Ten school anti-drug UNITE Clubs have been recognized as “Clubs of the Year” for their outstanding efforts and accomplishments during the 2012-13 school year.
Winning UNITE Clubs are: James D. Adams Middle, Floyd County; Mt. Vernon Elementary, Rockcastle County; Page School Center (elementary and middle), Bell County; Porter Elementary, Johnson County; Red River Valley Elementary, Wolfe County; Rockcastle County High, Rockcastle County; Rockcastle County Middle, Rockcastle County; Shelby Valley High, Pike County; Shelton Clark High, Martin County; and Whitesburg Middle, Letcher County.
In addition to a trophy, each of these clubs will be allocated $750 by Operation UNITE to fund anti-drug activities during the current school term.
Last school year there were 118 registered UNITE Clubs in 26 counties with a total of 9,572 student members – the largest participation since clubs were first established during the 2005-06 school year.
To qualify for Club of the Year honors, students submitted scrapbooks showcasing their monthly activities, service projects and mentoring activities. Scrapbooks were judged in elementary, middle and high school categories to determine regional winners.
“Once again the selection committee was impressed with the amount of amazing and innovative activities UNITE Club members were engaged in throughout the school year,” said Debbie Trusty, UNITE education director. “These students help raise awareness about the dangers posed by substance abuse or misuse, not only among their classmates but throughout their homes and communities as well.”
Page School Center had two clubs during the 2012-13 school year – 134 students in fourth through sixth grades and 80 students in seventh and eighth grades. Their combined efforts are recognized by this year’s award. It is the first time the school has been named a “UNITE Club of the Year.”
Among their many activities, members traveled once a month to the Lighthouse Mission Training Center to assist with their Backpack program, performed the song “Hold On” for the Rockcastle County UNITE Coalition, recorded a six-song CD to sell as a club fundraiser, visited the Pineville Community Nursing Home and Mountain Heritage Nursing Home to sing Christmas carols and present each resident a gift, collected more than 7,300 ounces of food during a fall food drive, and collected 1,570 rolls of toilet paper for the Ray of Hope and Bell County Homeless Shelter.
In addition, the club hosted “Addicted: A Dose of Reality” and “One-Step Misery” awareness programs for parents, conducted the STEP-UP student/teacher education program, conducted a “Scare Drugs Away” costume drive to give to children who did not have a costume, collected aluminum tabs from cans for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, participated in the “Walking for Autism” awareness program, and hosted a school assembly with Remix Education. Sponsors were Aleisha Lewis and Katara Perkins.
Participation in a UNITE Club increases the students’ protective factors, such as providing positive role models for other students, building self-esteem, engaging in healthy lifestyles, striving for high student achievement, and creating positive relationships.
“Students participate in service projects at school and in the community that are aimed at increasing their awareness of civic responsibility and development of leadership qualities,” Trusty said. “UNITE Clubs help youth develop healthy attitudes and behaviors by learning and practicing life skills, enhancing academic performance, connecting peers, adults, communities and learning through service.”
For more information about Operation UNITE visit www.operationunite.org.