Nearly three dozen schools in Eastern Kentucky will be served by AmeriCorps members during the 2011-12 term through UNITE’s Service Corps initiative.

This is the fourth year Operation UNITE has received funding for the initiative through a grant awarded by Corporation for National and Community Service.

The UNITE Service Corps program provides math tutoring, teaches the “Too Good for Drugs” and “Take 10” wellness curriculums, and coordinates anti-drug UNITE Clubs at each location.

A total of 28 full-time AmeriCorps members will serve students at 35 schools in 11 counties this year, said Debbie Trusty, education director for UNITE.

To view list of Service Corps members and schools served Click Here.

UNITE’s efforts have received statewide acclaim.

This past year, the UNITE Service Corps was awarded the “Governor’s Citation” for excellent leadership and service to others “because of your demonstration of integrity and ability” by Eileen Cackowski, state director of the Kentucky Commission for Community and Volunteer Services in the Cabinet for Human Services.

“The success we have seen has been phenomenal,” noted Eugene Newsome, who coordinates UNITE’s Service Corps. “We have consistently exceeded our goals.”

Statistics from the 2010-11 school year demonstrate the impact of UNITE’s Service Corps:

• 1,793 students at 37 schools completed the 10-lesson Too Good For Drugs curriculum. This program’s focus is on resistance skills, role-playing, and decision-making skills to avoid using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.

• 752 community volunteers were recruited to assist with UNITE Club activities.

• 4,751 hours of volunteer service were provided to the schools served by AmeriCorps members.

• 119 educational presentations were made to community organizations to recruit volunteers.

• 37 anti-drug UNITE Clubs (fourth grade and above) were established in schools by Service Corps members. There were approximately 2,200 student members of these clubs.

• 997 third grade or younger students were mentored in drug education, prevention and resistance strategies by UNITE Club members.

During the 2008-09 school year UNITE employed 10 AmeriCorps members at schools in six counties through a three-year grant awarded by Corporation for National and Community Service. An additional five members were added in the 2009-10 school year with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program was expanded to 24 full-time and 9 part-time members in 11 counties last school year.

Each participating school contributes $5,500 toward the salary of the AmeriCorps member.

The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. As the nation’s largest grant maker in support of service and volunteering, CNCS engages more than five million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities each year.

In exchange for a year of full-time service, members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be used to pay for college or graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans.