our community.

Bombs sent via mail. A horrific attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue filled with people who were worshipping on a Saturday morning. The shootings of Vickie Lee Jones and Maurice Stallard, who were killed at a Louisville Kroger after the gunman first tried to enter a predominantly black church and also allegedly proclaimed, “Whites don’t shoot whites,” after targeting Ms. Jones and Mr. Stallard, both of whom were people of color.   

The journalist part of me – the one who knows to her core that the media is NOT the enemy of the people – was educated to remain an outside observer, report on only what you know, refrain from passing judgment.

But I am also a mother, a wife, a family member, friend, engaged community member and, now, an increasingly fearful person who has begun to feel helpless in these trying times as shades of hopelessness creep in.

“I take my daughter to ‘our’ Kroger at least once a week,” I said as I looked at Laura.

“I look like them,” I said, my voice wavering slightly. “That could have been me.”

I looked down at my lap at that moment, a bit unsettled at my own response.

That could have been me.

That could have been you.

That could have been us.

Because we – all of us in some way – look like the people who were targeted all over the country, and right here at home, last week.

I willed back tears and looked away as I collected myself and looked down. My boot was halfway unzipped.

I’d been walking around like this half the day. Earlier that morning, my 2-year-old daughter Olive had used her favorite phrase – “What is that about?” – while peering at the zipper on my boots as she slowly peeled back the teeth. We were in a hurry then and I hadn’t stopped to address it as I rushed her to the car and then moved on to my next obligation.

But now, nearly in tears in Laura’s office, I stopped. And I smiled at my unzipped boot as I thought of Olive but heard this, too: “What’s that about?”

The increasing violence, hatred and dissension. The decreasing civility and kindness. What’s that about? What is driving this, why are we allowing it and what can be done to pick up the pieces and rebuild? I don’t have the answers – do you? – but I’m ready, finally, to join anyone who wants to find them.

These are trying times, but they don’t have to be hopeless times.

Business Briefs

Margo Morton.

Louisville resident assists health care service in Ball State project

Ball State University senior Margo Morton of Louisville is part of a student team helping a health care service acclimate new employees. After graduation in May, she hopes to return to Louisville and use the skills she learned at Ball State to work at an organization that she is passionate about.

In an immersive learning course over the 2018-19 academic year, Morton, nine other students and the faculty mentor are assisting Open Door Health Services, which offers affordable and accessible care to people throughout Delaware County in Indiana. The 10 students, divided into two teams, are focusing on the organization’s marketing and public relations and its orientation and onboarding process for new employees.

“I’m excited to be a part of this project,” Morton said. “Open Door Health Services fills an important role in the Muncie community, and I’m happy that I’m able to use the skills I’ve gained at Ball State to help the organization.”

Morton is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in sociology.

“Ball State encourages students to engage in a wide variety of subjects, and my communication studies classes have exposed me to so many interesting, enlightening ideas,” said Morton. “Ball State has armed me with knowledge and opportunities that I will be able to use throughout my life.”


Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Auto Group of Louisville on Oct. 20.

Dancing with the Cars – New Dealership Opening Launch Party

Longtime car dealership owner Edgar Migirov opened his second dealership in the East End of Louisville on Oct. 20, 2018. Auto Group of Louisville offers luxury, pre-owned vehicles with the same customer-friendly financing options.

Migirov opened his first dealership in Jeffersontown in 2008 with only five cars and has grown with over 100 cars in stock at any given time, along with the financial division, iDrive Financial in 2015, with which he has affiliations with more than 20 financing institutions. He has become known as Louisville’s credit specialist. At Auto Group of Louisville, consumers will appreciate the same level of service and financing options as iDrive Financial.

Auto Group of Louisville and iDrive Financial are Google’s top rated car dealerships in Louisville that offer auto sales, auto financing and auto repair.

At the official Auto Group of Louisville Launch Party, attendees mixed and mingled with car enthusiasts, test drove their favorite cars, enjoyed food and drinks and danced to beats delivered by DJ Ryan Coxx.

