Ignite even lead to change winners

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 youth summit, Ignite by 4-H , which ignites within each young person the desire to do more.

Each year youth participants, with adult mentors, are given the opportunity to develop, present and implement a 4-H Lead to Change project (LTC). LTC is an enriching continuation of Ignite by 4-H Summit that sparks their interest and drives the desire to do more within every 4-H'er. The process challenges young people to step up and act on a specific issue facing their community.

Youth become catalysts for positive change as they practice and apply real world skills needed for career success and to better their communities. The teams then participate in live evaluations with industry leaders to gain valuable experience and exposure.

Teams are awarded $2,000 to fund and help implement their project in their community. A select number of them can later apply to receive a second round of funding of $5000 based on their ability to scale their impact and work. Thanks to the generosity of our partners, this second round recognizes and allows the 4-Hers to further grow as leaders, cultivating the skills they need to make the best better.

"Before, I would never attempt to understand what is happening around me. Now I’m always seeking opportunities to learn more about what is environmental taking place in my area… Louisiana is my home and I want to see the entire state thrive. It starts with us the next generation of leaders. Every chance I get I try to bring awareness to my friends and peers that they should seek a better understanding of what is taking place around us,” the 2022 Louisiana Coastal Restoration team.

Ignite event group of people sitting and adding notes to paper

It is thanks to the sponsors of the 2023 Ignite by 4-H Summit that we can go beyond a single event to help youth deeply impact their communities.

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As I reflect on 2022, the biggest highlights for me involved spending time listening and learning from 4-H'ers again post-pandemic. Their insights help me understand how we can continue to meet the very real and changing needs of young people. I am inspired by Gen Z and their willingness to tackle some of our most pressing issues and their commitment to making a difference in their communities.  

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the past year and the amazing youth and adults I met along the way.  

Digital Divide


4-H'ers are doers who are making a difference in their communities, and many participate in the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. Stephen Hayes is a part of Florida A&M's 4-H program, (4-H Youth Development (famu.edu), where he joins thousands of 4-H'ers around the country who are working to bridge the digital divide in their communities by teaching digital skills to adults. You can watch Stephen and his mom, Sabrina, (an Extension agent!), interviewed on The Tamron Hall Show where they talked about their work and impact. 4-H Tech Changemakers was also featured in this New York Times article, which highlights 4-H's efforts to close the digital divide.  

Workforce Readiness


Connecting with young people and hearing what's on their hearts and minds is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I met with these 4-H'ers during the 4-H Youth Ag Summit where I learned about their aspirations - in high school, college, and beyond. Preparing the next generation with the skills needed to succeed is a significant focus of our mission. And we're grateful to partners like Google, Verizon, Microsoft, Nationwide, Bayer, Tractor Supply Company, Hughes Net and others for preparing the future workforce. Recently, Google.org extended its partnership with a $5 million computer science education grant to support thousands of young people with computer science education. Check out this article to learn more about the Google partnership. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


As part of 4-H's mission to create opportunity for all young people, we convened the True Leaders in Equity Institute as part of our Youth Summit Series. 4-H'ers learned leadership skills to tackle local equity issues they identified in their communities. This leadership opportunity will foster welcoming and inclusive environments for all young people in 4-H. Trustee Tiffany Atwell and I were inspired by our time with teen leaders from the Virginia 4-H Equity and Inclusion Task Force.  You can learn more about the 4-H True Leaders in Equity Institute here. And the Virginia 4-H task force here. 

Climate Change/Sustainability


In December, I traveled to Hawai'i to meet with Cooperative Extension leaders from the University of Hawaii , Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and American Samoa. These impressive 4-H programs prioritize youth voice as they serve many families who identify as Native Hawai'ian and Pacific Islanders. I was honored to meet 4-H'er Jenna (above, left) and learn about how the Kona 4-H Program has helped her build confidence, set college goals, and share her Native Hawai'ian culture through dance and art. Extension leaders, including Tayna Belyeu-Camacho, Northern Mariana Islands, (right), also shared about the effects of climate change and natural disasters on their campuses and programs, how important environmental stewardship is to their 4-H youth, and what they are doing to be part of the solution in their local communities. These sentiments mirrored the data in our Teen Environmental Survey that we released earlier this year. 

