Owensboro Parent - February/March 2023

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February // March 2023


31 The Joy of Sports Parenting

Andrea Millay offers advice on balancing multiple kids in multiple sports. DISCOVER

46 Setting your Kids Up for Success

Discover how to talk to your kids and have positive, meaningful conversations.

50 The Winter Meltdown

Learn ways to combat the winter blues and make it and survive until warmer weather arrives.

52 The Book Nook

Reading to understand others and grow in compassion

53 Preschool Guide

Discover your options for local daycares and preschools and advice on how to set your young student up for success OUT & ABOUT

64 Events Calendar

Our list of fun things to do around town this season!

66 Kids Meal Deals

Check out these local kids meal deals!


68 Youth Sports Photos submitted to our Facebook page sponsored by Owensboro Health!

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 5 Contents IN EVERY ISSUE 8 From the Editor 9 Around OBKY 10 Parent Profile KEEPING IT REAL 12 Volunteering Together Lora Wimsatt explains why families should volunteer together. 14 Hashtag MomFail Learn why writer Jamie Johnson is never giving up her mom jeans. MAKING IT 16 Recipe You don’t want to miss this yummy strawberry pretzel salad recipe! 18 Craft Time A simple heart garland craft for Valentine’s Day using! THE OWENSBORO PARENT PLAYBOOK
Your complete guide to local youth sports! PLUS: Three stories of young athletes dominating in multiple sports.
35 Meet the Mayor of Tamarack Ayden VanHoosier is known as the Mayor of Tamarack Elementary School. Pretty good for someone who is only in first grade. 40 Local Love Our friends at Owensboro Dermatology are spotlighting three Owensboro nonprofits and giving you tips on how your family can volunteer and give back. 28 Love of the Game Meet local referee Jimmy Vanover and learn about his passion for soccer and giving back to the kids on his field.


When I was really little, I wanted to be an artist. By the time I got to middle school, I wanted to be a writer. Crazy that my two jobs allow me to do both of those things!



Ashley Wedding


Katie Albers

Christina Dalton

Jamie Johnson

John Kirkpatrick

Andrea Millay

Laura Murphy

Meghann Richardson

Katy Tierney

Lora Wimsatt

Do you have a story idea? We want to hear from you! Email your suggestion to ashley@tannerpublishing.com



I used to say I was going to be a preacher or a break dancer. So, I guess you could say I wanted to be a break dancing preacher!

Brock Quinton

Owensboro Parent is a FREE magazine because of community support. Thank you to the great group of businesses and organizations who advertise.

For more information about advertising call 270-297-1600 or email brock@tannerpublishing.com.



Andrea Roberson

Monica Tapp



Jamie Plain


Dre’Mail Carothers

Photo by Jamie Plain



Dave Mackey

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facebook.com/owensboroparent instagram @owensboroparentmag twitter.com/owensboroparent


Jason Tanner

PO Box 9503 Owensboro, KY 42302 270-297-1600

I always remember wanting to do something in the arts. A dancer or singer were my first choices, but then I realized I had too much stage fright so I picked being a magazine designer instead — to work behind the scenes!

6 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023
“ “ “ ” ” ”

Ashley's Top Picks


Our kids love Mark Rober, a former NASA and Apple engineer now YouTuber, who uses his engineering background to create some epic videos -- like the worlds largest egg drop, where he sent an egg to space or the world’s strongest trampoline, where he dropped a car from 150 ft. Our favorite, and what got us hooked on Mark Rober, was the squirrel obstacle course he set up in his backyard. (Check it out, you won’t regret it!) Avery and Reed love Mark and we are all about promoting STEM activities, so we subscribed to Mark’s Crunch Labs, a toy that the kids can build with Mark each month. The first was this disc launcher, which the kids LOVED to build!


Taco vs. Burrito is hands down our #1 new favorite game! It’s seems complicated at first, but after you play once, you will get the hang of it. Reed is 7 and Avery is 11 and they both enjoy it. The concept is to have the most points at the end of the game, but other players deduct or steal your points throughout the game. We like it because it has a lot of “hate cards.” This is a term we use when cards are played that cause you to lose points — think the Draw 4 cards in Uno. Order Taco vs. Burrito for your next game night. I promise you will love it!

Being a sports mom is not a title I thought I would take on and definitely not a title in which I would have such pride.

Spring through fall, we are always on a field. Our SUV is full of the kids’ sports gear, a ton of dirt from the baseball diamond, folding chairs for the soccer field and dozens of water bottles. (And a lot of extremely smelly cleats.)

We have to make elaborate schedules to make sure we are at the right sport, on the right field at the right time. Any small change in the schedule involves a long text chain to all the grandparents who never miss a game.

We don’t get to eat meals at our dining room table very often.

Drew and I both take on extra responsibilities for the teams, volunteering to man the dugout or provide gifts and decorate for tournaments.

We have stocked up on fan wear and bought unnecessary items from the team fundraisers.


Because our kids love it. Because the lessons they learn from their sport far outweigh all of the chaos of baseball and soccer season.

For Avery, soccer is pushing her out of her comfort zone and giving her a new friend group. She is learning to fight for what she wants and building her character for the other aspects of her life.

For Reed, soccer and baseball help him learn teamwork and to put in effort to achieve his goals. He has learned humility, not to be defeated when something does not go his way and to share the spotlight.

I don’t know that Drew and I could teach those lessons to Avery and Reed any better than their coaches and teammates.


Drew and I didn’t get Christmas gifts for each other this year. We typically gift each other surprises throughout the year, so we just focus on the kids at Christmas. This year we commissioned a local artist, Heather Phillips (@swansdenart) to paint watercolors of our favorite hikes that we’ve taken. The two shown here are from the Natural Bridge, which is the first big hike we took the kids on at Red River Gorge and the other is of Cumberland Falls where we hiked, saw the rare Moonbow, and went whitewater rafting. We have 10 paintings total that remind us of some of our favorite memories together.

Are you wanting to get your child involved in a sport? Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide in the Owensboro Parent Playbook. You can also check out stories on three young athletes who are excelling in multiple sports and the lessons they

8 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023
the editor


When school returned in 2023, Foust Elementary School introduced Rebel as a new member to their Foust Family. Rebel will join the counseling office, working alongside Mrs. Jenni Owen. Rebel has been certified as a Canine Good Citizen and will soon test to be a certified therapy dog. Rebel has loved being in the school and looks forward to being an additional source of support and love for Foust students



Deer Park Elementary School and Burns Elementary School both performed in the Owensboro Lip Sync Battle, which serves at the largest fundraiser for Puzzle Pieces. The two teams went head to head in the Battle of the Bell Ringers. Not only did both teams step out of the classrooms and onto the lip sync stage in front of thousands in the audience, but they also raised money for the local nonprofit that serves more than 400 clients with disabilities. Ultimately, Deer Park was voted the winner, but both schools gave epic performances!


In December before the Christmas break, Meadow Lands Elementary School kicked off a new bike education program for Kindergarten students. MLES is the fifth school in the state to participate in this program through the Strider Education Foundation. Students will participate in a proven series of 8 learn-to-ride sessions. Community partners that helped financially support were recognized for their efforts to make this program a reality. The All Kids Bike program is another way to teach students a life skill that can improve their quality of life as an adult.

Student Spotlight:

Students in Mrs. Sommerville’s 2nd grade class enjoyed a pizza party in January. They earned this reward by demonstrating “PAWsome” attendance during the second nine weeks. All of the home rooms at Newton Parrish Elementary are working hard to get their class’s name entered in the drawing next time! Way to go, Bobcats!

Stella is a student at Cravens Elementary School, where she was awarded a PAWSitive referral in January. These students were nominated by their teachers for following PAWS expectations, being leaders in their classroom and being kind to others. According to her teacher, Mrs. Brown, “Stella always works hard to accomplish any task. She is kind and polite and always follows directions. We are proud of her progress!

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 9 AROUND
Photos by AP Imagery

Jill Castlen

Local mom, Jill Castlen, has become TikTok famous as Mama Jill. She started sharing her journey on TikTok about a year and a half ago, showing the funny and hard sides of motherhood and her weight loss. She has since lost 70 pounds and has gained 1.5 million followers and 71 million likes.

Over the holidays, Jill used her social media fame to give back to the community.

“Multiple nonprofits in Owensboro helped us get diapers, wipes, and so many other items for our baby,” Jill said. “I always wanted to give back and donate once we had established ourselves and now with social media as my full-time job I want to use it to help as many people as possible.”

After asking for donations from her followers, Jill had a garage full of items -more than 600 packages -- in just three days. All items were donated to local nonprofits to help other local mothers who may be struggling.

