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” 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. 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, 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.

BOYD COUNTY
Fairview Elementary – Natalie Church

CARTER COUNTY
Heritage Elementary – Ashlee Heaberlin
Olive Hill Elementary – Vacant
Prichard Elementary – Todd Nischan
Tygart Elementary – Michaela Adkins

FLOYD COUNTY
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

HARLAN COUNTY
Black Mountain Elementary – Candace Lewis
Cumberland Elementary – Destinee Jenkins
Evarts Elementary – Katy Shepherd

JENKINS INDEPENDENT (LETCHER COUNTY)
Jenkins Elementary – Erin Dorsey

JOHNSON COUNTY
Central Elementary – Bailey Daniel
Flat Gap Elementary – Dillon Conley
Highland Elementary – Melissa Davis
Porter Elementary – Casandra Helmandollar
W.R. Castle Elementary – Sarah Estep

LAUREL COUNTY
Hazel Green Elementary – McKenzie Gaines
Hunter Hills Elementary – Felisha McNew
Keavy Elementary – Elizabeth Johnson

LESLIE COUNTY
Hayes Lewis Elementary – Oria Smith
Mountain View Elementary – Stacy Maggard
Stinnett Elementary – Sandra Morgan
W.B. Muncy Elementary – Sarah Wells

LINCOLN COUNTY
Crab Orchard Elementary – Deborah “Debbie” Simmons
Hustonville Elementary – Jaclynn Brummett
Stanford Elementary – Jentry Shae Carrier
Waynesburg Elementary – Casey Ruckel

MAGOFFIN COUNTY
Salyersville Grade School – Brooklynn Dyer

MORGAN COUNTY
East Valley Elementary – Shonda Perkins
Wrigley Elementary – Brittni Lewis

OWSLEY COUNTY
Owsley Elementary – Pam Cornelius

PAINTSVILLE INDEPENDENT (JOHNSON COUNTY)
Paintsville Elementary – Carolyn Leckie

PIKE COUNTY
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

PULASKI COUNTY
Southern Elementary – Kendra Singleton

ROCKCASTLE COUNTY
Mt. Vernon Elementary – Tara Mink
Roundstone Elementary – Skylar Holcomb

SOMERSET INDEPENDENT (PULASKI COUNTY)
Hopkins Elementary – Vacant

WHITLEY COUNTY
Oak Grove Elementary – Savanna Sizemore
Pleasant View Elementary – Raeanne Barton

WOLFE COUNTY
Campton Elementary – Sierra Brown
Red River Valley Elementary – Brett Denniston
Rogers Elementary – Jessica Profitt

UNITE Service Corps Contacts

Melinda Kincer
Acting USC Director

mkincer@centertech.com
606-386-9077

Crystal Smallwood
USC Program Manager

csmallwood@centertech.com
606-369-4408

Marionette Little
USC Co-Program Director

mlittle@centertech.com
606-234-5341

Kelli Thompson
USC Co-Program Director

kthompson@centertech.com
606-794-3938