Julia Roberts Goad
BELFRY, Ky. — The Belfry High School UNITE club is one of two in Pike County that has been selected as a UNITE Club of the Year for Region 3.
Operation UNITE, Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, is an anti-drug awareness coalition that works to rid communities of illegal drug use through undercover narcotics investigations, coordinating treatment for substance abusers, providing support to families and friends of substance abusers, and educating the public about the dangers of using drugs.
There were 95 registered UNITE Clubs in 23 counties during the 2011-12 school year. These clubs had 6,841 student members. With 300 members, the Belfry High School chapter is the largest chapter in the history of the organization, which encompasses 29 counties in Kentucky.
To qualify, each club submitted a scrapbook showcasing their monthly activities, service projects and mentoring activities. Scrapbooks were judged in elementary, middle and high school categories to determine the regional winners.
Jarrod Hunt, Executive Director of UNITE Pike, said the size of the Belfry chapter is a testament to the dedication of the students.
“There’s so many of you guys,” Hunt told the students. “Our main office in Somerset said are the biggest club in all our counties in Eastern Kentucky. That means Pond Creek Nation seems to be serious. I’m excited with you. When you have more than 300 students in a club, you can make a real difference. I’m learning to never underestimate Belfry. Anything you all do seems to be the biggest and the best.”
Winning clubs will be awarded an additional $750 funding for anti-drug activities during the 2012-13 school year and members will be treated to a pizza party by Operation UNITE.
“What we are doing here is very serious,” Hunt said. “Everyone of us, I imagine, knows someone who is struggling with drugs or alcohol addiction, someone who has died from that. That’s what we are here for, to put a stop to that.”