You can follow Jill on TikTok at @jill200016 and on Instagram at @jill200016_


I met my husband, Brandon, at 14 and we’ve been together ever since! We are now 22, but found out I was pregnant with our daughter at 16. We had to grow up very quickly, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! We moved out before I even graduated high school and had many struggles being teen parents. We had our son when we were 19.


It has completely changed our lives! Brandon and I are still in college full time, but are able to stay home with our kids and use social media as our full time job right now! Being a content creator is very challenging mentally. Of course, you are going to get bad comments and I used to let them affect me, but now I just use them as encouragement and motivation.


The best advice I can offer a new parent, especially young parents, is to go with your gut and to not beat yourself up over the struggles of being a mom/dad. We are all out here winging it! No matter what age you are when you become a parent, we all make mistakes and we all have to ask for help and advice! Don’t be too hard on yourself! Parenting is hard but as long as your kids are happy, healthy, loved, and safe you’re doing a great job! Be patient with yourself and always remember to apologize to your kids when you mess up. They are just tiny humans trying to navigate this crazy world just like us.


Keeping it Real

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 11

Volunteering Together


If you look up the definition of “nonprofit organization,” you might read that it is an “entity operated for a collective, public or social benefit.”

In other words, it involves a group of people who are doing something to help others.

There are a million nonprofit organizations right here in Owensboro/ Daviess County. Okay, maybe “million” is an exaggeration, but not by much.

There are nonprofits dedicated to supporting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social needs of individuals ranging from infants, or even pre-birth, to the elderly … and of course, our animal friends too.

There are nonprofits focused on providing quality of life experiences, ranging from entertainment to cultural enhancements in areas of visual and performing arts.

Some community nonprofits offer advocacy in areas involving business and careers, education, personal growth and advocacy. Others provide support in overcoming trauma and other challenging circumstances.

But they all have one thing in common: A desire to make life better for all of us, by making life better for their direct beneficiaries.

Throughout the recent holiday season and end-of-year month, most of us found our mailboxes – paper and electronic –overflowing with requests for support.

“Please give.”

“You can help.”

“We need you.”

“Support our work.”

“Make a difference.”

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So many wonderful, deserving causes … so few resources.

Because the truth is, however generous our spirits may be, our bank accounts have a very definite limit.

So we choose one, or a few, charities as beneficiaries of our gifts: A one-time donation, maybe a monthly pledge, or perhaps establishing a legacy bequest.

Those dollars and checks and automatic withdrawals really do make a difference, and have a value far beyond whatever is represented by the dollar amount. These gifts also provide meaningful encouragement to the organization that their work is noticed and appreciated.

Yes: Money is important. It matters.

Maybe your gift is not monetary, but tangible: A case of canned goods. A warm coat. A donation to a nonprofit’s flea market or silent auction. Household,

health and hygiene items.

To anyone who is able to give, however seemingly “small” your gift, please take heart in knowing your contribution makes a difference.

Or maybe you can give something even more valuable: The gift of your time.

There are dozens of nonprofit organizations featured in this issue of “Owensboro Parent” magazine. They –and the many, many others – all need help in one way or another.

Some of those roles put volunteers in close contact with their clients. Other roles are behind the scenes. All are essential.

Regardless of which organizations you choose to support, and regardless of what kind or level of support you give, you will discover an amazing truth:

When you support a nonprofit, our entire community benefits … but the greatest reward is yours. OP

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LORA WIMSATT is a mother, grandmother and writer. She enjoys the everyday blessings and adventures of life, especially her family.
February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 13


Many fashion trends come and go. I’ve seen plenty of them over my 38 years. My mom made me rock stirrup pants as a child. Velour matching track suits were my loungewear of choice in high school. I owned a black and brown pair of gaucho pants when I was in college. Luckily, all those trends have gone away over time.

There is one fashion trend that will never go away for me, if it was ever really considered a trend. It’s the mom jean trend. One of the only trends that can withstand the test of time. I put it right up there with a black dress as one of my fashion staples. They are known far and wide – and for good reason.

But where did my love for mom jeans really originate? It started when I was pregnant with my now 8-year-old and everything was starting to spread out. I cried while trying to zip my jeans and entered the phase where maternity jeans are life. The large fabric band that stretched over my belly was fabulous. They were as comfortable as clothes could be while carrying a 9-pound human in your uterus.

I had Henry and lived in pajama pants for about four weeks during my very short maternity leave. I was about to go back to work and had to re-enter

the workforce in something other than leggings.

I don’t know why at one month postpartum I tried to fit in my pre-baby jeans. I blame the Kardashians for my unrealistic expectations, along with many of the other problems in the world. I couldn’t even get them over my thighs. I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. Again. About jeans.

I was so excited when I finally got back into my old jeans many moons later. They zipped and I rejoiced! Then I realized that yes, they were physically on my body, but no, I could not breathe. At all. I have never been more uncomfortable in my life.

Then, I needed to sit down in those jeans. Something had to give, and hopefully it wouldn’t be the fabric. I was extremely uncomfortable. I leaned over to pick the baby up and felt a breeze on my backside. WHY? Why were these jeans so awful and tiny and uncomfortable and unrealistic? I felt like they were made for a character my kids pulled out of a blind


That day, I headed to TJ Maxx and bought my true first pair of mom jeans. I remember trying them on and thinking how comfortable they were. I bent over and I didn’t feel a breeze. I did a couple jumping jacks and nothing fell out. Life was good.

I’ll admit, they aren’t exactly a fashionable choice. But let’s be realistic, they are the ultimate in comfort. They really hold everything in. You can bend over in them without your entire backside showing. Your newborn can projectile poop on your mom jeans, and it will slide off like rain on a car that was just covered in a layer of Rain-X. You can throw them in a ball on the floor and step on them for a week and they won’t wrinkle.

From that day on, I have worn mom jeans. I will also continue to wear skinny jeans even though they are no longer cool. Wear your mom jeans with pride, ladies! They are the ultimate in comfort and utility. And those are two things we certainly can’t do without at this point. OP

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JAMIE JOHNSON is a full-time working mom to two little boys, wife to Logan, and part-time writer. Her pieces have been featured in HuffPost Parents, Motherly, Today Parents and PopSugar Moms. You can follow her blog at HashtagMomFail.com!



Recipes & Photos by Jamie Plain
Photo by Jamie Plain

Strawberries are the unofficial fruit associated with Valentine’s Day, so we think this treat is a perfect way to celebrate the day! Your kids will love this as a sweet Valentine’s Day dessert, or even as a side dish at dinner! It’s a delicious combination of sweet and salty, and is very simple to make. To avoid sogginess, be sure to allow each layer to cool before adding the next, and cover the pretzel layer completely with the whipped cream layer (to make sure no Jell-O can seep down). Be sure to make this dish ahead of time! It will need to set in the fridge for around 4 hours! Make sure to share this treat at your children’s Valentine’s Day festivities!



›› 3 cups of pretzels

›› 1 cup butter, melted

›› 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar


›› 16oz. tub of cool whip, thawed

›› 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened

›› 1 cup confectioners sugar


›› 1 6oz. package of strawberry Jell-O

›› 2 cups boiling water

›› 1 16oz. package fresh strawberries,


›› Optional: Valentine’s Day sprinkles to make it festive!


›› Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

›› Combine Jell-O with boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

›› Crush pretzels in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin (or in a blender). Combine pretzels, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of confectioners sugar in

a medium size bowl until pretzels are coated. Press into the prepared dish. Bake for 10 minutes then set on the counter to cool.

›› In a large mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese and one cup of confectioners sugar until fluffy. Fold in the cream cheese and spread evenly over the completely cooled pretzel mixture (making sure to spread it to the edges). Chill for one hour.

›› Slice 16oz strawberries and stir into your room temperature Jell-O. Pour the strawberry mixture over your cooled cream cheese layer and chill to set (2-4 hours). Serve cool and enjoy! OP

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JAMIE PLAIN is a nationally published culinary and commercial photographer working as a full-time staff photographer for Tanner Publishing. She has a knack for making tasty food and pretty art. See more of her portfolio at jaastudios.com.

Valentine’s Day DIY GARLAND

Don’t spend a lot of money on Valentine’s Day decorations! This simple craft is perfect for your kids to make and takes very few supplies. It’s great for fine motor skills development and is fun to make!


›› Cut heart shapes out of spare card board.

›› Wrap yarn around the heart, making sure to cover all cardboard. Tape the yarn on the back of the heart to get started and finish the yarn by tying a knot.

›› Connect each wrapped heart with a long strand of yarn.

That’s all there is to it!

I chose bright colored yarn for my garland because it reminded me of candy conversation hearts, but you could pick more traditional Valentine’s colors. You could also adapt this idea for any holiday! Happy crafting! OP

If you make these adorable crafts, be sure to tag a photo of them on our social media accounts! We would love to see them!

