I was eight years old when I first saw food insecurity in my community.

Through Bloomington/Normal's annual Diwali Food Drive, I witnessed the impacts of hunger firsthand, as I collected, organized, and delivered nonperishable food items to several local charitable organizations. That was the first time I realized that kids like me-families just like mine-struggled with something many of us take for granted: healthy, nutritious food. The issue of food insecurity particularly intrigued me because it seemed as if it was often ignored, despite the fundamental role health plays in the lives of everyday Americans. However, as I grew, 4-H provided me with an arena to address this challenge.

First through the McLean County Hunger Ambassadors, and later on through [former] Illinois Food Advocacy Team and Illinois Healthy Living Delegation, I was able to work with 4H-ers statewide to improve food security and healthy living in Illinois. Most significantly, our team rolled out $23,600 in mini-grant funding, supporting 30 youth-led food advocacy projects-varying from SPIN club community gardens to birthday backpack kits-over the span of two years.

However, never did I think that I would have the honor of representing 4-H at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this past September. As a speaker in conversation with the Second Gentleman and Ambassador Susan Rice, I had the opportunity to share my food advocacy and healthy living story and represent 4-H on a national stage. Furthermore, as an attendee of the conference, I was amazed by the profound impact speakers from across the country had had on their communities when it came to supporting healthy living. Whether it was hearing about Boston Public Schools' innovative "My Way Cafes", or being galvanized by guest speaker José Andrés' call-to-action, my main takeaway was clear: there is no limit to the power of a passionate individual rallying behind a project.

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Of course, with the amazing resources that 4-H can provide its members, I am certain that our youth can play an essential role in leading the charge to improve healthy living across our country. And so, to those youth impassioned by the idea of eliminating food insecurity, I have a few suggestions:

1) Start out small:

Tackling a convoluted issue like food insecurity can seem impossible at first, but instead, if you can find one community to leave an impact on, you'll be amazed at the impact you can have.

2) Find a team to support you:

The great thing about this point is that you've already got one: 4-H! An organization like 4-H, can provide you with the mentors, resources, and passionate peers you need to sustain a project idea you might have. Chances are, your extension or state is already doing something to address healthy living, and you can use that as a connection point to get started on your own project.

3) Don't be afraid to fail:

This one might seem a little odd, but I mean it wholeheartedly. Don't let your fears-your age or inexperience or whatever else-put you in a box. Dream big about your impact and follow through with the work ethic to back it up! You might not always achieve your goals, but you will definitely learn from the experience.

As announced at the Conference, it is our nation's imperative to end hunger in our country by 2030. I hope you will join 4-H in achieving that mission. After all, the 4th H is indeed health.

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National 4-H Council inspires young people with the ideas they need to become leaders and positive disruptors in their communities. Through national events such as the National 4-H Youth Summits, 4-H ignites within each young person the desire and avenues to do more.

Each year youth participants, in partnership with adult mentors, are provided the opportunity to develop, present and implement a 4-H Lead to Change Project.

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The 4-H Lead to Change (L2C) process challenges young people to step up and take action on a specific issue facing their community. Through this process youth become catalysts for positive change as they practice and apply real world skills needed for career success and to better their communities. Delegations who attend the Summit are eligible to compete for awards through the multi-tier L2C process.

Finalists are selected from written action plans to present their project to industry leaders. Winners receive $2000 to implement their project throughout the remainder of the year. Thanks to the generous support of our partners, a select number of L2C project teams later receive a $5000 Scale for Success award based on their ability to scale their impact and scope of their work. Of the original L2C projects, two or three are awarded $5,000 to further their impact. Scale for Success recognizes and allows the 4-Hers involved to further grow as community leaders cultivating the necessary skills and experiences, they need to create real change, and make the best better.

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"Through the 4-H Agriscience Summit and Nurture Natives, I have become largely aware of the remarkable difference youth can make. In the last year, I have become passionate about advocating for positive change in my community."

It is thanks to the sponsors of the 2022 National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience that we can go beyond a single event to deeply impact communities. We want to thank our partners Nationwide, Corteva, and Nutrien for their support and sponsorship of these Lead to Change projects.

Check out the inspiring Lead to Change youth projects

This year's Ignite by 4-H participants will be eligible to apply for L2C funding thanks to our 2023 Lead to Change Sponsors:

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I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

Here are a few 4-H at Home activities to show your community the true meaning of the four H's. Don't forget to tune in to our rockin' playlist below as you work on these activities.

Think outside the box with a digital vision board. Embrace your creative freedom, close your eyes, and think about your future. What do you imagine? Visualizing and planning goals are two keyways to make your dreams a reality. 

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It's not always easy to describe how you're feeling. But, expressing your emotions is crucial to taking care of yourself. Create a chart to uncover and share how you're feeling with others.  

