(Edited press release)
The Klein Family Learning Center will open a special gift shop on the backside of Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby Week only (April 28-May 5) from 7 a.m. until 30 minutes after the last post, except on April 30, when it will be open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Learning Center is located in the old racing offices, across from the clocker’s stand. All proceeds from the sales will benefit the learning center. The money raised will be used to sustain language classes and other social services provided to the workers on the backside of Churchill Downs and Trackside Louisville.
“We hope that horsemen take this opportunity to purchase their Derby gear through us," said Jennifer Hoert, director of the Learning Center. "If they purchase the product from the learning center gift shop, they benefit in two ways; they get great souvenirs, and they are supporting the educational programs on the backside."
Many of the men and women that work on the backside of Churchill Downs live above the horse stables or in the dormitory provided by the track. These professionals are fundamental to the horses they work with, as it has been estimated by the Kentucky Equine Education Project that the horse industry provides a $4 billion impact on Kentucky’s economy.
The Klein Family Learning Center, which relies heavily on 25 regular volunteers, employs only one full-time staff member, two full-time volunteer AmeriCorps VISTAs, and three part-time English as a second language teachers.