Healthy YOUth in Shreveport

Richard Bogren  |  2/8/2017 5:26:15 PM

Johnny Morgan

To make 4-H more appealing to urban youth in the Shreveport area, the LSU AgCenter in Caddo Parish was awarded a five-year, $600,000 Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is being implemented in cooperation with Shreveport Parks and Recreation community centers serving as the hub, said AgCenter 4-H regional coordinator Karen Martin.

The Healthy YOUth Healthy Communities program, which is in three Shreveport neighborhoods, is designed to help participants sustain positive changes in attitude, involve­ment and behavior related to healthy life choices, community involvement and their future.

“The Healthy YOUth Healthy Communities program began in 2014 by providing a series of lessons and activ­ities designed to develop the leadership skills of youth and adults through the use of hands-on learning experiences,” Martin said.

The experiences target two age groups, with the younger group focus­ing on gardening and nutrition edu­cation and the older group using the garden to develop their communication, technology and leadership skills.

Youth and adult partnerships are being developed through a series of advisory meetings and volunteer train­ings designed to develop ownership and increase participants’ knowledge, Martin said.

The program includes year-round programming on topics such as team-building, general nutrition and garden knowledge.

To create a sustainable urban pro­gram, community involvement is a key factor, Martin said. Each quarter, volun­teer trainings and family workshops are held to get the community involved.

Johnny Morgan is a communications specialist with LSU AgCenter

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