4-H’ers Pledge Their Hands to Larger Service

Janet Fox

Albert Einstein once said, “Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living.” Louisiana 4-H’ers are assuring themselves a life well lived with their pledge of their “hands to larger service.” 4-H members across Louisiana help out and come to the aid of individ­uals and communities in need. They assess critical needs in their communities and parishes and design service projects that address these needs. They partner with local communities to create syner­gy to expand resources available to serve others.

4-H service projects take many forms, including assisting an elderly neighbor, cleaning up flooded houses, beautify­ing a community, growing vegetables for low-income citizens, mentoring children and collecting items for the needy. These service projects provide youth with valu­able learning opportunities to increase knowledge about their community as well as develop critical life skills. Youth con­nect the learning outcomes and skills to real world experiences that prepare them for their transition as caring, connected competent citizens.

During the program year July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016:

  • 23,074 4-H’ers in 36 parishes report­ed participating in community service activities and 4,623 4-H’ers engaged in service-learning projects. Louisiana 4-H embraced state service opportuni­ties by reaching almost 60,500 people.
  • More than 23,000 4-H members and 3,660 adults promoted the cause of service learning. Parishes, local 4-H Clubs and 4-H’ers logged more than 13,458 hours of service worth $317,094.

Each year, Louisiana 4-H’ers choose a statewide service focus. At 4-H University in June 2016, 4-H members from across Louisiana voted foster care and child development as the 2016-2017 State 4-H Service focus. The project’s goals are to support youth in foster care by pro­moting healthy intellectual, social and emotional development. Twenty-one parishes reported foster care service projects reaching almost 5,500 youth.

Approximately 4,600 youth and 1,250 adults donated 2,698 hours for a total worth of $63,565. Youth generated almost $8,200 in funds and more than $6,500 in donated items benefitting foster children.

Each December for the past four years, Louisiana 4-H’ers have partici­pated in a National 4-H event called the State 4-H Day of Service. In 2015, 18 par­ishes participated in the State 4-H Day of Service. Parishes reported conducting 32 Day of Service projects benefitting more than 21,570 people. More than 2,500 youth gave a total of 1,441 hours for a total value of $33,950.

More than 87,479 individuals were reached through service-learning and service projects conducted by 30,205 4-H’ers and 5,261 adult volunteers. The accumulated value of the general 4-H service projects, Day of Service efforts and Foster Care State Service Focus projects was $414,609 in total volunteer hours, $135,529 in donated funds and $37,370 in donated items.

Janet Fox is department head for 4-H Youth Development.
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Cameron Parish 4-H’er Jordyn Stickell, 13, helps move boxes of donations at Live Oak United Methodist Church’s food pantry in Watson, Louisiana, on Aug. 27, 2016. She and other 4-H’ers took part in cleanup efforts following historic flooding in the area and dropped off food to donate to the church’s supply. Photo by Olivia McClure

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Cameron Parish 4-H’ers remove damaged materials from the kitchen of a Livingston Parish home that was damaged in historic flooding in August 2016. The 4-H’ers visited the parish on Aug. 27 to donate food they had collected and to help this homeowner begin the cleanup and recovery process. Photo by Olivia McClure

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A 4-H’er wears a dust mask as he gathers damaged floor tiles on Aug. 27, 2016, at a home in Livingston Parish that was damaged when the area flooded earlier that month. Photo by Olivia McClure

2/2/2017 4:24:09 PM
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