4-H Alum Helps All Youth Shine

By Burns Foster February 01, 2016

Michelle Perez has lived and breathed 4‑H since she was seven years old. As a member of Kansas 4‑H, she was involved in a variety of projects including beef, swine, and poultry, in addition to creating her own projects that were the first of their kind.

Now the mother of two boys, whom she proudly describes as “born and bred in 4‑H,” Michelle serves the 4‑H community as part of the local County Fair Board, where she helps determine what awards will be provided for all project areas at the county fair.

When she became part of the awards committee, she wanted to make sure grand champions were honored with something extra special. After years of involvement in 4‑H as a youth, an extension educator, a volunteer, and a 4‑H agent, Michelle knew how much time and dedication 4‑H’ers put into their projects and the fair, and she wanted to honor them accordingly.

To meet this need, Michelle, with the assistance of sponsors and the County Fair Board, began a tradition of awarding grand champions with a belt buckle that matched their species. She very quickly identified that there were several species not yet represented, and contacted the 4‑H Mall.

With Michelle’s help, the 4‑H Mall has introduced three brand-new belt buckles: rabbit, poultry and sheep. Through her expertise and dedication to the 4‑H community, the 4‑H Mall has become more inclusive and now offers more 4‑H’ers the special gifts that highlight their great achievements.

We are so thankful for Michelle and for people like her, who have a passion for 4‑H and speak up to make the community better for everyone. See the new belt buckles on 4‑HMall.org, and keep your eye out for the 4‑H Mall’s newest addition – the dairy goat belt buckle!