ASHLEY WEDDING is the editor of Owensboro Parent. She enjoys everyday adventures with her husband, Drew, and their three kids, Avery, Reed and Mason.

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Written by Ashley Wedding // Photo by Jamie Plain




In today’s youth sports world, multi-sport athletes are becoming increasingly scarce. Community-driven athletics has become a thing of the past as AAU and travel-ball tournaments increase in size and quantity each year.

Sports are rarely seasonal these days as the new system often forces youngsters to specialize at a young age. However, this isn’t the case for Dre’mail (Dre) Carothers, Lilah Morris, and Maxwell (Max) Johnson, three stand-out middle school athletes in the area who’ve elected to go against the grain and pursue all of their athletic passions.

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 19



Max Johnson is an 8th-grade student at College View Middle School, playing basketball and football for the Vikings. When he’s not taking snaps as the quarterback of the football team, he’s playing lock-down D and draining threes on the basketball court.

When asked what his favorite sport was, he replied: “Whatever one I’m currently playing.”

“I would say I love playing basketball because I am with my friends and having fun. I also love how fast the game changes pace,” Johnson said. “I would also say that I love football because I get to see the game unfold with the ball in my hands.”

Johnson enjoys sports as an

outlet from the daily requirements of life and an opportunity to have fun with his friends.

“I would say that being a part of two different sports gives me an opportunity to have two different friend groups, and we share the love for the game we play,” he said.

Regarding role models, Johnson takes great pleasure in watching former Kentucky Wildcat Devin Booker play basketball. On the gridiron, he looks to all-time great Peyton Manning and stand-out college quarterback Tim Tebow.

“One of my role models for football is Peyton Manning because he was so fundamental in what he did and is one of the all-time greats,” he said. “Another person I admire in sports is Tim Tebow because he was a college football legend and believer in Christ and didn’t shy away from his faith.”

Johnson looks forward to a smooth transition from middle to high school athletics and hopes to receive an invite to the Elite 11 Football Camp. Elite 11 is a quarterback camp and competition where the best high school quarterbacks in each class come together to showcase their skills. Owensboro quarterback Gavin Wimsatt was invited in 2021.

He acknowledged he would need to work hard and dedicate a lot of time and effort to the weight room and his trade.

If football as a career doesn’t work out, Johnson said he would also love to coach basketball at the college level.

Until then, he will continue to perfect his craft and have fun playing the sports he loves with his friends.

“I am grateful for all the coaches and people who have taken their time and money to help me get to where I am,” Johnson said.

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 21
Written by John Kirkpatrick // Photos by Jamie Plain



Dre’Mail (Dre) Carothers is an elite athlete at Owensboro Catholic Middle School, playing the “big 3” for the Aces. Whether it is baseball, basketball, or football, Carothers offers an unparalleled level of athleticism.

Carothers said whatever sport he’s playing at the moment; that’s his favorite.

“I find so much enjoyment in playing sports,” Carothers said. “I like the challenge and the competition. It’s always nice seeing my skills improve and reaching new personal goals.”

Elite athletes surround Carothers, with several of his family members holding high

school athletic records and playing collegiate sports.

Many consider Carother’s grandfather to be one of the best two-sport athletes from Bowling Green High School, rushing for over 1,000 yards in football and earning all-region honors in basketball.

The hall of fame family also includes former Hilltopper basketball star George Fant who transitioned to football at the professional level and now plays in the NFL. Other relatives include Kentucky State Sweet Sixteen MVP Brock Whitney and former Mr. Football Jamal Carothers.

“My family inspires me,” he said. “They make me realize that I

need to and want to be better than them.”

Carothers maintains a hectic training schedule, training for all three sports year-round. Right now, he’s focused on basketball, with practice three times a week and games two to three days per week.

To stay crisp in his other sports, he attends pitching and hitting lessons on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and quarterback lessons on Sundays. He modifies this schedule as the seasons shift.

Carothers has one goal, and it’s simple: “To be one of the best athletes to ever come out of the state of Kentucky.”

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 23



Lilah Morris sandwiches her passion for hoops between her time on the ball diamond. While a stand-out on her travel and school softball teams, she also finds joy in playing basketball during winter.

As an eighth grader at Daviess County Middle School, Morris regularly “gives it all she’s got” for the Lady Panthers.

“My favorite sport is softball because I’ve played it my whole life, and I love the game itself,” Morris said. “It’s like I was made for the game.”

Morris idolizes the likes of Jocelyn Alo and Kayla Kowalik, two record-breaking collegiate softball players. Alo graduated from the University of Oklahoma, which Morris referred to as a “dream school,” and is considered the number one home run hitter in the collegiate ranks. Kowalik plays for the University of Kentucky, another one of Morris’s “dream schools,” and shares the same position as her: catcher.

Morris has high aspirations for herself, hoping to one day play softball at the University of Kentucky and break Alo’s career home-run record. To reach those lofty goals, she remains steadfast in her training efforts.

In the winter, Morris attends basketball practices 2-3 days per week, with games on the other 1-2 days. Softball season follows a similar structure with additional training sessions on her own.

“My training consists of me working out for a sport almost every day,” she said. “I take lessons and work on hitting either at my own house or off the pitching machine at my travel softball coach’s house.”

With the travel ball season amping up, Morris will prepare for a tournament nearly every weekend with a five-hour practice planned for the weekends she’s not playing. She’s also ready to join the highly-decorated Daviess County program, which will hit the diamond soon. OP

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 25
JOHN KIRKPATRICK is the Director of Public Relations for Brewco Marketing Group. He enjoys spending time with his wife Tara and 3-year-old daughter Laney. He spends his spare time chasing his ball around the golf course and frequenting local restaurants.



Daviess County Playground Association daviessky.org

Lil’ Sluggers T-Ball LilSluggersTball

Owensboro Parks T-Ball League owensboroparks.org

Western Cal Ripken owensboroparks.org/sports/youth-baseball

Eastern Cal Ripken owensboroparks.org/sports/youth-baseball

Southern Little League owensboroparks.org/sports/youth-baseball

Owensboro Daviess County Babe Ruth Baseball odcbaberuthleague.com

Owensboro Catholic League OwensboroCatholicLeague


Apollo ABA Youth Basketball League stevebarker5.wixsite.com

Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club cliffhaganboysandgirlsclub.org

DCHS D-League daviesskyschools.org

Upward Basketball BellevueOwensboroUpwardSports OwensboroUpward

Owensboro Catholic League OwensboroCatholicLeague


Diamond Lanes Southtown Strikers diamondlanes.net


Ashby’s Boxing Club Ashby’sBoxingClub


Upward Cheerleading BellevueOwensboroUpwardSports OwensboroUpward

Owensboro is a sports town! There are plenty of opportunities for kids to get out and get active in Owensboro. Here is a listing of the most popular youth leagues and programs. Please contact the organization for current information.

Daviess County Youth Football Cheerleading odcyouthsports.com

Cheer Zone cheer-zone.com

KFL Cheerleading kidsfootballleague.com


Johnson’s Dance Studio johnsonsdancestudio.com

Musick Studios musickstudios.com

Tippi Toes TippiToesDance.com/SoKY


Owensboro Figure Skating Club and Freestyle Ice owensboroparks.org


Owensboro Daviess County Youth Football League odcyouthsports.com

Kids Football League (KFL) kidsfootballleague.com


GO Junior Golf Series gojuniorgolfseries.com


Owensboro Gymnast OwensboroGymFit

iTumble and bounce itumbleandbounce.org


Owensboro Youth Hockey Association owensborohockey.com


Dynasty Sports Performance Training dynastysportsperformancetraining


East County Soccer League EastCountySoccer

Daviess County Youth Soccer Association dcysaky.demosphere-secure.com

Sportstutor & Futsal sportstutor.net

Owensboro United Soccer Club owensborounited.com


Daviess County Playground Association daviessky.org

Owensboro Catholic League OwensboroCatholicLeague


Owensboro Parks & Rec owensboroparks.org

Owensboro Marlins owensboromarlins.com

Owensboro Family YMCA owensboroymca.org


Budo Traditional Karate owensborokarate.com

Jones ATA Martial Arts owensboroblackbelt.com

Gracie Jui Jitsu gracieowensboro.com

Owensboro Traditional Tae Kwon Do owensborotkd

TENNIS Centre Court owensborotennis.net


Little Spikers Youth Volleyball League owensboroparks.org

Owensboro Catholic League OwensboroCatholicLeague


Daviess County Youth Wrestling League daviesskyschools.org

Owensboro Catholic League OwensboroCatholicLeague

26 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023


Jimmy Vanover did not grow up playing soccer. In fact, when he got started in coaching and eventually refereeing, he had never played the game.

