Operation UNITE is one of hundreds of nonprofit organizations across Kentucky participating in the third annual Kentucky Gives online fundraising event on Tuesday, December 1.

UNITE’s focus for this year’s Kentucky Gives event is to raise funds for youth prevention and education initiatives – specifically Camp UNITE, school anti-drug UNITE Clubs, and the “On The Move!” mobile education classroom.

“These UNITE initiatives are making a significant impact on youth perceptions and knowledge about substance abuse,” said Nancy Hale, president/CEO of Operation UNITE. “Our region has lost too many people to drug overdoses. It is imperative to change attitudes and behaviors at an early age, and to give our youth the knowledge and skills they need for success as adults.”

This global day of philanthropy is also known as #GivingTuesday and “showcases the collective power of philanthropy,” according to the Kentucky Nonprofit Network.

Beginning at midnight on Tuesday, December 1, and continuing until 11:59 p.m., Kentuckians – regardless of where they currently reside – can go online to kygives.org, connect with causes such as Operation UNITE, and make tax-deductible donations.

To make a donation to Operation UNITE on #GivingTuesday please visit their Kentucky Gives profile page at: https://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/Operation-Unite.

All online donations for Operation UNITE made on Kentucky Gives day are 100 percent tax-deductible and will support the following youth initiatives:


The 10th annual Camp UNITE is a free four-day, three-night program leadership/adventure program for youth in the Fifth Congressional District who will be entering grades 7-9 during the 2016-17 school year. Camp is held at the University of the Cumberlands at the end of July.

Camp UNITE is comprised of many fun, action-packed activities designed to develop leadership and communication skills, promote teamwork and problem solving, instill confidence and trust, and – perhaps most important – let youth know they do not have to face difficult situations alone.

“More than 200 youth attend Camp UNITE each summer,” Hale noted. “It takes approximately $275 to send one youth to camp for the week, so the costs add up pretty quickly.”

Since 2007 there have been 1,723 middle school-aged youth participants from 32 counties. Each camp also utilizes more than 100 older youth and community volunteers.


UNITE Clubs, established during the 2005-06 school year, increase a student’s ability to resist substance abuse by providing positive role models for other students, building self-esteem, engaging in healthy lifestyles, striving for high student achievement, and creating positive relationships.

During the 2014-15 school year there were 88 registered UNITE Clubs in 25 counties with a total of 7,298 student members. Each club is eligible to apply for $750 to conduct drug awareness and education programs. Registrations for the current term are still being accepted.

“UNITE Clubs raise awareness about the dangers posed by substance abuse not only in their schools, but throughout their communities,” said Debbie Trusty, UNITE Education Director. “Core components of a UNITE Club include performing community service projects and a provide peer-mentoring to younger students.”

On The Move!

On The Move! is a one-of-a-kind initiative in partnership with Appalachian HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) and the Kentucky Army National Guard targeting students in 7th and 10th grades.

Utilizing five interactive components related to distracted and impaired driving, this mobile classroom is offered free to schools and provides real-time data collection in line with Kentucky’s Core Content areas of practical living and health.

“Students leave these real-life simulations with a heightened awareness about the dangers of impairment from alcohol or drugs,” said Tom Vicini, deputy director for UNITE. “It gets the students thinking about the importance of making good choices so they don’t have to endure the tragic consequences of substance abuse.”

Launched in the fall of 2013, there have been 6,125 students from 72 schools in 18 counties complete the entire program through the end of the 2014-15 school year.


“Making donations to your favorite causes at kygives.org on December 1 is an excellent way for each of us to support the nonprofits serving you, me and our communities,” said Danielle Clore, executive director/CEO of Kentucky Nonprofit Network.

“Kentuckians, near and far, have an opportunity to demonstrate their generosity after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping,” Clore said. “Kentucky Gives on #GivingTuesday is time to see how generous Kentucky can be in just 24 hours.”

Organized by the Kentucky Nonprofit Network, Kentucky Gives is presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky and Anthem Medicaid. #GivingTuesday was founded in 2012.