Auto Group of Louisville is located at 11601 Plantside Drive.


Local Certified Interior Designer Wins Prestigious Asid Award for Historic Modern Kitchen Project

A local certified interior designer, Bethany Adams, was recently recognized by The American Society of Interior Designers Ohio South/Kentucky Chapter (ASID) for her historic/modern kitchen project in Old Louisville. 

Bethany Adams.

She recently received the Residential Single Space Award for this project at their annual awards ceremony on Sept. 28, in Northern Kentucky.

Adams owns Bethany Adams Interiors. An architecturally-informed interior designer, Bethany moved to Louisville, Kentucky, after working in Chicago for several years and living in Paris for one. She bought and renovated her first home in the preservation district of Old Louisville; a project that was later featured on the American Institute of Architects home tour in 2016 and won the Kentucky/Southern Ohio American Society of Interior Designers award for “Best Large Residential” and “Best in Show” awards in 2017.

Bethany recently moved to a larger historic home in Old Louisville and commenced to renovate several areas of the house in her modern and eclectic taste. Under her own eponymous design firm, her bright and fun projects have made a splash in the Louisville area.

For more information on Bethany Adams Interiors, visit
bethanyadamsinteriors.com.

Power Of 1 Breakfast

Story by Volunteers of America


By Jennifer Hancock,

President & CEO

Volunteers of America

Each year at our Power of 1 Breakfast, Volunteers of America tells the stories of the lives we change. 

This year we talked about how compassion and kindness guide our mission.  More than 1,000 guests at the Omni Hotel in Louisville heard speakers explain how Volunteers of America started them on a new path. 

Megan Coldiron told her story of hope and recovery.  Megan came to us at her lowest point.  After being prescribed pain pills, her life had spiraled out of control.  She dropped out of school and could not live without drugs.  Her parents were raising her daughter.  She was being evicted from her apartment.  That is when she found Freedom House, Volunteers of America’s program for pregnant and parenting women working to overcome addiction. 

“Freedom House taught me that the choices I made when I was addicted and at my lowest point did not have to define me for the rest of my life,” Megan said. 

We know that’s true – and we know we cannot continue to provide support and care for the women who count on us without the help of our generous donors and partners.  We are so grateful to the many people who supported our mission at the breakfast, and invite you to join us and learn more. 

Learn more about how to help Volunteers of America change lives.  Visit @voamid on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit us at voamid.org

A Signature Cause

Marla Guillaume with Harper and Bennett. Photos by Andrea Hutchinson.

Serving mothers and babies through the March of Dimes and Signature Chefs Auction

By Laura Ross

Family photos courtesy of Kelsey Petrino Scott

It all happened very quickly. It was frightening, fast and then, there she was – all three pounds, three ounces of a tiny baby.”

One year ago this week, Kelsey Petrino Scott and her husband, L.D. Scott, were enveloped in a dangerous situation that threatened the lives of both Kelsey and their newborn, Anissa.

Bobby Petrino with granddaughter Anissa.

The daughter of University of Louisville head football coach Bobby Petrino, Kelsey and her husband, a UofL football defensive line coach, were no strangers to precarious births. Each of their first three children – Brianna, 8, Braylon, 6, and Emmett, 3 – were born prematurely, and Emmett began his life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

But this time was different. Anissa’s arrival, at just 32 weeks, was potentially perilous for both mom and baby.  

Anissa Scott shortly after her birth.

One in 10 babies is born prematurely, and premature birth is the number one cause of infant death. The U.S. has one of the worst rates of maternal death in the developed world. Additionally, African-American women are significantly more likely to die and give birth prematurely, and their children can face a 130 percent higher infant death rate.

The statistics are sobering and only affirm the importance of the work of the March of Dimes, a cause Kelsey and her family support. The six – including baby Anissa, who recently celebrated her first birthday – will serve as the Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction on Nov. 8.