His oldest daughter Kayla, now 20, played soccer through her senior year in high school and started playing when she was 4 years old. His daughter Jesslyn, 11, plays for a travel team, and began her career as a soccer player at the age of 3.

What began as a way for Vanover to be there for his daughters as they played their sport, led to an entire community of local soccer players benefiting from his generosity.

“Kayla was playing in the rec league at Horse Fork Park. At this age, they basically chase a ball around for an hour and go home,” Vanover said. “By the time my daughter was 8 years old, I was saying that these coaches don’t know what they are doing.”

Vanover became a coach for his daughter’s team and fell in love with the sport.

“Soccer is pretty much my life now even though I never played,” Vanover said. “I started learning it by watching it on TV.”

Years later, he signed his daughter up for refereeing, never realizing how much this decision would impact his own life.

“I got to thinking that I was going to be there anyway, dropping her off and picking her up, that I might as well sign up to be a referee too and get paid for it,” Vanover said.

Written by Laura Murphy Photo by Jamie Plain

When his daughter decided refereeing wasn’t for her, Vanover kept going.

One season, as a way to reward some of the standout athletes from the age group he worked with, Vanover purchased Academy gift cards and distributed them as a “thank you” to several players for their hard work at the end of the season. This gesture by a referee impressed the parents.

“Jimmy cares about each and every kid he refs,” said Phil Kopcynski, who manages the referees for Daviess County youth Soccer Association at Horse Fork. “Over the course of a season he takes the time to know each kid’s name. He buys them trophies and gift cards and has even been known to take groups out to lunch.”

At the time, Vanover was contemplating retiring from

refereeing so this was his way of giving back to the community before he hung up his whistle.

“That year, I kept track of who scored the most goals. I thought of awards like best goal of the year, never having to blow the whistle for them, good sportsmanship award, and most assists. I ended up not quitting and kept doing this every year,” Vanover said.

Though it isn’t always easy, Vanover finds it quite rewarding.

“I run somewhere between three to four miles a game,” Jimmy said, adding that he even hurt his knee last season. “I love watching soccer so that’s why I do it.”

Vanover hopes to see the sport continue to grow and flourish in this community, describing it as a sport that can sometimes get overlooked by

football, basketball or baseball.

“Soccer is like the fourth biggest sport,” Vanover said. “We don’t have many Americans playing at the high level. The best athletes are sometimes playing the other three sports. Hopefully more people will find soccer.”

One of Vanover’s goals as a referee is to reward good sportsmanship and hard work, now donating the entire portion of what he earns as a ref by giving it back to the kids. That includes the gift cards and now championship rings for the season champion.

“Jimmy is a great example of the sense of community Owensboro has. We love our neighbors and he is the perfect example of that,” Kopcynski said. OP

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 29
LAURA MURPHY is an eighth grade LA teacher at Daviess County Middle School. She has three kids who keep her life interesting; Jonah, Lily, Josiah and Judson. She survives on Grape Spark, Jon Gordan books and all things Grumpy Cat.


YES! I am a crazy soccer mom!

Well, minus the minivan – I drive a Pilot ;).

Oh, and add a couple sports.

I am that mom.

The one who lives out of her car. The one who has a back seat and hatch full of balls, cleats, uniforms, and sports equipment. The one who lives in the drivethru grabbing those in-between meals. The one who screams on the sidelines and bombards social media with photos.

Sports in our home started when my oldest, Asher, who is now 8, was only 2 years old. Soon after, my son Axton, now 6, started at age 2. From that moment on, my entire schedule revolved around sports.

First, it was just soccer. It was the only sport that allowed kids to play at age 2. So

every Saturday morning, we would spend our days at the soccer field. They were never on the same team or in the same age league for that matter, so Saturdays and Sundays became even more hectic the older they got. I would find myself walking from field to field with chairs, blankets, snacks, and bags. Some days, I would place myself in the middle of two fields because they both had games at the same time, or find a way to watch half of one game and then gather my belongings and make it to the second half of the other. Some days, we wouldn’t have big enough breaks to go home in between games, so we found ourselves having picnics of fast food in the car waiting for the next game to begin.

I had become a true soccer mom. I spent most of my Spring and Fall being

just that. And honestly, I loved it. I still love it. I love spending my weekends at the soccer field. I have loved watching my kids grow and develop over the years at something they love to do.

But remember, I am not just a soccer mom. Next, came baseball. What started off as t-ball quickly moved to rookie, and our weekends were split between the soccer field and the baseball field. At least they were both on the same team for baseball. Even still, we found ourselves changing uniforms in the car, changing out soccer cleats for basketball cleats, and rushing to make the first pitch. It was a constant rush, squeezing in food when we could. All the while, I loved every minute of it.

Next, was football. For a boy who learned to crawl by placing a football


in front of him, I knew this sport was inevitable. My family questioned if I was crazy, allowing a 4-year-old to play three sports – if dedicating my weekends to traveling from field to field, sport to sport, was insane. Again, I found my car becoming loaded with more balls, shoes, and sports equipment. I found my weekends split between three fields now instead of two. Trying to make every single game, teaching him that his teams depended on him. As the schedule got tighter, we had to sacrifice one game for another, playing one half of soccer then rushing to finish the last three innings of baseball. Skipping Saturday’s soccer game for football, and Sunday’s baseball game for soccer.

And, as if I wasn’t crazy enough, we introduced another sport for each kid. As much as Axton adores football, he has always loved basketball. So, naturally, he said he wanted to sign up. Similarly, Asher has grown up around cheer, watching me coach for over a decade. So, of course we added another sport to the schedule.

Luckily, basketball fell within its own season, so we weren’t rushing from field to court. However, Asher and Axton were again, like soccer, at different age levels. So that meant our Saturdays at the field were exchanged for spending them at a court, living on concession stand food. It consisted of sleeping on the bleachers, and doing homework while the other practiced during the week. More uniforms to line our bedroom floors. Soccer balls and football flags now were joined by pom poms and basketball gear.

Over the years, not much has changed. We were able to weed out baseball. However, we still have sports year round. We start the year with basketball, then comes spring soccer and football, cheer, and right around the corner fall soccer and football. Add in the fact that I have a step daughter with special needs, and a newborn baby. Life is hectic.

BUT, there is something about that organized chaos that gives my life meaning. I know it sounds crazy to ENJOY running from field to field to court and

back again every single weekend. The truth of the matter is, I am not sure what I would be if I wasn’t a sports mom. I know there are several parents finding themselves in the same boat. Wanting to allow their kids to experience everything they can, but also avoiding absolutely losing their minds. Trying to juggle practices, games, doctor’s appointments, and other responsibilities. The truth is, I believe it is very beneficial for kids to play multiple sports.

There will come a time when Axton specifically will have to make a choice. He will have to focus down his interests to one or maybe two sports. He will not have the time to dedicate to multiple high school sports. For that, I allow him to experience them now. I want him to truly understand each individual sport and have a chance to grow and learn as much as he can before he has to make a choice. He quickly decided that baseball just wasn’t for him. As the years continue and I allow him to navigate through playing multiple sports, not only am I allowing him a chance to

32 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023

learn his favorites and develop his skills, I am also allowing him to learn one of the most important concepts of life –teamwork.

Axton is a natural athlete. He excels in almost anything that he tries. I love that he takes pride in his skills and works constantly at perfecting them. The discipline that he has learned by playing multiple sports is another reason why I am supportive. Every day, he is practicing in some way. Whether it’s shooting baskets in his goal until the sun goes down, dribbling a soccer ball around in the backyard, or running routes with his dad and step dad, he is always mastering his craft. This discipline also helps him in the classroom. Unlike his sister, who naturally excels in school, Axton has to work hard with academics, specifically reading. However, the competition and discipline he has learned through playing multiple sports allows him to push himself to constantly improve and reach his goals at school.

Another important aspect of playing multiple sports for both of my kids is to have good attitudes. In the world we live in, it is easy for kids to develop a sense of entitlement, especially if those kids have natural born talents such as Axton and Asher do. With that, as a mom, I am constantly encouraging my kids to stay humble. They understand the importance of remaining kind through competition, and to continuously give glory to God for their blessings.

Although playing multiple sports is important in developing a strong, disciplined, well rounded kiddo, it can be a difficult feat for us parents both physically and mentally, as well as sometimes financially. So, I would like to leave you with some applicable advice so that if you, like myself, find your life and cars to be full of sports equipment, you can start to experience the joy in the world of sports parenting.


