In Fleming and Lawrence counties, special projects are underway to promote life skills in middle school youth.  Funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Program Sustainable Communities Project, youth in these counties are participating in a variety of activities. 

Fleming County's project involves core youth at Simons Middle School.  This fall, students have been busy with a number of community projects.  The group designed and created a banner emphasizing the four H's (head, heart, hands and health) associated with the 4-H Program.  The banner was placed in downtown Flemingsburg with 36 other banners designed by local artists.  Fleming County youth also participated in the "Great Scarecrow Roundup."  The group constructed a scarecrow named "Mommy Mendy" to be displayed in the community.   Students gave an old trash can new life at their school with a fresh coat of paint, handprints and signatures.  In October, youth  designed a bulletin board, posters and flyers with facts about drug and alcohol abuse as part of Red Ribbon Week, the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the U.S.

In Lawrence County, youth at Blaine, Trinity and Louisa Middle Schools are involved in the project.   CYFAR core youth participated in the "Fifth Quarter" event after a home football game, which included an "open microphone" talent show.  This fall, Lawrence County core youth created a billboard to encourage citizens to protect children from secondhand smoke.  The billboard can be seen along the highway as you approach the Louisa city limits.  Core youth also chaperoned a field trip for 4th & 5th grade students from Blaine Elementary and were highly complimented by school staff for the leadership and supervision provided by the chaperones.  Lawrence County youth hosted a scene as part of the 10th Annual 4-H Haunted Trail fundraiser and planned "Stand Your Ground. Don't Back Down" assemblies for Louisa Middle School and Lawrence County High School.  Core youth also assisted with host duties and participated in the 2nd Sunday observance in Lawrence County.

Kerri Ashurst, Extension Specialist, serves as coordinator for Kentucky' CYFAR Program.  Janet Kurzynske, Nutrition and Food Science, and Kenneth Jones, Community and Leadership Development, serve as the co-director's for Kentucky's CYFAR Program.  Kerri and Kenneth shared this observation, "The middle school age range can be a challenging group to work with, but they are very impressionable, enthusiastic, and willing to learn.  Through the CYFAR grant, we are focusing on leadership and life skills during the middle school years.  The youth can then use these skills to take on leadership roles, making a positive difference in their communities as high school students and adults."