Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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Region’s top volunteers are at Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center

Students and staff of the Perkins Vocational Training Center accepting the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month AwardFor dedication to serving the community with PRIDE, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center has earned southern and eastern Kentucky’s PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award for August 2011.

The award was shared by students and staff at the Perkins Center, which assists Kentuckians with disabilities to achieve suitable employment and independence.

“You are an asset to your community and our entire Commonwealth, and we appreciate you,” said PRIDE’s Mark Davis, who presented the award at the Perkins Center on July 21. “You are making a difference by helping to keep our beautiful scenery looking its best.”

“I hope you have found that volunteering is fun and rewarding — just an all around great experience,” Davis said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to see the area you just cleaned and know you accomplished something. And, taking care of the environment makes you more aware of its value.”

Since 2006, the Perkins Center’s students and staff have volunteered to pick up roadside litter at least three times annually. In April and October, they join Johnson County’s roadside cleanup projects, and in June, they organize their own cleanup, to make sure roads leading to the facility look their best as visitors arrive for the annual graduation ceremony.

In April 2011, 105 volunteers from the Perkins Center spent a total of 405 hours picking up 146 bags of garbage, four tires, several appliances and large furniture items along 3 miles of SR1107.

The center also cares for the environment by recycling and composting. The recycling program currently includes plastics and cardboard, and there are plans for expansion. Grass clippings, leaves, vegetables and shredded paper are composted for use on the ground where they grow a vegetable garden.

The center uses volunteering, recycling and composting “as teaching tools to gain knowledge of what can be done to protect the environment and leave it better for future generations,” said Lillian Wheeler, who is the Johnson County PRIDE Coordinator and who nominated the Perkins Center for the PRIDE award.

Wheeler said the Perkins Center students and staff are appreciated for volunteering in many ways in the community, based on their abilities and interests. For example, cosmetology students and staff provide free services for disadvantaged youth and others with special needs, and food service students donate catering services to community groups.

The Perkins Center is a division of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. The Perkins Center was created in 1973 to enable Kentuckians with disabilities to obtain all the services they need to become employed in one location. The Perkins Center provides several types of programs and services to persons with a wide range of disabilities.

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 of southern and eastern Kentucky. With corporate sponsorship from TECO Coal, WYMT-TV airs commercials about each PRIDE Volunteer of the Month.

“Volunteers are the backbone of PRIDE,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, who founded PRIDE in 1997. “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.”

If you know a person or group making a difference with PRIDE, please click here to nominate them for the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award.

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