Special to the Enterprise
BARBOURVILLE — The KCEOC Community Action Partnership, Inc., has earned southern and eastern Kentucky’s PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award for August 2012.
KCEOC, which is a nonprofit organization, is based in Barbourville, and it provides a variety of community programs in Clay, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Laurel and Rockcastle Counties.
Since 2009, KCEOC has recruited more than 3,000 volunteers across those six counties to participate in the annual PRIDE Spring Cleanup. Almost all of them were Head Start students, helped by their families and Head Start staff, and they picked up litter in safe areas close to their buildings, such as their playgrounds.
“We appreciate KCEOC for instilling a love for community and the environment in these children,” said PRIDE’s Mark Davis, who presented a plaque to Paul D. Dole, President/CEO of KCEOC. Award certificates also were provided for every KCEOC Head Start center.
“KCEOC also emphasizes recycling, so the students are picking up this good habit at an early age,” Davis said.
In 2011, KCEOC received $4,500 in PRIDE Environmental Education Funds to start recycling programs at the Head Start centers in Clay, Harlan and Knox Counties.
“Through the PRIDE program our Head Start children have learned the importance of a clean environment and what role they play in the future of our communities,” said Tish Coldiron, who is the Child Development Director for KCEOC. “Our goal is not only for the children to learn these lessons but for the children to share this information with their parents.”
“If you get one or two children in a family who are aware of keeping our community clean, maybe it will carry over,” said Steve Warren, Knox County PRIDE Coordinator, who nominated KCEOC for the PRIDE award.
“It’s fun to watch the students do a cleanup because it’s almost like they’re learning a new game,” Warren added. “They make a little a competition of it, trying to pick up more than their friends. Children are sponges at that age, and this shows them right from wrong as far as litter goes.”
“Our teachers and staff make cleanup day fun, and you can see the kids enjoy it,” said Bobbie Gothard, Executive Director of the Tri-City Heritage Development Corporation, which represents Benham, Cumberland and Lynch in Harlan County. She also nominated KCEOC for the PRIDE award.
“The Tri-Cities KCEOC Head Start actually has volunteered for the PRIDE Spring Cleanup for 15 years now,” Gothard said. “The 15 teachers and workers are good role models to the young children they teach on a daily basis.”
Both Warren and Gothard expressed admiration and gratitude to their local KCEOC Head Start centers.
The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month program recognizes hard work and dedication to the PRIDE initiative, which promotes environmental education and cleanup efforts in 38 counties. With corporate sponsorship from TECO Coal, commercials about each PRIDE Volunteer of the Month are broadcast on WYMT-TV, which is the CBS affiliate in Hazard.
“Volunteers are the backbone of PRIDE,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, who co-founded PRIDE. “We wouldn’t be where we are without our volunteers. More than 360,000 volunteers have helped with PRIDE cleanup and education projects. We want to thank TECO Coal for helping PRIDE give these generous people the recognition they deserve.”
“Please tell us about PRIDE volunteers who impressed you because we want to thank them,” Davis said. “You can call our office, toll free, at 888-577-4339, or go online to submit a nomination for the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award.”
The PRIDE website is www.kypride.org.