It can be hard to know what to believe, who to trust, and what you should do - especially when it comes to making healthy choices about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In this series of interactive activities, you'll learn some critical-thinking and decision-making skills to help you stay true to yourself, and make the best decisions for yourself and your future.

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Have you ever wondered how satellites in space help us communicate across vast distances? Take a peek inside the ways satellites deliver internet access to millions of people around the world in this interactive activity.

As we reflect on 2022 - join us as we celebrate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with a recap of a few of our This is 4-H moments from this year.

Some of our most memorable moments: the heartwarming, courageous, inspiring, and more.

You belong here. We are here to cheer you on, lift you up, and be the fuel to your spark. Follow along as we continue This is 4-H in 2023 with even more impactful stories.  

In case you missed these This is 4-H moments

Native American Heritage Month

During Native American Heritage month, and all year long, 4-H celebrates the resilience of Native American youth, their unique heritage and the intricately woven fabric of their culture. Connecting families ...
Read More

International Day of the Girl

Encouraging girls to lead, amplifying their voices and celebrating girl changemakers everywhere-this is International Day of the Girl. 4 -H Girls Get Stuff Done Our 2023 Youth in Action Award ...
Read More

UNIDOS – Grow Together

We're proud of the cultural diversity throughout 4-H and are made better because of it. Join us as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and embrace the diversity of multiple origins, ...
Read More

Making the Impossible Possible

I walked through a dirt road riddled with potholes. To my left, I saw a deserted primary school with a collapsed foundation. To my right, I gazed upon a medical ...
Read More

During Native American Heritage month, and all year long, 4-H celebrates the resilience of Native American youth, their unique heritage and the intricately woven fabric of their culture. Connecting families to impactful opportunities through tradition and history, 4-H supports the effort to restore, revive and strengthen the fibers of indigenous cultures across the country. #Thisis4H 

Celebrate the Rich Traditions

A proud member and confident representative of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Tashina Red Hawk, the 2022 Youth in Action Agriculture winner sponsored by Bayer, embodies the grace and knowledge of those who have raised, guided and helped her become the nurturing and centered person she is. Respecting all of Creation and believing that we are created equally, Tashina believes animals are sacred and have an innate ability to help and heal a person during a time of need. Able to live and learn on the land of her ancestors, Tashina applies the ethics, determination and morals she's gained from 4-H to her volunteer work at her community's animal clinic, where she's found her passion for vet science. 4-H has not only given her tools for her future, but a voice to share her sacred heritage and the resolve to give back to her deserving community. Read more. 

Navajo Nation

Window Rock, AZ, the capital of the Navajo Nation- a region filled with unparalleled beauty and people who have long called that area home. Follow along as we travel to the Navajo Nation Fair and learn more about how the Navajo Nation 4-H Program plays a role in the daily lives of the Navajo people.

Dylan is a 4-H'er who loves the sense of community the program provides, and the lessons it has taught her about independence and responsibility.

Rochelle is a 4-H Leader and Mom who sees 4-H as a tool to teach kids the life skills they need going into adulthood, as well as an opportunity to invest in their own future from the profits they make by auctioning off their projects.

Roxanne Lee is a 4-H leader and Mom. As a 4-H alum herself, she views the program as an extension of her own community, and central to teaching kids the resiliency and independence needed to move into adulthood.

Every Child Will have access to computer science.

Computer Science (CS) solves many of our world's challenges, but not all young people in America get the chance to pursue this path. 

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4-H is changing this with support from Google. 

Journey Through the Computer Science Pathway 

This 4-H Program gives students equitable access to life-changing skills like coding, problem solving, and leadership. To continue making their dreams come true, we're calling on business leaders, educators, and nonprofits for help. 

CS Impact 

Witness the impact of a computer science education and hear real stories from the participants themselves. 

CS Curriculum 

Learn what this program is all about and why you should be part of it. Plus, discover the best practices to implement the curriculum yourself. 

With support from Google, we've educated 1.4 million students.

From all walks of life

are racially diverse
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of teen leaders are girl
%
live rurally
%

Who are already changing the world

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report liking CS

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are interested in jobs that involve CS

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feel more confident figuring things out that they don't understand

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know how to develop a plan for solving problems

Help youth find their computer science spark

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You've seen how far they've come

Now, think how much further they could go with your help. As an educator, business leader or nonprofit, we need your help to make sure every student with a computer science dream has the opportunity to see it through.

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Get Involved

Encouraging girls to lead, amplifying their voices and celebrating girl changemakers everywhere-this is International Day of the Girl.

4 -H Girls Get Stuff Done

Our 2023 Youth in Action Award pillar winners are crushing boundaries, pushing limits, and redefining girl power with determination, curiosity, intelligence, and grit.