Mental Well-being


Here's a fun photo from a hike I took with 4-H Youth in Action Agriculture winner Tashina Red Hawk during the Agriculture Summit at the Summit in Colorado. One of the things we talked about was our own emotional well-being, as Tashina and I both shared our own challenges and how young people and adults in our lives are struggling after the pandemic. I'm grateful for Cooperative Extension's 4-H programs that support the emotional and physical well-being of young people by encouraging positive social interactions with peers and adults.   

Food & Agriculture


There are thousands of Gen Z youth who represent the future of agriculture and food security. Equipping teens with the resilience and skills to build and run our country's agricultural system has always been a core purpose of 4-H. I was so excited to visit the New York State Fair this summer, one of thousands of events where 4-H gives young people the opportunity to showcase their projects like livestock, nutrition, leadership, art and public speaking while developing a lasting sense of belonging and purpose.  

Civic Engagement

Providing youth with opportunities to build leadership and civic engagement skills in the real world is another 4-H priority. And there's nothing better than a live classroom during 4-H Day at the Georgia State Capitol. I hope you'll enjoy this video I took in February as the Georgia State Speaker of the House led a huge stairway full of 4-H'ers in the wave. This event was special to me because it was the first large gathering of 4-H youth I attended since 2020 and it was great to see them all together, learning about leadership from 4-H alums.

My time with 4-H youth this year made me more grateful than ever for the dedication and commitment of the 4-H staff, educators and volunteers who deliver Cooperative Extension's 4-H programs locally. Thank you - you are heroes of youth development. I am excited to see what the future holds as we continue to empower youth to make a positive impact on the world around them.  

If you'd like to see and learn more about 4-H, be sure to visit our website at 4-H.org and/or visit our social media channels @4H and @JSirangelo. I always love connecting with people who are interested in creating opportunity for all young people through 4-H. 

4‑H Alum Avery Williamson - A Day in the Life

New York Jets linebacker and Tennessee 4‑H Alumnus Avery Williamson is joined by Ohio 4‑H member Joyona for a Day in the Life experience. Avery gives Joyona a tour of his home and farm, while sharing his 4‑H experience and passion for agriculture. The experience is sponsored by Nationwide.

4‑H Alum Charlie Kimball - A Day in the Life

A group of Michigan 4‑H’ers spent a day with IndyCar driver and California 4‑H alum, Charlie Kimball at the Detroit Grand Prix for an exciting Day in the Life experience where they learned about the STEM behind racing.

4‑H Alum Jackie Joyner-Kersee - A Day in the Life

Illinois 4‑H’er Caleb joins Olympic legend and gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee for an exciting Day in the Life experience where they explore urban agriculture.

4‑H Alum Jose Hernandez - A Day in the Life
4‑H Alum Aubrey Plaza - A Day in the Life

4‑H Grown alumna Aubrey Plaza is promoting her new film, and she brought Delaware 4‑H’er Andrew along for the ride in the newest “Day in the Life” experience.

4‑H Alum Jennifer Nettles - A Day in the Life

Georgia 4‑H’er Callista hangs out with 4‑H Grown alumna and National 4‑H Spokesperson Jennifer Nettles in a new “Day in the Life” experience.

4‑H Alum Carla Hall - A Day in the Life

Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew and proud 4‑H Grown alumna from Tennessee, pays it forward to collegiate New York 4‑H’er Jasmine.

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Let's Catch Up

Visit our Alumni Resources page to check out what’s new and connect with the alumni community.

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. 


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
of teen leaders are girl
live rurally

Who are already changing the world



report liking CS


are interested in jobs that involve CS


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


know how to develop a plan for solving problems

Help youth find their computer science spark


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.


Get Involved

4-H to expand programs to connect millions of young people in rural and underserved communities to technology, resources and training

CHEVY CHASE, MD - Today, National 4-H Council announced a $5 million grant from Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, to expand computer science skills and education to underserved youth across the country. This grant will continue to build upon Google.org's  support of computer science in 4-H that has reached 1.4 million students since 2017. With this funding, 4-H will increase the reach of the Computer Science (CS) Career Pathways program for students from rural and under-resourced communities who have had minimal CS education. The new grant will help teach young people through Cooperative Extension's in-person 4-H programs and online resources. These resources will provide access to computer science education to youth nationwide, including six million 4-H'ers and more than 3,500 educators across the 4-H system anytime and anywhere.

