Mary Ann Van Osdell, Price, Teresa | 6/4/2009 7:18:22 PM
HAYNESVILLE, La. – Jannah Loyd has found that things she learned in 4-H have helped her with the life skills she needs to face Down syndrome.
Her mother, Jill Loyd, says being involved in 4-H is one of the best things that has happened to her daughter.
“Everything you see goes back to training in 4-H,” Loyd said. “4-H prepared Jannah for a productive life. We’ve had a wonderful life, mostly because of 4-H.”
Jannah Loyd, who was home-schooled the last two years but formerly participated in public schools, has been in 4-H since the fourth grade.
The 19-year-old received a certificate for a private graduation as a special needs student at a party that also served as a prom May 17 at Haynesville United Methodist Church. She attended another prom in Shreveport and has plans for one in Baton Rouge with other special needs students.
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.
Teresa Price, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Claiborne Parish, says Jannah is very independent. “She used 4-H to develop life skills and independence,” Price said.
Jannah Loyd’s most recent accomplishment is winning a silver medal in western trails, a bronze medal in showmanship and halter and a trophy in western trails at the Louisiana Special Olympics equestrian event in Sulphur, La.
She isn’t afraid to ride, brush or feed her horse, Lady, although Jannah requires assistance mounting the horse because her arms and legs are too short, Jill Loyd said.
Jannah Loyd also enjoys cooking, and she and her mother often participate in having high tea in the afternoons with guests, who write them lovely thank you notes, Jill Loyd said.
She said the Loyds are considering opening a tea room so Jannah can have a job.
Jannah Loyd makes beaded jewelry and in the past has sold crafts at fairs.
In addition to cooking and typing recipes, the younger Loyd also enjoys sewing, karate and reading.
Jannah Loyd has entered sewing projects in the State Fair of Louisiana in Shreveport every year and has a book loaded with ribbons.
A new quilt is a summer project as is maintaining a vegetable garden. Her favorite graduation gifts were a word search book and colorful highlighters that also will occupy her summer.
“I like dances – and doing the twist with my dad at home,” she said
Attending 4-H summer camp, which included dancing, at the LSU AgCenter’s Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center in Pollock was one of Jannah’s favorite parts of being a 4-H member.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that 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.
Mary Ann Van Osdell