Terril D. Faul, Remy, Carol B., Chaney, John A., Claesgens, Mark A., Coolman, Denise, Fox, Janet E.
Louisiana 4-H’ers are doing their part to help victims of Hurricane Katrina find at least some bits of relief and sparks of hope.
One example is in Union Parish – where 4-H’ers volunteered at the Farmerville Recreation Center that is housing families from South Louisiana who took refuge from the storm there.
Carol Remy, an LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Union Parish, said the 4-H’ers have helped with tasks such as organizing donated supplies, entertaining and visiting with youth and cooking "goodies" to bring to the evacuees.
"This has been a good learning experience for our 4-H’ers," Remy said. "It has reinforced the good character traits they have been learning as members of 4-H."
Helping young people develop such traits is just one aspect of the 4-H youth development program, which is operated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter. Although it employs a variety of methods, teaching the six pillars of character, as they are called, is integrated in many 4-H programs. Those pillars are caring, citizenship, fairness, responsibility, respect and trustworthiness.
Terril Faul, head of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H and Youth Development program, agrees 4-H’ers can benefit from the experience of working with those in need right now.
"Louisiana 4-H’ers are some of the best young people in the state," Faul said. "Activities such as helping with hurricane relief efforts teach them how to work with other people – people outside of their own parishes or areas of the state. It also teaches them life skills that will benefit them after they reach adulthood."
4-H’ers and other volunteers also helped out the past few weeks with relief efforts at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center in Pollock. Evacuees have been staying at the center since Aug. 28.
In addition, 4-H Club members from Beauregard, East Feliciana, East Carroll, Iberia, Madison and Natchitoches parishes have filled hundreds of nylon drawstring bags with useful items to give to evacuees. The bags contain such essentials as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, combs, brushes, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, deodorant, calling cards, small games or toys, stationery and pens and pencils.
At the River Center in Baton Rouge, state 4-H staff of both the LSU AgCenter and Southern University AgCenter, plus 4-H agents, associates, junior leaders and adult volunteers in East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge parishes have developed a children’s program they conduct each Saturday morning. Activities include crafts, games that build teamwork skills and special activities for youngsters.
The Louisiana 4-H Foundation also has set up a fund for hurricane relief and has an address where letters of caring and encouragement can be sent.
The fund’s purposes are to provide assistance for LSU AgCenter Extension agents who have lost their homes and/or belongings, to provide materials and assistance for "dislocated/relocated" 4-H members, to provide essentials for evacuees at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center, and, if necessary, to restore facilities, equipment and supplies for the 2006 4-H summer camping program at the Grant Walker.
Individuals or 4-H clubs that wish to make a donation are asked to send checks to the Louisiana 4-H Foundation, P.O. Box 25100, Baton Rouge, LA 70894-5100. Make checks payable to the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and indicate how you want the donation to be used in the memo field – relief for extension agents, 4-H members, evacuees, Grant Walker improvements or any combination of those.
Donations to the 4-H foundation are tax deductible, and receipts will be sent for each contribution. All funds will be distributed as directed, and no funds will be used for administrative purposes, officials say.
Persons interested in donating via credit card may do so by accessing the Louisiana 4-H Foundation Web site at www.La4Hfoundation.org or by calling the foundation at (225) 578- 2196.
"Please remember, it may be difficult to reach this number, because of line difficulties," said Janet Fox of the LSU AgCenter. "If you can’t reach someone immediately, please keep trying."
Letters of caring and encouragement can go to Operation 4-H Adoption in care of the Louisiana 4-H Office, P.O. Box 25100, Baton Rouge, La., 70894-5100. The state 4-H office will forward the letters to affected 4-H members, families, clubs and other youth displaced by the hurricane.
To find out more about the 4-H program in your parish, go to www.lsuagcenter.com, or visit your local LSU AgCenter office.
4-H is the youth development and outreach program of the nation’s land-grant universities and is operated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter. The program incorporates a variety of educational projects and activities as it strives to help youth develop life skills that will benefit them, their families and their communities.
Terril Faul at (225) 578-2196 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Fox at (225) 578-2196 or email@example.com
Carol Remy at (318) 368-9935 or firstname.lastname@example.org
John Chaney at (318) 473-6589 or email@example.com
Mark Claesgens at (225) 578-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A. Denise Coolman at (318) 547-0921 or email@example.com