LOUISVILLE—Five years ago, Alisha Conn left work for what she thought was a routine doctor’s appointment.
The news she received was anything but routine: Her kidneys were failing.
Conn is now on a transplant list, awaiting new kidneys. Her medical bills are taken care of through disability benefits and Medicare.
But when Conn was diagnosed, she was uninsured. “And I really didn’t have a back-up plan,” she recalled.
The Baptist Fellowship Center, with which Conn had been involved since she was a child, stepped in to help.
The center’s prescription drug assistance program kicked in for Conn’s life-saving medications, which cost upward of $1,000 a month.
“Baptist Fellowship (Center) ended up being my back-up plan,” she said
Conn is a single mother who lives around the corner from the center. Her daughters, Jasmine, 13, and Makayla, 8, are involved in a number of the activities offered to neighborhood children.
Makayla recently wrapped up her second year at the Baptist Fellowship Center’s day camp for kids ages 6-12.
Thanks to the program, Makayla’s future seems just a little bit brighter.
The center has established a partnership with Campbellsville University that provides $500 scholarships to all of its day campers, should they choose to attend CU after high school.
With two years of day camp under her belt, Makayla now has $1,000 set aside to attend Campbellsville.
The partnership is designed “to plant a seed and then help some children see for themselves the advantage and the importance of thinking about going to college,” said Matthew Smyzer, executive director of the Baptist Fellowship Center.
Alisha Conn’s story is representative of the center’s primary mission of meeting the educational and health needs of residents in the Parkland neighborhood of west Louisville.
Many households in the area are led by single mothers struggling to make ends meet on incomes at or below the poverty line.
“I’m a single mother who tries to work hard, tries to maintain and live a Christian life and to show my kids that you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it and stay focused,” Nesha Richardson said.
Richardson came to the center a couple of years seeking help to pay her electricity and gas bill. She also has received clothes for her three children through the center’s clothes closet.
Richardson said it wasn’t easy to seek help, but those who work at the center never once made her feel uncomfortable for asking.
In fact, Richardson said the love and support she has received from the Baptist Fellowship Center has empowered her to improve her and her children’s lives.
“I told myself I’m going to live better as a mother, but also for my children,” she said, “because I want my children to have the best things in life.”
Richardson and her children have also gotten involved in a local church, West Chestnut Baptist.
Smyzer pointed to Richardson and Conn as success stories and powerful examples of the Baptist Fellowship Center’s mission in action.
“A lot of times, all people need is just a little nudge to get over the hump,” he said. “So, when people are really trying to help themselves, then what little we’re able to do to help out actually goes a long way.”
Learn more about the Baptist Fellowship Center at www.bfcenter.org.