PAINTSVILLE (10-2-09) – A combined effort by students concerned about drug problems in Paintsville and Johnson County has resulted in $1,300 being raised for the UNITE Foundation.

The third annual Mini-Apple Run – an unofficial kick-off event for the 47th Annual Kentucky Apple Festival (October 2-3) – was held September 26 at Paintsville Elementary School.

A total of 66 students from both the Paintsville Anti-Drug Swim Team and the Paintsville Elementary UNITE Club began preparing for the event since the start of the school year.

Under the guidance of Bernie Carroll, sixth-grade teacher and swim team coordinator, and Lisa Cantrell, UNITE Service Corps member and club sponsor, the students asked area businesses and community members for donations.

On Saturday, the students and supporters gathered at Paintsville Elementary School. They ran through five blocks in the downtown area before returning to the school.

Among the participants were representatives from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Paintsville Police Department, Paintsville Fire Department, UNITE Education Director Debbie Trusty and UNITE Big Sandy Coalition Coordinator Ashley Akers.

Carroll noted that it is one thing to educate youth about the dangers of drug addiction, but quite another to become involved and support a cause they believe in.

“The initiative shown by these students to sponsor the Mini-Apple Run is to be commended,” said Karen Engle, director of UNITE. “Their efforts serve as a model for other UNITE Clubs and organizations.”

“I would like to thank Paintsville Principal Bryan Auxier for his support of Ms. Carroll and Ms. Cantrell,” Engle added. “It is important for school systems to take the lead in educating not only our students, but the entire community.”

Created in 2007 as a way for youth to become directly involved in the fight against drugs, the Mini-Apple Run also provides a way to thank those in the community who are trying to make a difference. A total of $3,460 has been raised by the students in support UNITE since inception.