UNITE Service Corps (AmeriCorps)

Celebrating our 15th year

Kentucky AmeriCorps members serving with UNITE provide math tutoring and drug prevention education to elementary school students using the “Too Good for Drugs” curricula.

UNITE will engage 58 Kentucky AmeriCorps members at elementary schools in 21 school systems across 20 counties within its service region during the 2022-23 school year.

The “Too Good for Drugs” program has been found to be effective in decreasing a youth’s intention to use alcohol or other drugs. The lessons introduce and develop social and emotional skills for making healthy choices, building positive friendships, developing self-efficacy, communicating effectively, and resisting peer pressure and influence.

In addition, AmeriCorps members serving with UNITE volunteer as sponsors for anti-drug UNITE Clubs in their schools and recruit volunteers for school-based prevention programs.

Success in the Classroom

Success of the UNITE AmeriCorps initiative is determined through pre- and post-test surveys evaluated by the University of Kentucky. But UNITE Service Corps members are also actively involved in helping their schools and communities.

2021-22 School Year

  • 3,410 students received tutoring in mathematics. Math test scores for these students showed an average growth of 42.91% in math knowledge.
  • 2,172 students were taught the evidence-based “Too Good For Drugs” curricula. Test scores for these students showed an average growth of 62.96% in drug education knowledge.
  • 4,474 students were mentored by USC members in addition to math and “Too Good for Drugs” components.
  • 341 volunteers (either one-time or reoccurring) were recruited to help in the schools. These volunteers provided 662 hours of service.
  • All of the USC members were state certified in FEMA disaster and emergency response by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, enabling them to become leaders on local disaster response teams when the need arises.
  • All USC members sponsored or co-sponsored a UNITE Club at their school.
  • All USC members were Human Trafficking and ServSafe Food Handler certified.

A National Model

UNITE first began working with the Kentucky AmeriCorps program in May 2006 through a partnership with Eastern Kentucky University. Through this partnership, UNITE coordinated drug education programs and teacher trainings throughout the Fifth Congressional District for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years. UNITE received a grant to form its own “UNITE Service Corps” AmeriCorps initiative during the 2008-09 school year with 10 AmeriCorps members.

The UNITE initiative quickly expanded and was heralded “as a model to other rural counties across the country” in October 2012 by the head of the former Corporation for National and Community Service, now known simply as AmeriCorps.

2022-23 AmeriCorps members

serving with UNITE

Members are listed alphabetically by school system, then by school. Updated 9-7-2022

BARBOURVILLE INDEPENDENT (KNOX COUNTY)
Barbourville Elementary – Alexis Lebron

CARTER COUNTY
Prichard Elementary – Kristen Stewart
Tygart Elementary – Kami Nagle

FAIRVIEW INDEPENDENT (BOYD COUNTY)
Fairview Elementary – Darla Caldwell

FLOYD COUNTY
Allen Elementary – Brittany Rodebaugh
Betsy Layne Elementary – Dorsa Justice

John M. Stumbo Elementary – Shantana McCary

Prestonsburg Elementary – Amanda Hall
South Floyd Elementary – Miranda Johnson

HARLAN COUNTY
Black Mountain Elementary – Samantha Bush
Cumberland Elementary – Amber Chappell
Evarts Elementary – Cassandra Boggs
James A. Cawood Elementary – Amanda Brock
Rosspoint Elementary – Baili Bailey

JENKINS INDEPENDENT (LETCHER COUNTY)
Jenkins Elementary – Jessica Tackett

JOHNSON COUNTY
Central Elementary – Mason Fairchild
Flat Gap Elementary – Makayla Setser
Highland Elementary – Claudette Fairchild
Porter Elementary – Presley Grace McCormick
W.R. Castle Elementary – Tyler Trimble

LAUREL COUNTY
Hazel Green Elementary – Kaleigh Kinner
Hunter Hills Elementary – Jessie Wilson
Johnson Elementary – Lauren Marcum

LAWRENCE COUNTY
Blaine Elementary – Madison Nelson
Louisa East Elementary – Baden Gillispie

LESLIE COUNTY
Hayes Lewis Elementary – Elaina Gilliam
Mountain View Elementary – Caden Gilbert
Stinnett Elementary – Justin Collett

W.B. Muncy Elementary – Whitney Dixon

LINCOLN COUNTY
Crab Orchard Elementary – Anthony Shelton

MAGOFFIN COUNTY
Salyersville Grade School – Ben Cole

MARTIN COUNTY
Inez Elementary – Abigail Crum

OWSLEY COUNTY
Owsley County Elementary – Kaila Godfrey

PAINTSVILLE INDEPENDENT (JOHNSON COUNTY)
Paintsville Elementary – Lisa Blevins

PIKE COUNTY
Belfry Elementary – Misty Varney
Bevins Elementary – Cassidy Walters
Dorton Elementary – Chandra Stewart
Elkhorn City Elementary – Kelsi Slone
Feds Creek Elementary – Sabrina Thacker
Johns Creek Elementary – Derek Blake Charles
Millard Elementary – Eden Griffith
Mullins Elementary – Hannah Robinson
Phelps Elementary – Barbara Darnell
Valley Elementary – Erin Bartley

PULASKI COUNTY
Southern Elementary – Hannah Maher

ROCKCASTLE COUNTY
Roundstone Elementary – Karen Barron

WHITLEY COUNTY
Oak Grove Elementary – Rebecca McKiddy

WOLFE COUNTY
Campton Elementary – Summer Ferguson
Red River Valley Elementary – Stacy King
Rogers Elementary – James “Jim” Manning

UNITE Service Corps Contacts

Crystal Smallwood
USC Director

csmallwood@centertech.com
606-369-4408

Benji Hammons
USC Program Manager

bhammons@centertech.com
606-312-3441

Marionette Little
USC Program Staff Assistant

mlittle@centertech.com
606-234-5341

Kim Tackett
USC Program Staff Assistant

ktackett@centertech.com
606-616-3577

What is AmeriCorps?

In the fall of 2020, the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs, the Corporation for National and Community Service, officially became “AmeriCorps” in the first major update to the agency’s identity in a quarter century. As part of this rebranding initiative, all national service programs are united under a unified AmeriCorps identity and promoted under the AmeriCorps or AmeriCorps Seniors banner. This effort streamlines opportunities to serve for all Americans, at a time when their help is needed most.

Listen to comments about the value of Operation UNITE’s youth initiatives, including the UNITE Service Corps (KY AmeriCorps) and UNITE Clubs, to help prevent the abuse of all substances – including drugs, tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. Comments were recorded during a Hooked On Fishing-Not On Drugs (HOFNOD) program at the Fishy Business Pay Lake in Pike County on May 25, 2016.