Barren County, Kentucky


  • Community name: Barren County
  • Community or city website
  • Population: 40,953
  • Graduation rate: 81.9%
  • Youth poverty rate: 29.0% 


Barren County, a 100 Best community winner for the second time, boasts an 81.9 percent graduation rate and has a number of initiatives that ensure students are healthy and successful. Barren County Schools have partnered with the Glasgow City Government to provide recreational facilities and activities for youth, including ball fields, a pool, parks, camps and Little League. Barren County also has programs for its most vulnerable youth through the Temporary Emergency Assistance House which provides shelter, clothing and household goods to needy families.

Youth also have opportunities to learn workforce development skills and volunteer through programs like Junior Achievement and Josh’s Friends. Students in Junior Achievement design a business plan and present the proposal to a potential group of investors while Josh’s Friends provide companionship and activities for students to interact and engage with nursing home residents. The community is also working hard to recover students who have dropped out with its Success Academy. The Success Academy works with local employers to help students who need to earn an income to stay in school with smaller, more conveniently scheduled classes.

Community Programs

  • Barren County Schools has partnered with the Glasgow City Government to provide recreational facilities including ball fields, a pool, parks, camps and Little League for community youth.
  • Junior Achievement is a program in which high school volunteers learn workforce development skills by creating a business venture, designing a business plan and presenting it to potential investors.
  • The Temporary Emergency Assistance House provides shelter for needy families as well as clothing and household goods.
  • Family Resource and Youth Service Center Coordinators refer students to local doctors, dentists and optometrists who treat youth for free or at a reduced cost.
  • Josh’s Friends gives youth the opportunity to provide companionship and activities to nursing home residents.
  • High school students in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program dedicate an hour of their time each week to mentor elementary students.

Youth Voices

I’m confident that without the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program (BBBS), my sister might have chosen a path of poor academic performance and an inability to resist peer pressure. She’s no longer afraid to ask teachers questions; she doesn’t hesitate to request help if she doesn’t understand her homework; and she’s started initiating conversation with her peers.


In the past couple of years, I have acquired a love for history. I sincerely believe that this love would not have arisen if the AP World History and AP United States History classes and those who teach them had not challenged me to think and research at an advanced level and connect the material I learn to current global issues.