Not only do I encourage you to get a planner or print out a calendar to record every practice and/or game, but I encourage you to color code that planner. Each season, I color code practices and games for each kid. If Axton’s football team is the Ravens, then those games and practices are written in purple. If Asher’s soccer team is teal, then again her practice and game times show that. This has been a game changer for me. I can quickly look at my calendar and know in a single glance what uniform and equipment I need to pack, as well as where I need to plan to be.


I struggled with this at first. What am I saying, I still do. You cannot expect to make everything everytime or to be on time every single time. When you have a young child playing multiple sports across multiple seasons, schedules are going to run together at some point. It is a sacrifice that just has to be made. He/she will miss some. And that’s ok. They are only young once. Allow them to be involved in the conversation and decision making. If they missed soccer practice for football last time, then the next week they alternate. If they have cheer and soccer at the same time, help them understand decision making by choosing competition over just a game, or by choosing a tournament game over a season game. Not only are you teaching your kids the importance of dedication, you’re also teaching them a life lesson on making hard choices.


How many of you went out and bought a matching pink or blue ball, soccer cleats, and shin guards the moment your kid said, “soccer.” Or when baseball started you broke the bank to find the best bat, personalized helmet, and bat bag. #guilty. What parent doesn’t want their child to have the best? The truth is, it’s not necessary. Not now. There will come a time when matching team shoes, travel soccer dues, and specialized football pads will be needed, but now isn’t that time. Yes, buy what you NEED, but don’t feel obligated to buy the best. This also includes team photos. Who wants to drop $20-$30 every single sports season on a couple of team photos and wallet prints. Save the money, take your own pics. They will just end up in a keepsake tote in the attic.

Whether I find myself sitting on the bleachers at a football field, baseball field, or basketball court, or even in a folded chair at a soccer field, I find myself exactly where I want to be. Being a mom is the greatest position I will ever play in this crazy game of life. And with that comes sacrificing time and money for my children. I want them to experience everything. Every single lesson that comes from playing on a team. The winning. The losing. The discipline. The friendships. But most of all, the fact that I was there. They may never remember the score of the game, or the size of the trophy they received. But what they will remember is me, sitting there with their name on the back of my shirt. OP

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 33
ANDREA MILLAY is an 8th grade teacher at Daviess County Middle School. She is a mother of three and bonus mom to one. She loves to fish, watch her kids play sports and Chick-fil-A.


Meet the
Photos by Jamie Plain

Ayden VanHoosier is known as the Mayor of Tamarack Elementary School. Pretty good for someone who is only in first grade.

With bright blue eyes and rosy red cheeks, Ayden always looks happy, warm and inviting to others.

Carrie Munsey, principal of Tamarack, said Ayden, who has Down syndrome, is always the life of the party.

“Ayden loves to sing, dance, and perform for the office staff,” Munsey said. “His captivating smile is so infectious that the hardest of hearts


36 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023 COMMUNITY
“ ”
Ayden loves the school intercom, speaker phone, and microphone in the office. He is our enjoyment on any bad day. He is our ray of sunshine.

will melt.”

All Tamarack students, kindergarten through fifth grade, know Ayden. He is known for being a constant source of entertainment for others – singing, giving big hugs, and a huge smile.

Always looking for a laugh, Ayden loves to imitate Munsey and pretend he is principal of the school. He especially gets a kick out of calling other staff members in the school building.

Munsey said Ayden loves the school’s custodian, Mr. Ricky, and Charlotte Davis, who is the after school director and a lunchroom monitor.

“He loves every teacher in the building and every student knows Ayden’s name,” Munsey said.

Munsey said Ayden loves visiting the principal, assistant principal, secretary and bookkeeper on his daily rounds. He takes his role very seriously and always wants to bring a smile to others.

“Ayden loves the school intercom, speaker phone, and microphone in the office,” she said. “He is our enjoyment on any bad day. He is our ray of sunshine.”

The faculty and staff at Tamarack want all children to be a part of an enriching and loving environment at Tamarack.

“All means each at Tamarack,” Munsey said.

Britt Cobb, executive director for the Green River Area Down Syndrome Association said Ayden was her first new member after she took the job.

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 37

“I had just gotten this job in July and my first call was from a woman named Rebecca who had just heard about GRADSA,” Cobb said. “She introduced me to her son Ayden and he was my first new member. I couldn’t believe there was a kid with Down syndrome in the area who was not involved with the organization.”

Cobb said after joining GRADSA, Ayden really started to shine.

“He is definitely the life of the party,” she said. “He is a rambunctious little boy who definitely knows how to hold his own.”

Locally, GRADSA’s mission is to enable families enriched with Down syndrome the connection to share resources, build friendships, and advocate together for the future of individuals with Down Syndrome. They are located in Owensboro,but serve the counties of Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union, and Webster.

If you want to support the Down syndrome community World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21, and is a day dedicated to all individuals with Down syndrome. The date for World Down Syndrome Day being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. OP

38 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023
MEGHANN RICHARDSON is full-time digital marketing specialist who moonlights as a journalist for Owensboro Times. She enjoys spending time with her husband Ryan, daughter Emery and rescue pup Murphy.



even kiddos as young as three will find value in helping others in need. Now is the time to instill a lifelong desire to serve others. Don’t save your time of giving back just for the holidays. Make a commitment as a family to give all year long. Here are some quick tips to help your family become more involved in volunteerism and giving back to our community.


As a comprehensive dermatology medical facility, our team at Owensboro Dermatology strives to be known for exceptional patient care by providing the best possible service with the use of innovative, modern technology and the most effective treatments available. While these pillars are an important part of our practice, we also understand the importance of supporting our community. This is why we are partnering with Owensboro Parent to show a little Local Love to some nonprofit organizations in our community and offer parents some tips on how to incorporate volunteerism in your family.

Did you know that giving to others can help unite your family and bring you closer together? Through volunteerism and donation, you set an example of kindness for your children that can impact their development and how they treat others.

“Volunteerism” is a difficult concept for younger children, but

Our kids love to copy us. Let them follow your lead as a volunteer. When we as parents are involved, our children look forward to the activity even more. And as a bonus, you get to share some extra special time with your child.


Giving back doesn’t have to be a chore. Find something that interests your child or family.


Volunteering doesn’t have to be a big undertaking. Start small. Maybe ask your child to sift through unused toys to donate. Pick up litter on a family walk. This will inspire more ways to give back in the future.


Between school, work, sports and events, family life is busy. The trick is to build volunteering into your schedule so that it becomes a priority.


You may find that organizations have age restrictions or other requirements for volunteers. Don’t let that deter you from helping. Create your own way of giving back. Maybe a fundraiser like a lemonade stand could help your family support others in your own way.


Exposing your child to important social issues, such as homelessness and inclusion of those with disabilities, are just as vital as giving your time to organizations that support these causes. By showing your child who needs help, you can inspire them to make a difference and better understand their peers who may experience these issues.

We at Owensboro Parent and Owensboro Dermatology want to encourage you and your family to show a little local love this year and consider helping a local nonprofit organization. Here are just a few organizations that your family could support.

40 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023

Beverly’s Hearty Slice was created in 2020 by Travis Owsley to honor his mother, Beverly Slaughter. Beverly loved to provide free food in her community when she had the opportunity to make big meals. After Beverly’s passing in 2018, Travis wanted to continue his mother’s tradition and from that Beverly’s Hearty Slice was born to help keep kids off the streets,

away from drugs and gun violence. What started as a pizza giveaway in Kendall Perkins Park has grown into a successful nonprofit. Beverly’s Hearty Slice now serves 200 people every two weeks in multiple parks across Owensboro.

The nonprofit also gave away backpacks in August just in time for kids to go back to school.

They provided scholarships to Camp Connect. The week-long summer day camp typically cost $239 per camper, but Beverly’s Hearty Slice families could send a child for just $25.

Thanks to a donation from Southern Star Gas and Pipeline, Beverly’s Hearty Slice gave away 250 take-home Thanksgiving meals.

With the help of local businesses, Beverly’s Hearty Slice threw a Christmas party at Kendall Perkins Park. They provided more than 200 toys to local

children and Walmart gift cards to parents. They gave away coats, goody bags, bikes and more.

“This is a dream come true. There are so many families and kids that can benefit from our free meals, Thanksgiving dinners, and Christmas gifts,” he said. “The thought of giving these families hope and a free meal that they can depend on every other week is a blessing from God.”

In addition to providing food and drinks to the community, Owsley hopes their efforts will inspire others to give back, create diversity, and “provide hope during these trying times.”

“My mom would be very proud,” he said. “There were so many times we had to depend on churches, help offices, and the Pitino Shelter for meals. To see it all come back full circle, and us being able to provide for those in need in my community and other communities, it’s truly a blessing.”


They are always in need of servers at their three locations from 5:30-6:30 p.m. every other Friday.