Girls like Sruthi Sudarsan (Civic Engagement), who struggled with social anxiety but found her voice through 4-H. She now runs Bay Area's Project CARE (providing essential support and supplies for homeless and low-income individuals) to address preventable medical conditions through basic hygiene, first aid, and medical education. Norah Carter (Healthy Living) focuses on mental health issues and leads workshops on anxiety reduction, trigger identification, and stress management to empower previously incarcerated youth, urban kids, and suburban tweens. LGBTQ youth Nicole Cash (STEM) used her robotics and leadership skills to build an affordable mobility device for a family whose son has mobility issues. She is now helping other 4-H robotics teams do the same. Get to know these amazing 2023 Youth in Action Award winners.

Their success stories dedication, conviction, and focus are inspiring - impacting others in countless ways. Learn more about 4-H'ers creating change and making an impact in their community.

Reach for the Stars

Shoot for the stars. Aim for the moon! Tashina, the 2022 Youth in Action Agriculture winner sponsored by Bayer, has gone above and beyond to impact her community positively.. As a South Dakota 4-H'er and member of the Lakota tribe, she works with local providers to offer free veterinary services to low-income families living on her reservation.

Find Your Space

What is a genuinely inclusive culture? Our 2022 Youth in Action Civic Engagement winner, Bri, strives to bridge the gap toward racial reconciliation in her majority-white community. Bri joined New York State 4-H to amplify her efforts and expand her positive reach.

 

Dreams to Reality

This 4-H'er knows what it takes to make dreams a reality. 4-H Youth in Action Healthy Living pillar winner, Kristin, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 5. Navigating the challenges of the disease, Kristin works to create inclusive spaces for those with medically necessary diets. 4-H was the first place she didn't feel like an outsider because of her dietary needs.

Just about everyone loves delicious baked goods, but some people are allergic to the standard gluten-based flour used in most recipes. These simple alternatives from Kristin Osika, the 2021 4-H Youth-in-Action Winner, leave out the gluten but pack the scrumptious taste. Plus, they're easy and fun for kids-or anyone else-to make.

Girl Power Rocks!

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Four young leaders from across the country are honored with a $5,000 scholarship for outstanding achievements and community impact in Agriculture, Civic Engagement, Healthy Living and STEM

CHEVY CHASE, MD (October 06, 2022) - National 4-H Council today announced the winners of the 2023 Youth In Action Awards, a national program that recognizes four young leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who have positively impacted their communities in a 4-H core pillar area: Civic Engagement, Healthy Living,  Agriculture, sponsored by Bayer, and STEM, sponsored by HughesNet.

The winners will receive a $5,000 higher education scholarship and spend 2023 inspiring other youth by telling their 4-H story and celebrating their leadership. In addition, they will have opportunities to showcase their nationally, network with prominent 4‑H alumni, and serve as the official 4‑H youth spokesperson for their pillar.

The announcement was made during National 4-H Week, held October 2-8 to celebrate and showcase the opportunities and impact that 4‑H offers young people across the country.

The winners of the 2023 4-H Youth in Action Awards include:

    • Sruthi Sudarsan, 17, San Ramon, CA - Civic Engagement: After facing obstacles around social anxiety, Sudarsan gained the skills and courage to speak up through 4-H. Using that confidence, she organized a mask-making program during the pandemic to serve the unhoused population in the Bay Area community, ultimately delivering 13,000 masks to shelters and clinics. She also launched her own organization that addresses health needs for underprivileged communities and started a mentorship program to empower kids with skills to identify community needs and develop creative solutions to make change.

 

    • Matias Habib, 17, Sandwich, IL - Agriculture, Sponsored by Bayer: When a Japanese Beetle infestation threatened his family's orchard, Habib researched and developed his own bio-pesticide, TerraBuster. With the help of 4-H, he funded his business, filed for a patent, and is expanding to other products. 4-H helped Habib overcome childhood challenges - struggling with social anxiety and alienation after moving to the US. Through his 4-H science program he found community, confidence, and empowerment to make a change.

 

    • Norah Carter, 18, Gibsonia, PA - Healthy Living: Throughout the pandemic, Carter helped other youth develop coping skills and mental health resilience utilizing the skills she learned through her own life with a disability. She adapted 4-H curricula to be taught online and conducted a workshop series on healthy living for three unique groups: previously-incarcerated youth, suburban tweens and urban teens.

 

    • Nicole Cash, 20, Farmington, MN - STEM, Sponsored by HughesNet: As a LGBTQ youth, Cash experienced rejection within her community until finding acceptance within her local 4-H club. 4-H gave her the leadership skills to lead her robotics team and create an affordable mobility device for disabled children out of a Power Wheels car. She founded her own nonprofit chapter and updates an online manual so other robotics clubs can make these devices as well.