Early Arrival

Despite three previous premature births, Kelsey had a relatively normal pregnancy with her fourth. But in October 2017, in the midst of a busy UofL football season, the family enjoyed a visit to a local pumpkin-picking farm. A couple of days later, Kelsey noticed swelling in her feet and hands. It quickly spread to her face and other areas. “I almost didn’t recognize myself,” she said.

Her blood pressure was elevated, and she was put on modified bed rest for two weeks while her husband and father headed to Florida State University for an important game.

“Bed rest is hard with three children, but my goal was to stay out of the hospital,” Kelsey said. However, a routine trip for an ultrasound and checkup showed her blood pressure had skyrocketed, and she was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a dangerous and potentially fatal complication. 

“I told my mom I had a feeling something was very wrong,” recalled Kelsey. “They wouldn’t even let me go home to pack a bag.”

She was immediately admitted to the hospital. After several days, Kelsey awoke with sharp stomach pains, which alarmed her doctors. An emergency C-section was ordered, with fears for her life and her unborn child’s in the balance.

“I had talked to my dad earlier that morning, and he had consulted with doctors in Florida and was freaking out, even though I was assuring him I was OK,” Kelsey recounted. By the time they spoke again, Bobby Petrino had already arranged, with help from the Florida State staff, for L.D. to fly home immediately on a private plane.

“My husband arrived at the hospital, they were waiting to scrub him in and they rolled me away,” Kelsey said. “I realized then it was a true emergency.”

Soon, their daughter Anissa was born. She weighed in at just over three pounds and was whisked away to the NICU, where she stayed for more than two weeks.

“When your baby is in the NICU, it’s like time freezes,” Kelsey explained. “You know all this stuff is going on around you, but the most important thing is that little infant lying there. You feel how much they need you. That was the hardest part.

Kelsey Petrino Scott with Anissa, Brianna, Emmett, L.D. and Braylon Scott.

“Because of the preeclampsia, I was stuck in bed after I’d given birth to this tiny baby,” she added. “I couldn’t even hold her or see her because the doctors’ focus was on me, to prevent me from having seizures or a stroke. My daughter was at her most vulnerable point, and I couldn’t be there at first. That was so hard.”

A Signature cause

Kelsey is grateful for the support provided by her family, friends and March of Dimes representatives when her children were in crisis.

“I was lucky enough to be able to focus on my NICU babies and be there every step of the way – to see them when I could, hold them when I could. I know that’s why they had short NICU stays,” she said. “Many people don’t have that opportunity and must stay there a lot longer, or the parents must go back to work, or they don’t live 15 minutes from the hospital. I was really blessed I could be with them in the NICU and get them home as soon as possible, with continued support from family and the March of Dimes.”

Anissa Scott at her first birthday party.

Events like the Nov. 8 Signature Chefs Auction help fund research to keep mothers and babies healthy and safe throughout pregnancy and birth. This year’s soirée, which will be held at the Omni Hotel, will welcome several hundred guests for an evening of feasting on culinary treats from 30 elite Louisville chefs, led by Volare Executive Chef Joshua Moore, who has recruited top chefs for the event for 11 years. The event also features dozens of silent and live auction items, and most importantly, will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for research toward preventing premature births and resulting health issues for mothers and babies.

“Our goal this year is to raise $325,000,” said Carolyn Harper, senior development manager for March of Dimes Kentuckiana. “Funds raised go toward research centers across the country that are trying to get to the bottom of why babies are born prematurely. One study at Stanford University is developing a blood test that is showing an 80 percent accuracy on determining if a woman will deliver early. This could be a lifesaver for both the mother and baby. Doctors can intervene, and hopefully it would lead to many more happy endings if a mother could have a simple blood test.”

Funding also assists an initiative that began in Kentucky called Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait, which focuses on targeted delivery dates after 39 weeks. Additionally, money raised provides education and resource programs for hospitals and expectant moms on wellness issues like smoking cessation, good nutrition, regular obstetrical checkups and ways to keep both the mother and baby healthy.

