Students and community members are uniting at Knox Central to educate, prevent, and stop drug abuse in Knox County.
An informational session was held at Knox Central on Thursday, September 24, to bring the two groups together and form a student-led UNITE club at the school. UNITE is an acronym meaning Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education.
“Education is the biggest thing going for UNITE”, said Mike Smith, Knox County Sheriff.
Smith was one of several local law enforcement officials that joined students during the session. During Smith’s presentation he explained that the Internet is becoming very dangerous in the drug problem facing the country. He explained the steps that students should take online, and in the classroom, to take responsible action against drug usage.
Mary Hammons, Knox County jailer, echoed comments that were shared by Smith by adding that “students must be ambassadors” and must be willing to step up and do something about drugs in our community.
Equipping students to be the ambassadors and change agents in creating a drug-free community is the goal of the new UNITE club at Knox Central. UNITE, known throughout the region for their efforts in combating substance abuse, is partnering with Berea College’s Partners for Education to make the club possible at Knox Central.
Berea College’s Full-Service Community Schools Site Coordinator Devona McFadden and the 14-member team of AmeriCorps PartnerCorps mentors assigned to the high school have worked with UNITE to encourage the development of an organization allowing students to take a bold stand against drugs in their school.
“Knox Central High School students embrace UNITE’s mission to provide education and prevention to the youth of Knox County,” said McFadden.
As McFadden explained, the initial interest in starting an UNITE club was well-received at the high school.
“Twenty-five students were required to successfully apply for a UNITE organization at the school,” said McFadden.
“PartnerCorps mentors announced the mission to students and received 131 applications, which shows the students’ desire to combat drugs.”
The primary work ahead for the UNITE students at Knox Central will be to reach out to their peers and younger generation by providing drug-free activities and prevention. The students will apply to establish themselves as a UNITE school organization, continue to accept members and plan future events and activities to support a drug free life.
“We as students are the future of Knox County,” explained Ollis Burnett, a student who was present during the session.
“It is up to us to decide what we do for our community.”
Community members who are interested in supporting the students’ efforts are encouraged to contact Devona McFadden or Courtney Miller at 606-546-9253.