KY AmeriCorps

Celebrating 12 years of UNITE Service Corps in 2019-20

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 15 counties (18 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.


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 of the UNITE AmeriCorps initiative is determined through pre- and post-test surveys evaluated by the University of Kentucky. During the 2017-18 school year, the last year for which data is available:

  • 2,607 students were tutored in mathematics. Math test scores for these students showed an average growth of 30.0% in math knowledge.
  • 2,415 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 36.1% in drug education and healthy decision-making knowledge.
  • On average, each Service Corps member mentored 32 students each week.
  • 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 Clubs at their school.

Kentucky AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by Serve Kentucky (formerly the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

2019-20 AmeriCorps Members Serving With UNITE

Members are listed by school system
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 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
Southern Elementary – Kendra Singleton
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 Elementary – Carolyn Leckie
Belfry Elementary – Nora Lester
Bevins Elementary – Angela Smith-Compton
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
Mt. Vernon Elementary – Tara Mink
Roundstone Elementary – Skylar Holcomb
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


  Melinda Kincer, Acting USC Director or 606-386-9077.
  Crystal Smallwood, USC Program Manager or 606-369-4408.
  Marionette Little, USC Co-Program Director or 606-234-5341.
  Kellie Thompson, USC Co-Program Director or 606-794-3938.
trusty_debbie-2014-web  Debbie Trusty, UNITE Education Director or 606-889-0422.

Showing youth the right way to have fun


Photos & Stories about the UNITE Service Corps

  • End-of-year celebrations were held June 4, 2019, in Prestonsburg and June 6, 2019, in London for UNITE Service Corps members. View photos. 6-6-19
  • Operation UNITE receives $680,000 from AmeriCorps. View WYMT TV story. 8-21-18
  • 54 AmeriCorps members will serve with UNITE to provide math tutoring, drug prevention education. Read story. 8-9-18
  • Training on the “Too Good For Drugs” curriculum used by UNITE Service Corps members was conducted by the Mendez Foundation View photos. 10-26-16
  • UNITE Service Corps members for the 2016-17 school year attended orientation in Pikeville on September 6, 2016, and in London on October 18, 2016. View photos. 10-18-16
  • UNITE Service Corps presents “Above and Beyond” awards during a 2015-16 year-end celebration held June 9, 2016, at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. Read story and View photos. 6-9-16
  • UNITE Service Corps receives funding for 44 AmeriCorps members in 2015-16 school year. Read story.
  • The UNITE Service Corps held a 2014-15 year-end celebration at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg on June 4, 2015. View photos. 6-4-16
  • USC members attend AmeriCorps’ 20th anniversary conference. Read story and View photos 9-12-14
  • Service, accomplishments recognized at year-end celebration. Read story and View photos 5-27-14
  • The UNITE Service Corps has received funding for 44 AmeriCorps members for the 2014-15 school year as part of its UNITE Service Corps (USC) initiative. Read story. 5-5-14
  • UNITE Service Corps expected to set record with holiday food drive collections. Read story 11-7-13
  • Wolfe County “Stuff The Bus” food drive results in largest donation ever to food pantry. View the WYMT news story. 10-29-13
  • In May 2012, the UNITE Service Corps initiative was honored for the second time in two years with the “Governor’s Citation” for its excellent leadership and service by the Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service (KCCVS) in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Read story about the Governor’s Citation.
  • View photos from the year-end celebration conducted May 23, 2013, at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. Read story about that event.


To learn more about AmeriCorps, Click here