Along with pizza, Beverly’s Hearty Slice gives away bags of hygiene products. If your family wants to donate, hygiene products would be a great way to help this mission.

Additionally, Owsley said he is always looking for ways to keep youth off the streets and away from negative influences. One thing he likes to give away is basketballs and footballs to encourage positive recreational activities.

To volunteer as a server or donate items to Beverly’s Hearty Slice, contact Owsley at travis.owsley3@gmail.com.

Fresh Start for Women provides a safe, affordable transitional housing environment for single women who have completed an addiction recovery program or are facing other life challenges to transform them into the women they were destined to be.

How did Fresh Start come to be? Now Executive Director

Cindy Jean was driving home to Owensboro from Bowling Green a few years back when she had an epiphany. She said God spoke to her, essentially encouraging her to

continue her efforts in assisting women to overcome addiction, poverty, domestic violence, and other hardships.

The words were so clear that she immediately pulled to the emergency lane of the William H. Natcher Parkway and began jotting down notes. With few rocks left unturned, she decided it would be a 12-unit complex that provides low-cost housing that provides “community” support for women trying to find themselves in this world.

“We began this seven years ago with no money,” Jean

said. “We had a yard sale and raised $425, and within three months, we had $20,000 in donations from people that understood our heart for helping women. We leased a building, and the landlord moved the current tenants out. The living conditions weren’t great at first, but we put a lot of work into it, making it nicer.”

Fast forward to now, and the nonprofit owns the renovated 12-unit

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 41

complex and three neighboring homes to expand its mission.

Fresh Start provides encouragement and support by paying a portion of the women’s rent and utilities. This lessens some of the financial burden and the stress that comes with rebuilding a life

which had been derailed by unhealthy relationships, poor decisions, jail time, debt, etc. These two bedroom apartments are technically unfurnished, but with the aid of the local community, the women are gifted items needed to establish independent residency. All women must


have a steady income.

“We have 16 single-mom families that live on the property,” Jean said. “There are a lot of everyday struggles from moms coming out of domestic violence and addiction. Our atmosphere of family and love is welcoming to them.”

Mentor a Fresh Start family. You can set up a time to meet with a family one-on-one. You would have dinner with them, help them learn basic life/house/vehicle maintenance. Executive Director Cindy Jean wants community members to “model what it looks like to be a family.”

During spring, Fresh Start needs help with grounds keeping, flower planting, mowing and weed eating. They would also love to have a garden!

With their 12-unit complex and three homes, Fresh Start needs help with painting and minor maintenance.

Donation needs include laundry soap, strong kitchen trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, and dryer sheets. Monetary donations are always appreciated as well.

They would also love to partner with a group or organization to sponsor or host a fundraiser.

To volunteer or donate items to Fresh Start, contact them at 270-240-3180.

42 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023 COMMUNITY

The mission of Boulware is to help displaced individuals become self-sufficient through treatment, education, and services. Their focus is on recovery from the root causes that brought clients to Boulware in the first place.

Boulware has been a staple of the Owensboro community for more than 100 years. Today’s Mission began as the dream of a local school teacher, Miss Milton Boulware, who wanted to help feed the poor and shelter the homeless. She and four colleagues founded the Gospel Center Mission, which would later be re-named the Boulware Mission, on May 23, 1921. In its early days, it served as a faith-based settlement house and a place where neighborhood children could be supervised after school and feel safe.

In the early 1990s, the Mission exclusively became a homeless shelter. Life skills classes were incorporated and the need for a drug and alcohol addiction treatment program was recognized. The program was introduced in 2005. As the need for client services overextended the capability of the Hall Street facility, the board considered the option of expanding that building. Instead of expanding, the board voted to purchase the vacant Passionist Nun Convent at 609 Wing Avenue.

In 2006, the Mission gained approval from the city to operate the

Wing Avenue property as a satellite of Hall Street with a maximum occupancy of 90 clients. A $500,000 renovation of the Wing Avenue building was conducted and in November of 2008, the Wing Avenue campus was formally opened with beds for 31 male clients.

Over the years, the work of the Mission has adapted many times in order to meet the greatest needs of the community. As the Mission’s drug and alcohol treatment program proved successful, it started to gain attention from the local courts and judges began sending individuals to treatment and services at the Mission in lieu of incarceration.

Today, Boulware Mission provides shelter services to displaced men as well as a long-term self-sufficiency program aimed at helping clients become independent, contributing members of the community.

Boulware provides clients with 3 nutritious meals per day, snacks, emergency clothing, personal hygiene items, secure shelter, case management services, outreach, advocacy, and referrals to local and regional resources along with follow-up services. The SelfSufficiency Program includes financial literacy, referrals for GED tutoring, employment skills, and licensed


substance abuse treatment.

In addition to the residential services, services offered to the public include a public treatment program for men.

Boulware primarily serves the Green River Area Development District (GRADD) of Western Kentucky which includes the counties of Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union, and Webster. The Mission is located in Owensboro, Kentucky. Services provided by Boulware Mission are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

In the spring and summer, Boulware would love help with maintaining their garden This would involve planting, pulling weeds and picking vegetables.

The men at Boulware love sweet treats! Your family could bake cookies, cakes or other baked goods and donate them. When you drop off the donations, your family can tour the building and learn about Boulware’s mission.

Your family can help cook meals and serve the clients. Executive Director Amy Pride says this “shows the residents how families interact with each other and what they could strive for. It shows them that families work together and do give back.” There are no age restrictions for cooking or serving meals.

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 43

Setting Conversations up for Success How to talk to your kids

come across as cold and pushy.

We don’t mean to do these things, but life can be difficult at times. This can come across to our kids that we are minimizing their problems, which makes them feel unseen and unheard. I think this is where kids often feel their parents cannot relate to what is going on in their lives. This is also where we look old and out of touch. Many movies and memes have been created from this same premise.

Do you ever get the feeling that you tucked your child into bed and you wake up with a completely different one? Kids are constantly changing and growing up, meaning we are constantly reexamining our approach to parenting.

Communication is one of the biggest and most important tools we have to help guide our children along the way. But knowing how to talk to your child can feel overwhelming. You hear parents talk about the dreaded middle school and teenage years. This is when you think you live with an alien and you’re not quite sure how to talk to them. It doesn’t have to feel this way. I am going to give you some tried and true tips to talk to your kids and how to keep great lines of communication open.

We all want to be seen and heard.

Some would say this is a basic need that all humans desire. We have to work at being able to talk to our kids so they will listen to us. It is also very important how we speak to our kids. The way you talk to your kid is the way he/she will learn to talk to others. Remember you are always their biggest role model and how they learn to navigate this world. Let’s first take a look at some reasons why it’s so hard to talk to kids and be on their same level. Being a parent is a hard job and not one for the weak. The pressure and responsibility it takes to be an adult is no joke. This same pressure can impact the conversations and interactions we have with our kids. Sometimes we might not be in the mood to hear all the details because we still have many tasks to accomplish before we can rest. Our patience is thin and worn. We might

Empathy is going to play a key role helping us to better understand our kids. Empathy by definition is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experience of another.” This is so important in being able to communicate and understand our kids. We want to enhance our ability to understand and share the feelings of another. One way to have more empathy is to be an incredible listener.

Listening is a skill. The most interesting people are the most interested. You need to be able to actively listen in order to truly engage with your child. Keep in mind that these suggestions work for kids of all ages but you can increase your skill level if you start when they are younger. Below you will find ways to engage your kids and increase your listening skills.

Do you want me to just listen or are you looking for a solution? This is a great tool. Sometimes kids, like adults, just want to talk. It can be hard as a parent to turn off the parent part of our brains that wants to fix everything for our kids. But sometimes our kids just

46 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023 DISCOVER

want to talk. So, I will ask my child if she wants me to just listen or if she needs help to solve a problem. This one is a game changer.

Ask open ended questions. This one sounds easy but is often overlooked. Here are some great conversation starters and examples of open ended questions.

What was your favorite part of your day?

What is the funniest thing you saw today and why was it funny to you?

If you could change one rule we have at home what would it be and why?

What do you like about your friends?

Do you think you are a morning or night person and why?

What was your least favorite part of today and how can you make tomorrow better?

These types of questions are endless. The great part about these questions is that they encourage critical thinking and you are going to get more of an answer than a yes or a no.

Listen to remember what is being said and be able to explain back for confirmation. Listen without judgment and acknowledge their feelings. When you are truly listening, you can repeat back to that person what they said and you can get confirmation that you are indeed understanding what they mean. Think about how many misunderstandings

could be resolved with this one. This is where listening without judgment comes into play. This doesn’t mean you will always agree with them; however, listening and agreeing are two different concepts. This is where your empathy skills can shine by acknowledging their feelings. You don’t have to live it to understand it. When you can do this you are creating a safe place for your child to express themselves and share their lives with you.

