Terril D. Faul, Coolman, Denise | 12/15/2005 3:57:04 AM
Louisiana 4-H’ers are using some of the lessons they’ve learned about helping others to help people in the state, as well as around the globe, this year.
Serving others is one of the character traits young people are taught in the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H program in Louisiana. Officials say holidays provide an excellent opportunity for 4-H’ers to help others, but they aren’t the only times 4-H’ers participate in service learning projects. Louisiana 4-H’ers are involved in projects all year long that involve helping others.
One example of what 4-H’ers are doing this holiday season is in Bienville Parish where 4-H’ers filled shoe boxes with goodies for children in Cambodia as part of Operation Christmas Child. Diane Uzzle, an LSU AgCenter agent in Bienville Parish, said the Cambodia project will be a year-long project for the 4-H’ers.
"The 4-H’ers will be doing this project next year, too," Uzzle said. "It will be a year-long project and is an excellent project for the young people because it teaches them about helping others."
Some of the Bienville Parish 4-H’ers also have made stockings and have filled those with toiletries and other items to give to nursing home residents in their parish.
In another example Grant Parish 4-H’ers gave cookies, peppermints and socks to residents in nursing homes in their parish. After the 4-H’ers left the nursing home, they went to the Grant Parish Courthouse in Colfax and decorated the courthouse Christmas tree with felt snowmen they had made. The 4-H’ers also are adopting families and providing food baskets for the holidays.
Other activities Louisiana 4-H’ers have been involved in include food drives and toy drives. Teresa Price, an LSU AgCenter agent in Claiborne Parish, said such activities teach the 4-H’ers valuable lessons.
"They learn how to work together to get a job done," Price said. "And they learn how to help others less fortunate than themselves."
In St. Mary Parish, 4-H Junior Leaders have adopted 20 residents of a local nursing home. These residents don’t have any family in the area to celebrate the holidays with.
Bossier Parish 4-H’ers "adopted" cottages at the Northwest Louisiana Development Center and will provide gifts for all of the residents who live in the cottages. The Northwest Louisiana Development Center is a home for people with developmental disabilities including mental retardation, autism and other conditions related to mental retardation.
Aside from other holiday activities, Louisiana 4-H’ers also have been busy helping evacuees of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
For example, 4-H’ers in Goldonna in Natchitoches Parish collected $300 for the Louisiana 4-H Foundation’s fund for hurricane evacuees. And Bowling Green Elementary School 4-H’ers in Franklinton donated money, food and clothes to members of the Lakeshore Church in Mississippi after their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
4-H’ers also will provide meals and toys for evacuees and children living in shelters.
Terril Faul, the LSU AgCenter department head of 4-H and Youth Development, said serving others is one of the key components of the 4-H program.
"4-H’ers are young people who use their heads, hands, heart and health to help others," Faul said. "We are proud of our 4-H’ers and the positive steps they are taking to help make this state and the world a better place for everyone."
4-H is the youth development and outreach program of the nation’s land-grant university system and is operated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter. The program teaches young people useful life skills by involving the youth in a variety of projects and activities, including citizenship and civic education, communications, consumer and family sciences, environmental education, earth science, healthy lifestyles, personal development and leadership, as well as plants, animals, science and technology.
To find out more about Louisiana 4-H, go to www.lsuagcenter.com, and click on the 4-H clover for Louisiana 4-H Online – or visit your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office.