Terril D. Faul, Price, Randy R., Coolman, Denise
Loyd is a 13-year-old 7th grader who is involved in 4-H in Claiborne Parish.
Her mother, Jill Loyd, said being involved in 4-H is one of the best things that has happened to her. And 4-H leaders say Jannah is just one example of how being involved in the 4-H program can help improve a young person’s life.
"4-H allows her to be involved in things she probably wouldn’t otherwise be involved in," Jill Loyd said. "She’s able to interact with other children her age and do things she enjoys. What 4-H has done for Jannah and for us is close to a miracle."
Involvement in activities that teach useful skills and learning through involvement in projects with other young peoples are just some of the many benefits Louisiana youth get from being in 4-H, said Terril Faul, head of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development Department.
"Being involved in 4-H gives young people a great opportunity to develop confidence, communications abilities and group skills," Faul said. "4-H members are involved in activities that teach them how to work and contribute to the success of a group as well as make new friends that will last for a lifetime.
"4-H also offers educational programs that contribute to their learning process by participating in activities that are totally ‘learn by doing,’" Faul explained further. "In addition, 4-H members learn to work with youth and adults and, of course, they have a lot of fun, which is part of the learning process."
Jannah Loyd definitely is involved in 4-H activities. In one upcoming event, she is planning to cook a baked oyster dish for the 4-H Commodity Cookery Contest in Shreveport on March 31. Area commodity cookery and Ambassador Talks contests are being held across the state, and winners in the talks contests will meet May 11 in Baton Rouge for the state competition.
She says she definitely enjoys cooking, and she and her mother, Jill, participate in the English ritual of having High Tea in the afternoons, while her father, Robert Loyd, is at work at the LSU AgCenter’s Hill Farm Research Station in Homer. Jannah helps prepare some of the dishes, such as Mystery Muffins, Scones, Lemon Curd and Vanilla Cream Cheese, Egg Salad Sandwiches, Zippy Shrimp Sandwiches, Banana-Honey Sandwiches, Coconut Crème Tarts, Truffles Au Chocolate and Lemon Cake with Strawberry Sauce.
In addition to cooking, Jannah also enjoys making latch hook rugs, sewing and working with her horse, Lucy.
Jannah, who currently is being home-schooled but formerly participated in public schools, has been involved with 4-H since she was in the 4th grade.
One of the group activities Jannah has had the opportunity to participate in by being in 4-H was to have a group of 4-H’ers over to her house where she and Lucy demonstrated barrel racing for them. She completed a 4-H project book for horses and isn’t afraid to brush, ride or feed Lucy.
"It’s a lot of work," Jannah said recently as she held out a piece of carrot for Lucy to eat. "But she’s a good horse."
The only help Jannah requires when working with Lucy is that she has to have someone help her put the bridal on and then to mount the horse, because her arms and legs are too short, Jill Loyd said.
In addition to learning about cooking and horses in 4-H, Jannah also has learned about sewing. She puts entries in the State Fair of Louisiana in Shreveport every year. She’s also made a patchwork quilt that covers her bed.
"She uses a cutting board to make the squares," Jill Loyd said. "She can do just about anything she sets her mind to."
Jannah also sewed the satin pillow cases that won third place at State Fair and are now on her bed. She made a cloth heart that matches her bedspread and hangs on her wall. She’s also made a picture frame out of two of Lucy’s old horseshoes. Her mother said Jannah is very independent.
"I assist as little as I have to, although there are some things she has to have help with," Jill Loyd said of her daughter.
Attending 4-H summer camp at the LSU AgCenter’s Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center in Pollock is one of Jannah Loyd’s favorite parts of being a 4-H Club member.
"I like the dances," she said.
Teresa Price, an LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Claiborne Parish, said Jannah is well-respected by her peers and is never without a partner at the camp dances. Price also said success stories such as the one Jannah Loyd and her family have had with 4-H are just some of the benefits the organization offers to youth and volunteers.
"I believe that giving young people –all young people – opportunities that they may not otherwise have and teaching them skills to help them make their lives easier is the most important thing we do as 4-H agents," Price said. "It’s not so much about teaching them to win as it is about teaching them to be winners. Jannah Loyd is a winner."
Jill Loyd said she and her husband want their daughter to learn how to be as independent as she can be.
"The main thing for me to do is to get her so that she can do for herself," Jill Loyd said. "God gave Jannah a lot of abilities. I believe she can do anything she wants to, and what she is learning in 4-H is helping her learn how to do more things for herself."
Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder, which usually causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It is the result of an infant's cells containing 47 rather than 46 chromosomes.
Nevertheless, people with Down syndrome hold jobs, go to school and make positive contributions to their communities.
"Basically Jannah is a typical teen-ager – just with an extra chromosome," Jill Loyd said.