Don’t ever feel like a failure if your child doesn’t want to talk to you. Nobody wants to engage 100% of the time. What you can do in the future is use these tips to set up conversations for success. OP

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 47
CHRISTINA DALTON, MSSW, CSW is a District Social Worker for Daviess County Public Schools.


Big things are happening for little patients in the Owensboro Health Regional Hospital Emergency Department. A new Child Life Specialist is on staff to help children (and their parents) have the best experience possible in the ED, and new care standards have been met as the facility earns Pediatric-Ready status. So, what does that mean for families?


The goal of a certified child life specialist is to reduce the stress and anxiety children and families experience in a healthcare setting. The specialists are experts in child development and help pediatric patients cope through education, preparation and play.

Laurie Milliner, APRN, Owensboro Health Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinator, saw the impact made by child life specialists in her previous role at a children’s hospital.

“Whenever we would have pediatric patients come in, and they needed IVs or labs or sutures, we would ask our child life specialist to talk to the child and the family. They would bond with the family, determine what kind of developmental age the child is at, and then structure education specifically for that patient,” she said. “Imagine if you were taken to a foreign country where you didn’t understand any of the language that is being said around you, and all of a sudden you go into a bright room and then they start poking you and doing things to you. You would be scared, even as an adult. So the child life specialists educate the patient on what to expect and ease the fear of the unknown.”

They demonstrate all items they may see, hear, and feel prior to a procedure. For example, they show them the sterile towels, let them feel the saline and that it does not burn, and let the child touch any of items to be used.

They also determine the child’s interests and talk to them about what they like, sing a song or show a movie on a tablet to distract the child during procedures. Being distracted helps them stay still and reduces the need to sedate children.

“You’re able to do more things with children when you meet them on their level,” Milliner said.

This is especially true for anxiety-inducing tests like a CT when a specialist can show the patient a video of another child getting the test and explaining what to expect. This can also calm parents’ worries, who may be unfamiliar with the test.

And for procedures that are inevitably painful, like getting a shot, the specialist will work with the patient to help them breathe through it. There’s even a cart full of rewards (like toys and stickers) for bravery.

“Leaving the ED every day knowing I made a positive impact on pediatric patients is truly a rewarding and priceless experience,” Braxton Hurley, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital Child Life Specialist, said. “My goal each day is to help every pediatric patient I come in contact with become a little more comfortable in the medical setting. I strive to make patients smile in the most difficult circumstances.”


The Emergency Department at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has also been working to become a Pediatric Ready Certified Facility. Pediatric Readiness systematically

includes pediatric-specific needs in all aspects of emergency department care. This means that everyone in your care team, including transporters and EMS, have the right pediatric equipment and knowledge to care for pediatric patients.

These standards are necessary because 80% of pediatric patients who need emergency care come to a non-pediatric emergency department first for stabilization or transfer, and pediatric patients have physical, developmental and psychosocial differences from adult patients. Meeting these guidelines can increase pediatric patient safety.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital’s emergency department is one of 10 facilities in Kentucky that have this unique certification and the only one in western Kentucky. In 2021, the emergency department in Owensboro treated more than 7,500 pediatric patients.

These recent initiatives demonstrate our commitment to providing excellent care to our community. We want to keep you healthy. We want to make you proud. OP

48 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023 DISCOVER


Let’s face it, this time of the year is rough. It’s rough for us as parents and it’s rough on our kids. We’re stuck inside most days, it’s dark by 5:15 and the energy that our kiddos build up all day has nowhere to go. We are begging for bedtime just so we can have a little bit of a break. There isn’t a major break in school until April and by then our kids are exhausted. They’ve been working hard and are now anticipating the end of the school year, but we aren’t there quite yet. Our goal is to keep the peace, make it through the winter, survive the snow/RTI days and get ready for the time to spring forward, the weather to

warm up and the end of the school year to come. Needless to say, it’s a difficult season.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to make it through the winter meltdown. These are things that we try to do around our house or ideas friends have given that help make the long winter days a little more enjoyable.


There is nothing we love more than turning on music and dancing around the house! It’s so much fun and the kids are getting out a lot of built-up energy. Take turns choosing songs and turn the volume up. You’ll be amazed at how

much this can bring your family together.


We used to play this game with my daughter while we were making dinner – for every sight word she read correctly she got to add an ingredient to whatever we were making or baking that night. It helped us get through words quickly and she got to help with dinner. Cooking is also an excellent way to incorporate math without much complaining from your child.

Game Night

Have a night each week where you pick a game to play as a family.

50 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023

Some personal favorites of ours are Guess Who and Zingo. Charades, scavenger hunts, hide and seek and cards are all great games that can be played around the house with little preparation.


One of my good friends has a movie night with her kids once a week. The kids choose dinner –usually something easy or take out – and a pick movie they’ve been wanting to watch. What a fun night in with memories made in the process!


Crafts can be as easy or as complicated as you make them. Pinterest is your friend and you

can find easy things to make with your kids using things that are right around your house. Puzzles are great, not only do they help your kids’ focus and have an end goal, but they can include everyone. Amazon sells a puzzle mat that rolls up so that you can continually work on a puzzle and it’s not always in the way.


Then, of course, there’s the trusty iPad. Our kids love iPad time and so do we because it’s easy and it keeps them quiet, in one place. But then comes the parent guilt. You feel guilty that your kid has spent hours on a device and you feel like you should be doing more with them. We’ve started an exchange program

at our house. If our daughter does 20 minutes of an educational game (ask your child’s teacher, which programs they use at school) we give her 15 minutes of free time. It makes us feel a little less guilty, our daughter is learning and working, and in return she gets what she wants – time on the iPad.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you make it through the winter meltdown and onto sunnier days. Don’t feel guilty about what you have to do to make it through. All of us parents are just doing our best to make it through long work days, long school days, and short daylight hours. OP

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 51
KATY TIERNEY is a third grade teacher at Estes Elementary. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters, Harper & Tilly. Her large, extended family and career always keep her on the move. She loves reading with her daughters and spending all the time she can with her family and friends.

Reading for Understanding

When we talk about reading for understanding in the education world, we are simply referring to a student’s ability to comprehend the words that they read. But reading for understanding can also mean engaging with a story from a perspective that is different from our own to better relate to challenges that others face. What better reason can there be for reading than to understand others and grow in compassion?

Check out these titles that feature characters that thrive through their disabilities. They are all available at the Daviess County Public Library.

Can Bears Ski? By Raymond Antrobus and Polly Dunbar

Little Bear is confused when he keeps getting the question “Can bears ski?” from Dad Bear. The mystery is solved and a whole new way to experience the world is opened up when Dad Bear takes Little Bear to an audiologist, and he is fitted for hearing aids.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus By Dusti Bowling

Aven Green and her parents have just moved to Arizona to run a Western theme park called Stagecoach Pass. Making new friends in a new town is already difficult enough, but Aven is special. She was born without arms. When an old storage shed reveals big secrets, Aven will have to face her fears and uncover the full mystery!

Wink By Rob Harrell

Inspired by Rob Harrell’s true experiences, Ross Maloy is a 7th grade student diagnosed with a rare eye cancer. Now his already complicated life has a whole host of new challenges that he will learn to face with music and laughter.

Ugly By Robert Hoge

Ugly is a memoir of Robert Hoge’s experiences growing up as a child with major facial and limb deformaties. With humor and wit, Hoge recounts the many trials and triumphs of his childhood, and reminds us all to embrace what makes us unique.

Friends with Disabilities series By Amanda Doering Tourville

This series of picture books provides insight into the perspectives of children with disabilities. The simple language and lively drawings help parents to open discussion about these topics.

The War that Saved My Life By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada spent her first ten years of life hidden away in her family’s apartment, hiding her twisted, clubbed foot. But war has come to London, and for safety, she and her brother are sent to the countryside to live with a reluctant stranger, Susan. Ada finally has the opportunity to grow in confidence, but as the war wages on she must also learn to let go.

KATIE ALBERS grew up in Owensboro and loved words so much that she became a school librarian and even alphabetized her family: Josh, Katie, Lance, Mallory, Noelle, Oaken, and Polly (the cat).

Do any of your friends or classmates live with a disability? Search the library to find a book featuring that challenge.

Invite your friend to read the book with you.

Does the experience of the characters in the book correlate to your friend’s experiences?

How well did the author capture the challenges of the disability?


Are you looking for childcare? Or is your little one ready to start preschool? Owensboro Parent has compiled a full list of local daycares and preschools as a resource for you!