 

"We are proud to honor our 2023 Youth in Action winners, a group of exceptional young people who have overcome obstacles and made an incredible impact on their communities through Cooperative Extension's 4-H programs," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO, National 4-H Council. "By empowering these stand-out youth and fostering their skills to make change, they in turn can inspire thousands of other young people to make a difference. When given the tools they need to lead, 4-H'ers like Matias, Sruthi, Norah, and Nicole are becoming the next generation of changemakers in their communities and for our country. "

The 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by Bayer and HughesNet, began in 2010 to recognize 4-H'ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community.

To learn more about Youth in Action, please visit HERE.

ABOUT 4-H

4-H, the nation's largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation's Cooperative Extension System and USDA and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.  Learn more about 4‑H and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

ABOUT BAYER

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of healthcare and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth, and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com/.

ABOUT HUGHES NETWORK SYSTEMS

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) is the global leader in broadband satellite technology and services for home and office. Its flagship high-speed satellite Internet service is HughesNet®, the world's largest satellite network with over 1.3 million residential and business customers across the Americas. For large enterprises and governments, the company's HughesON™ managed network services provide complete connectivity solutions employing an optimized mix of satellite and terrestrial technologies. The JUPITER™ System is the world's most widely deployed High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) platform, operating on more than 20 satellites by leading service providers, delivering a wide range of broadband enterprise, mobility and cellular backhaul applications. To date, Hughes has shipped more than 7 million terminals of all types to customers in over 100 countries, representing approximately 50 percent market share, and its technology is powering broadband services to aircraft around the world.

Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes operates sales and support offices worldwide, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), a premier global provider of satellite operations. For additional information about Hughes, please visit www.hughes.com and follow @HughesConnects on Twitter.

We're proud of the cultural diversity throughout 4-H and are made better because of it. Join us as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and embrace the diversity of multiple origins, cultures, and traditions. UNIDOS, we grow together! #Thisis4H

Juntos 4-H: Bringing Communities Together

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated on September 15-October 15. During this time (and beyond), we highlight the programs and partners that significantly impact Latino youth, families, and communities. One program, in particular, is Juntos 4-H.

Cassey Carrillo Flores

A 4-H member since moving from Puerto Rico at age 10, Cassey loves working with people and discovering common interests. Equally proud of her 4-H community and Puerto Rican heritage, her enthusiasm is contagious and drives her love of volunteering and helping people.

Clothing That Speaks Volumes

Make a statement. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with our new Shop 4-H collection shirts and hoodies. Get your style now.

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Walmart & 4-H at Home Cooking Demo

Join chef Aarón Sánchez, award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist for a cooking demo.

Matias Habib 

With wind-swept vistas, grassy hills and wide-open spaces, Matias holds a lifetime of memories of visiting his Abuela on their family farm in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Having travelled there since he was a baby, Matias cherishes his heritage and enjoys exploring the vast countryside via horseback.   

Growing up abroad and with language difficulties, life wasn't easy for Matias. Feeling like an outsider, he struggled to fit in. Not until he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder did he understand the source of his anxieties. After joining 4-H and winning a science fair ribbon, a spark ignited in him. Opening his eyes to a new world, 4-H provided a place where Matias not only felt welcome but was able to pursue his passion for science.    

As an Illinois 4-H'er and an Agriculture Pillar winner, sponsored by Bayer, Matias has developed and cherishes friendships in 4-H with people from different heritages. He feels they connect through common ideas and projects-helping each other learn and succeed. Grateful for his inclusive experience, Matias believes 4-H is truly his shared community.  

4-H empowers youth with the skills they need to become leaders and positive disruptors in their communities. Through events such as the National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience, we ignite within every 4-H'er the desire and drive to do more. This year, 19 delegations made up of youth participants that attended the Summit, in partnership with adult mentors, were provided the opportunity to develop, present and implement a 4-H Lead to Change (LTC) Project.

These LTC projects challenge young people to step up and take action on issues that will influence others, ultimately contributing to healthier communities. States and delegations participating in the Summit were given the opportunity to apply for a grant, with 12 LTC project teams being selected to receive $2,000 each for their projects.

Dedicated support will be provided to the LTC projects throughout the next phase - Scale for Success. Of the 12 original projects, two will be selected in November 2022 to receive a second round of funding of $5,000 to scale and further their impact and reach. This Scale for Success phase will allow the 4-H'ers involved to grow as community leaders, as they cultivate the necessary skills and experiences to create real change where they are.

The deep impact of the 2022 National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience would not be possible without our partners: Nationwide, Corteva, Nutrien, Saputo, ADM and Bayer. Their support and sponsorship of the Lead to Change projects continue to inspire communities across the country.

Meet the 2022 4-H Agriscience Lead to Change project winners!