The Times Journal & Russell County News
Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Student leader uses grant to better community
In May 14 Issue
By John Thompson
News-Register Reporter

4-H Team Leader Marketta Lawless, a 17-year-old Junior at Russell County High School, has put a grant she received to good use, purchasing exercise equipment to supplement the gym at the Natatorium complex.

Marketta is the daughter of Mark Allen and Roxann Lawless.

Lawless attended the annual 4-H Youth Issues Conference traditionally held in Jabez, at the Kentucky Leadership Center. Pulling out and flipping through her planner she said the event was held November 18-21 last year.

Why Jabez? "It's a remote facility," said Russell County 4-H Agent Christy Martin. "There's not a lot of distractions, and they work from early in the morning until pretty late in the evening."

"There's not much sleep," added Lawless.

Lawless went to the four day conference of top student leaders from across the Commonwealth with her chosen theme of "Going Green." The program is open to high school sophomores and juniors who display uncommon leadership potential and who will make a commitment to implement what they learn back in their home community.

The stated objectives of the conference are:

*To help young people become more effective advocates for the needs of youth in today's society;

*To help young people believe that they can be resources for bringing about positive change in their community;

*To help young people acquire the skills they need to give leadership to local change efforts; and

*To help young people become knowledgeable about the issues which affect them.

At the conference Lawless signed up to compete for one of four grants that would be given to a student leader whose proposal was well constructed and would likely make an impact.

Her idea was to offer better exercise opportunities in our community by supplementing exercise equipment at the Russell County Natatorium/Auditorium Complex.

"I noticed that all the equipment at the natatorium was for lower body; it was all treadmills and ellipticals for the legs and nothing for the upper body," said Lawless. "So when I got the grant I focused on purchasing upper body strength equipment."

With the $500 grant, plus $100 donated from the local 4-H chapter she decided to purchase an Ab Roller, a Wii Fit and Wii Zumba game to go with the Wii equipment at the natatorium, a four station stationary Weider brand exercise machine that focuses on upper body as well as other equipment.

Curves Fitness Club of Russell Springs also donated a weighted hula hoop to the cause.

Marketta is an outstanding example of leadership among the youth in Russell County.

In 4th grade at Union Chapel Elementary she initiated the recycle program, a program that now regularly beats out other schools in the school district in the local PRIDE competition for most recyclable material collected, she said.

She has been the student PRIDE program president last year and the year before.

"I really enjoy being in 4-H," said Lawless. She said her future goal is to herself become a 4-H Extension agent like Martin.

She has received a Silver and Bronze award in the 4-H Achievements Program and is currently working toward receiving her gold. "Since I've been here she's achieved the highest level in the honors program of anyone," said Martin, 11-year veteran Russell County 4-H Agent.

This coming Sunday, May 15, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. an open house will be held at the Natatorium to highlight the new equipment. Later this year the four grant awardees from across the state will be evaluated as to how they were able to put their plan into action. If her implementation is chosen she will be honored by being allowed to give a presentation at the next leadership conference.

School District Nurse Patty Meece will be on hand to check blood pressures and Curves Fitness Club Zumba instructor Eva Burton will be on hand to demonstrate the popular exercise routine.

Everyone is invited to come on out to the Russell County Natatorium/Auditorium this Sunday and help one of our future leaders achieve her goal.

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