Operation UNITE receives $658,800 from AmeriCorps

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Recently, AmeriCorps awarded Unite with a grant to help fund their school-based programs.

The programs help children with drug prevention and even sharpen their math skills.

Co-Director of UNITE, Kelli Thompson says they are thrilled to have the funding.

"UNITE secured funding to have teachers in the 5th congressional district with students in grades 3rd through 5th," said Thompson. "The AmeriCorps members just try to be a service to the community to the parents to the children to the school," she continued.

"UNITE" stands for Unlawful Narcotic, Investigation Treatment Education.

AmeriCorps rewarded the program $658,800 from the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

"Our hope is that those problem-solving skills will be carried over to life after school," Thompson pointed out.

Gary Fields is the principal at Mullins Elementary. He says the program has improved the morale of the student body.

"It helps make them more positive because they are seeing that there are people who care and there are things that they can be involved in," said Fields.

Fields pointed out that some kids do not fall into the athletic clubs or the academic clubs. This program gives those students who fall in the middle a sense of belonging.

"It gives them that sense of being a part of a group that they might not have had a chance to do without," said Fields.

Susie Miller is a UNITE instructor at the school. She says it is important for children to learn about drug prevention at a young age.

"It's key for us to start with the younger grades because the average for starting drugs for the first time continues to go down," said Miller.

Miller says the math intervention program can help teach children problem-solving skills they can apply in the real world.

"They're our future. If we work with them right now, then I'm building our future, my future, every body's future," explained Miller.

There are 54 AmeriCorps members at elementary schools in the 5th congressional district.

AmeriCorps members serving with UNITE provides this learning opportunity to 15 counties: Carter, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Laurel, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Morgan, Owsley, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Wayne, and Wolfe.

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