Terril D. Faul, Coolman, Denise, Jones, Jane B. | 12/7/2006 2:59:39 AM
News Release Distributed 12/22/2003
POLLOCK – Several underprivileged Louisiana youth will be able to attend the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Camp this summer as a result of a donation from two inmate organizations from the Dabadie Correctional Center in Pineville.
The organizations, known as the Brotherhood Club and the Human Relations Club, are made up of prisoners in the correctional center. The clubs raised money from various fund-raisers and said they wanted to give $600 to send underprivileged youth to the summer sessions at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center near Pollock.
"We are trying to reach out to our communities," said Lee Thomas, president of the Brotherhood Club. "We know how important it is to influence youth in a positive way. We wanted to give young people living in Louisiana something positive to look forward to – and this is what we came up with."
Anthony Broussard, president of the Human Relations Club, agreed.
"4-H is a positive way to reach out to young people," Broussard said. "We saw a film about 4-H Camp and how much fun the youth were having – and knew we wanted to help more young people have the opportunity to have this type of fun."
Terril Faul, head of 4-H Youth Development for the LSU AgCenter, said the money will greatly benefit Louisiana youth.
"Participating in programs such as 4-H helps teach the youth valuable lessons that will help them become productive citizens when they become adults," Faul said. "The 4-H program is reaching out to all youth in Louisiana through any means possible that will provide a positive impact on their lives."
Broussard said he would like to see inner city youth benefit from the donation.
"Youth living in inner cities, especially youth living in the projects, don’t see things like they would see at 4-H Camp," he said. "They need to see things like this and know that there is a whole world out there for them to explore."
Broussard and Lee are serving sentences for drug charges. They said they support the 4-H program and the positive influence it has on young people’s lives.
"People are influenced by what is around them," Broussard said. "Take me, for instance. I was influenced by the nice cars, clothes and money people who were selling drugs had. I thought selling drugs was the only way to have fun. But now that I have been incarcerated, I’ve had time to think about it and I know that selling drugs is not the life to lead. I want young people to follow other avenues and not make the same mistakes I did."
Lee said that although the men at the correctional center are locked up, they still want to be a part of the outside community and help when they can.
"We hold fund-raisers all the time," Lee said. "We have food drives, sell pictures and have car washes and other events on the grounds to raise money. We donate money to the Special Olympics, Hope House and battered women’s shelters. Even though we are not living in the outside world, we want to do our part and help people living in our communities."
Sandy McCain, deputy warden at the Dabadie Correctional Center, said the work the inmates and the LSU AgCenter are doing is making life better for every citizen living in Louisiana.
"With an idea and the foresight of T.W. Thompson, warden at Dabadie Correctional Center in Pineville, and the efforts of Jane Jones, the 4-H camp director, eight Louisiana youth will get a chance to go to camp," McCain said. "We are proud to be a part of this."
Jones said the generosity of the inmates is outstanding.
"They can give this money to whomever they want to," Jones said. "And they chose to give it to young people, so those young people can come to 4-H Camp. This is great, and it will be a big help for young people who may not otherwise get to come to camp."
In addition to the monetary donation, inmates at the Dabadie Correctional Center also have helped with a garden grown at 4-H Camp, and they have helped clean buildings and grounds at camp.
For information on how you can become a part of Louisiana 4-H, call your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office or go to www.lsuagcenter.com and click on the 4-H clover.