For Signature Chefs Event Chair Marla Guillaume, president of Century Lending Company, leading one of Louisville’s biggest fundraisers is a challenge she happily tackles, with an eye towards both fun and the mission. “We have to continue the research for babies before they come into this world and help all babies and moms have a normal pregnancy and delivery,” she said. “This event builds awareness and is a fun evening. It fills my heart to be able to know how much our culinary community gives to the March of Dimes each year.

Signature Chefs Event Chair Marla Guillaume.

Chef Josh Moore does a phenomenal job of getting with the chefs to give their time and amazing food. I find a new favorite restaurant to add to my list every year.”

Finding the Solution

Historically, March of Dimes was established by the need to find a cure for the polio epidemic. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt implored Americans to send spare change to the White House to raise money, people responded, and in time, a cure for polio was discovered through research funded by the organization.

“It’s amazing to think that back then, by people sending their pocket change, we found a cure for something as big as polio,” mused Carolyn. “Imagine what we can do with social media and all the ways we have to raise money today. In one night, in Louisville, Kentucky, we raise upwards of $325,000 for the March of Dimes. Just think what we can do for babies when the entire country responds like that.”

The Signature Chefs Auction is emotional for all involved. “When it’s all clicking, it’s so gratifying,” added Carolyn. “When you’ve given your heart and soul all year long to raise money while always keeping the mission in mind, we know we’re making a difference. I’m a firm believer that we’re part of a global effort to help healthier moms have healthier babies.”

“The thing that helped me the most was giving in to the situation, recalled Kelsey. “You can’t have control over it, and you have to trust the doctors and trust the research. My complications were not at all what I wanted or had planned, but I had to let fate carry me. Luckily for me, it turned out fine each time I had a premature baby. They’re all healthy today.

“All the nurses called Anissa feisty,” she continued. “She may have been a teeny-tiny baby, but that never occurred to her. She did things that no one expected a baby her size to do. She overcame it all, and we are so thankful.” VT

The Voice-Tribune is a proud sponsor of the Nov. 8 Signature Chefs Auction benefiting the March of Dimes.


Meet the Cover Girls

Harper and Bennett Rohrer are the daughters of Erica Rohrer, who served as event lead for the 2017 Signature Chefs Auction. At 10 months old, these little ladies are full of personality and were naturals in front of the camera. Though Harper and Bennett were born early at 37 and a half weeks, they didn’t have to spend any time in the NICU and are both healthy.

Marla Guillaume and Erica Rohrer with Harper and Bennett.
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson.

“We were very lucky,” said Erica. “March of Dimes really helps moms understand the importance of folic acid and prenatal vitamins, so I made sure to do everything I could while pregnant to make sure they were as healthy as can be. We attribute a lot of their success to the advancements March of Dimes has made.”

Signature Chefs Auction

Omni Louisville Hotel

5:30 p.m. Nov. 8

signaturechefs.org/louisville

502.473.6682

Power of One Breakfast

Volunteers of America (VOA) held its annual fundraising breakfast on Oct. 16 at the Omni Hotel. Attendees learned about the positive changes VOA makes in our community and heard from Freedom House graduate and keynote speaker Megan Coldiron, who overcame addiction while pregnant thanks to the work of VOA.

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

New Voices of Philanthropy

On Oct. 19 at the Speed Art Museum, The Voice-Tribune and the Community Foundation of Louisville recognized individuals making a difference in our community by giving the honor of New and Future Voices of Philanthropy. Guests celebrated the honorees and witnessed the awarding of a $3,500 grant split among their selected charities. Cathead Vodka provided complimentary cocktails and Wiltshire Pantry provided tasty appetizers.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Rodes Goes Red

Rodes For Him For Her partnered with the American Heart Association for a sip and shop fundraiser on Oct. 18. Shoppers enjoyed a trunk show and some phenomenal giveaways. Ten percent of the night’s sales benefitted the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson