UNITE Service Corps (KY AmeriCorps)
Celebrating our 12th year
Kentucky AmeriCorps members serving with UNITE provide math tutoring and drug prevention education to elementary school students using the “Too Good for Drugs” and “Healthy Futures/Take 10” wellness curricula.
UNITE is engaging 54 Kentucky AmeriCorps members at elementary schools in 17 counties (19 school districts) within its service region during the 2019-20 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 and to increase negative attitudes about using alcohol and drugs. “Take 10” integrates movement with core curriculum concepts and includes nutrition education and physical activity lessons.
In addition, Kentucky AmeriCorps members serving with UNITE volunteer as sponsors for anti-drug UNITE Clubs in their schools and recruit volunteers for school-based prevention programs.
UNITE Service Corps members participated in the 2019-20 kickoff celebration of Kentucky AmeriCorps in Louisville on October 14, 2019. Pictured are former USC member Cary Hughes and Serve Kentucky Executive Director Joe Bringardner.
Making A Difference: 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 Corporation for National and Community Service, which directs the AmeriCorps initiative across the United States.
Success in the Classroom
Success of the UNITE AmeriCorps initiative is determined through pre- and post-test surveys evaluated by the University of Kentucky. During the 2018-19 school year:
- 2,576 students were tutored in mathematics. Math test scores for these students showed an average growth of 30.0% in math knowledge.
- 1,572 students were taught the evidence-based “Too Good For Drugs” and “Healthy Futures/Take 10!” wellness curricula. Test scores for these students showed an average growth of 36.8% in drug education and healthy decision-making knowledge.
- Service Corps members mentored 2,308 students in addition to those receiving tutoring.
- 1,647 volunteers (either one-time or reoccurring) provided an estimated 6,024 hours of service to USC schools.
- All of the Service Corps 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.
- Each member sponsored or co-sponsored a UNITE Club at their school.
Kentucky AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by Serve Kentucky (formerly the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service), which is part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
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.
2019-20 AmeriCorps members
serving with UNITE
Members are listed alphabetically by school system, then school.
Fairview Elementary – Jesse Dillow
Heritage Elementary – Ashlee Heaberlin
Olive Hill Elementary – Jessalyn Nischan
Prichard Elementary – Todd Nischan
Tygart Elementary – Michaela Adkins
Betsy Layne Elementary – Gary Keathley
Duff-Allen Central Elementary – Vickii Conley
May Valley Elementary – Brandi Fitzpatrick
Prestonsburg Elementary – Hannah Hamilton
South Floyd Elementary – Danielle Engle
Black Mountain Elementary – Candace Lewis
Cumberland Elementary – Destinee Jenkins
Evarts Elementary – Katy Shepherd
JENKINS INDEPENDENT (LETCHER COUNTY)
Jenkins Elementary – Erin Dorsey
Central Elementary – Bailey Daniel
Flat Gap Elementary – Dillon Conley
Highland Elementary – Melissa Davis
Porter Elementary – Casandra Helmandollar
W.R. Castle Elementary – Sarah Estep
Hazel Green Elementary – McKenzie Gaines
Hunter Hills Elementary – Felisha McNew
Keavy Elementary – Elizabeth Johnson
Hayes Lewis Elementary – Oria Smith
Mountain View Elementary – Stacy Maggard
Stinnett Elementary – Sandra Morgan
W.B. Muncy Elementary – Sarah Wells
Crab Orchard Elementary – Deborah “Debbie” Simmons
Hustonville Elementary – Jaclynn Brummett
Stanford Elementary – Jentry Shae Carrier
Waynesburg Elementary – Casey Ruckel
Salyersville Grade School – Brooklynn Dyer
East Valley Elementary – Shonda Perkins
Wrigley Elementary – Brittni Lewis
Owsley Elementary – Pam Cornelius
PAINTSVILLE INDEPENDENT (JOHNSON COUNTY)
Paintsville Elementary – Carolyn Leckie
Belfry Elementary – Nora Lester
Bevins Elementary – Morgan Hensley
Dorton Elementary – Christopher “Mike” Hall
Elkhorn City Elementary – Jordan Keen
Feds Creek Elementary – Rose Dotson
Johns Creek Elementary – Aaron Hunt
Millard Elementary – Chloe Coleman
Mullins Elementary – Jessica Hall
Phelps Elementary – Ashley Bentley
Valley Elementary – Tiffany Coleman
Southern Elementary – Kendra Singleton
Mt. Vernon Elementary – Tara Mink
Roundstone Elementary – Skylar Holcomb
SOMERSET INDEPENDENT (PULASKI COUNTY)
Hopkins Elementary – Kaelyn Coomer
Oak Grove Elementary – Savanna Sizemore
Pleasant View Elementary – Raeanne Barton
Campton Elementary – Sierra Brown
Red River Valley Elementary – Brett Denniston
Rogers Elementary – Jessica Profitt