2023 daycare
& Preschool

the 2023

daycare & Preschool Guide


3220 Bold Forbes Way 270-684-1411

ACADEMY OF LEARNING SOUTH 4801 Towne Square Ct. 270-926-1040



4800 New Hartford Rd. 270-683-6377


2225 E. 18th St. 270-691-8000


1306 East 8th St. 270-689-9387


800 W. 5th St. 270-685-3231


900 Walnut St. 270-852-6534


5533 State Route 144 270-315-1994


1945 Tamarack Rd. 270-926-0202 or 270-314-4673


600 Locust St. 270-926-1652


4129 Vincent Station Dr. 270-500-4037

DAVIESS COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRESCHOOL Students are served in their home elementary school, with the exception of the fee-based program.


56 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023


5741 KY-144



4101 Carter Rd. 270-240-3307


3585 Thruston Dermont Rd. 270-685-4002


3802 Legacy Run 270-683-0611


3045 Burlew Blvd. 270-683-3444


2427 Old Hartford Rd. 270-683-7653



1401 Spring Bank Dr., Suite 4 270-689-1402


4029 Frederica St. 270-684-6516


300 W Byers Ave. 270-685-2729


3300 East U.S. Highway 60 270-684-3406



1701 West 7th St. 270-686-1125

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 57


2401 McConnell Ave. 270-686-1014


512 Frederica St. 270-240-3310


1328 Griffith Ave. 270-684-1467


519 W Byers Ave. 270-313-6325


201 E. 4th St. 270-684-7005


3418 HWY 144 270-684-7456


3271 Alvey Park Dr. W. 270-478-4568


2624 New Hartford Rd. 270-702-1378


2024 Hall St. 270-684-7680 OP

58 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023

How Can I Help My Child Succeed in Preschool?

Success in preschool starts with establishing a solid foundation from an early age. There are no easy answers when it comes to parenting, but there are simple strategies you can follow that will benefit your children as they start school.


Play can be the most underrated form of learning, but perhaps the most important one. Your child should be playing every day. What they can learn from natural, free play is immeasurable.


Apart from being the perfect time for parents and children to bond, reading teaches vocabulary, problem solving, creativity, critical thinking skills, emotional maturity and so much more. Just 5 to 10 minutes a day can open up a child’s world.


Independence is the #1 quality any child needs to succeed in the world. This may seem obvious, but it can be too easy

to do too much for your child. Parents want to help and guide their children and be there for them every step of the way. Sometimes being there just means watching from a distance.



Every person is different and every person has different strengths, weaknesses, interests, passions, etc. Being allowed to be an individual is one of your child’s basic emotional needs.

how to cope with the many things they will go through. Setting them up by removing all sources of stress will not help in any future situation where you are not there to manage it. Happiness, excitement, sadness, frustration, anger, fear, contentment, relief, anticipation… Why would you want to remove any of these experiences? They are all part of life.





Children must be allowed to experience their emotions fully, in order to learn

Everyone wants their children to do well and succeed. Pushing them to do things appropriate for older children is not the way to succeed. Let your children be where they are. You don’t need to prepare your 4-year-old for first grade. OP

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 59

Out & About

6 LOCAL THINGS TO DO this season



FEB 24 & 25


The inaugural “Through Sleet’s Eyes Festival” will honor Owensboro native and acclaimed photojournalist Moneta Sleet Jr. Born in Owensboro in 1926, Sleet became known for his work being featured in publications like “Ebony” magazine and was the first Black American to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his photograph of Coretta Scott King at the funeral of her husband, Martin Luther King Jr.

The key events of the festival include the “Moneta Sleet, Jr.: A Witness to History” print show, the documentary “A Fine Remembrance,” the play “The Power of the Lens” and the community conversation “An Evening with Ozier Muhammad.”

Dance Battle Extravaganza


18 @ 7 P.M.


Owensboro Dance Theatre’s “Dance Battle Extravaganza”, sponsored by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline. unites the talent of a professional jazz dance company with over 100 community members ready to “dance it out” in a family-friendly battle to support the art of dance in Owensboro, KY.

Every dollar raised provides free tickets to performances and hours of community outreach through our Triple A (Arts Access for All) programs that bring positive and lasting change to over 20,000 community lives each year. The first act of the show will feature professional jazz dance company Giordano Dance Chicago. Giordano Dance Chicago brings their powerful, passionate, elegant, and celebratory style of dance to the stage. The second act of the show will highlight the talent found here in our community as the battles take front and center stage, and the $1,000 grand prize winner is determined by audience vote and the votes of community guest judges.

Night to Shine 2023 hosted by Life Community Church


Life Community Church in Owensboro is excited to partner once again with the Tim Tebow Foundation and host Night to Shine – an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older.

64 OWENSBORO PARENT February // March 2023 OUT & ABOUT 2 3 1

Night at the Museum

MARCH 4 @ 7 P.M.



Music and art meet as history comes alive on this adventurous journey through the museum! The Owensboro Symphony will delight the audience with music from Indiana Jones, The Mummy, Night at the Museum and more! Be transported by the Symphony’s illuminating performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Join us for a Night at the Museum!




The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is bringing together the best of bluegrass the area has to offer to create a weekend experience for any bluegrass fan. The Great American Bluegrass Jam will take over the Downtown Owensboro area. This event will feature the Kentucky Fried Pickin’ Hotel Jam, the Kentucky State Fiddle Championship, The Earls of Leicester in concert at the Hall of Fame, excursions to both Green River Distilling Co and the Bill Monroe Homeplace in Rosine, KY, and much more in collaboration with downtown businesses.


In Concert featuring Descendants: Better Together

MARCH 18 @ 7 P.M. & MARCH 19 @ 3 P.M. {

Owensboro Dance Theatre’s “In Concert featuring Descendants: Better Together” opens with a first act of energetic and creative works of art from professional guest artist choreographers utilizing a variety of dance styles performed by ODT’s company members. In Act II, with the help of ZFX Effects Flying, we will fly into the magical fairytale world. Fun and frolic will be on board for this coming years production of In Concert featuring Descendants….. Better Together! The children of famous villains are up to some mischief. Hopefully good will prevail and all will be smooth sailing sooner than later. Join us for an incredible evening of dance!

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 65

kids meal deals


Dee's Diner - one free kids meal per adult meal purchase (in-house only, ages 5 and under)


Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn - Up to 2 kids eat free (ages 10 & under) from 4-9pm with adult buffet purchase

Zaxby’s – Up to 3 99¢ kids meals with the purchase of an adult meal from 5-8pm

Huddle House – 1 free kids meal when you spend $6.99 or more on adult entrée


Beef ‘O’ Brady’s – Kids 12 & under eat for $2.99 all day every Tuesday when dining in!

Fazoli’s – Up to 3 99¢ kids meals with the purchase of an adult entrée

Freddy’s – Free scoop or cone with the purchase of a kids meal on Family Night. Kids can enjoy coloring pages, crayons, balloons and stickers!

Pizza Hut (South Frederica location) – 1 free child buffet with the purchase of an adult buffet from 4:30-7pm

Trunnell’s 54 Deli – 1 free kids meal with the purchase of a signature sandwich

Huddle House – 1 free kids meal when you spend $6.99 or more on adult entrée

McDonald’s – $1.99 Happy meals from 4-7pm; dine-in only


Dairy Queen (Frederica Location) – Up to 2 $1.99 kids meals

Trunnell’s 54 Deli – 1 free kids meal with the purchase of a signature sandwich


Lure Seafood & Grille – Free kids meal with purchase of adult entrée

Wheatgrass Juice Bar – Free kids smoothie with adult purchase


Salsarita’s – Free kids meal with the purchase of an adult entrée; dine in only

Beef O’ Brady’s – Free kids meal (ages 12 & under) from 4-8pm with each adult meal purchase; dine-in only


on the honor roll?

Bring your report card to these local restaurants & businesses for additional deals!

Orange Leaf – Bring in your report card and receive $1 off yogurt; a report card with straight A’s will receive a small cup free.

Ritzy’s (Both locations) – Ritzy’s has a “Scoops for Scholars” program. Students can bring in their report card each grading period to earn treats for each “A.”

1A = flavored soft drink (cherry, vanilla, or chocolate)

2 A's = single scoop of ice cream

3 A's = your choice of a hotdog, coney, hamburger, or cheeseburger

4 A's = double scoop of ice cream

McDonald’s – All five Owensboro McDonald’s decided this school year that they will award a free Happy Meal to any student who gets straight A's on their report card.

Chuck E. Cheese in Evansville – A child can receive 10 tokens with a purchase if they bring in their report card.

Sky Zone in Evansville – All A’s= 1/2 off any jump. A & B’s= $5 off any jump. Weekdays & Friday 2-7pm.

February // March 2023 OWENSBORO PARENT 67
*This list is subject to change. Please contact restaurants to ensure their participation.