This effort combines the reach and educational expertise of 4-H, the nation's largest youth development organization, and the power of Google's computer science knowledge and innovation. Since its start, 1.4 million youth have participated in the program, with 65% living rurally, 56% of teen CS leaders being girls, and 47% coming from racially diverse backgrounds.

"Despite the demand for high-skilled computer science professionals, opportunities to access this education have been out of reach for youth from rural and other underserved communities," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. "We are proud to continue this initiative with help from Google.org to make a real difference in the lives of young people who otherwise wouldn't be given a chance to discover their interest in computer science. This program goes beyond preparing youth for future careers. Teaching computer science at a young age develops problem-solving skills and confidence, and most important, empowers young people to find their spark and passion that translates to success in life."

The Code.org Advocacy Coalition's 2021 State of Computer Science Education report found that while 51% of public high schools in the United States offer computer science, rural schools, urban schools, and schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students are less likely to offer CS education. What's more, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students are less likely to attend schools offering CS courses than white students. Delivering free computer science education to underserved communities is part of 4-H's mission to provide equitable access to skills that help young people create opportunity and maximize their potential. The program also offers training and capacity-building for educators, volunteers, professionals, and even teen leaders to create their own curricula and reach more youth.

"We believe Google and other companies have a responsibility to help people get the skills they need to get a good job, start a new business, and provide a solid foundation for their families - no matter what their age or where they live," said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google & Alphabet. "Computer science education is an important piece of this, and we look forward to working with our partners like 4-H to unleash the talent and drive of millions of people in communities across the US."

This is the third grant Google.org has made in 4-H's mission to reach and provide young people with opportunities in computer science education, totaling nearly $14 million since 2017. Google's support will expand existing and bring new CS education programs to communities across Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Nebraska, and West Virginia. Read more about the initial grant that established the 4-H CS Pathway across 23 states.

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.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Google.org

Google.org, Google's philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity's biggest challenges combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster - and we believe in leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.

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!

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 clinic that is almost always empty and void of a doctor. I look at homes on the street, many of which are small amid a periodic power outage. I thought back to life in the United States. It astonished me that the difference in the quality of life between two parts of the world is so stark. Initially, a sense of helplessness took over me - how could a young person like me fix such wide-ranging issues? I thought of a quote by Steve Jobs: "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, and you can build your own things that other people can use."

While I was only in eighth grade when I visited NP Kunta, the rural Indian village that my dad grew up in, I had been "building my own things" for years. With my local 4-H robotics team, I had been challenged to think creatively and work resourcefully with my teammates to solve seemingly impossible problems, from debugging code to programming a vision processing system for our robot. Because I had solved big problems in the past, I was confident that I could, in fact, change the world issues I had witnessed. For this reason, in 2018 I founded Universal Help Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world in innovative ways. I lead the charity in tackling issues ranging from opportunity inequality to climate change, among other initiatives. One of our most significant accomplishments has been building a fully equipped 30-bed isolation center for COVID patients in Hyderabad.

In May of 2021, both my grandparents got sick with the COVID-19 Delta variant. Living on the other side of the world, there was little I could do. As their conditions worsened and my grandma needed hospitalization, the true scale of the national shortage for healthcare became evident. After hours of calling family, friends and extended relatives, we successfully secured a hospital bed for my grandma. Others in India weren't as fortunate, as hospitals denied people ICU beds, COVID-19 treatments and oxygen due to high demand and short supply. Not only that but with the high population density that Indian cities have, many patients were forced to quarantine near their families, risking the health of their loved ones. When I realized this issue, I got to work. I obtained support from the local government to partially fund an isolation center and organized onsite nurses, doctors and medical supplies for the center. Beds were always full with patients needing ventilators and extra medical care. I have no doubt Universal Help's efforts have had far-reaching impacts on the city and its residents.

Today, I look back at this project and think about how it all started - from my insistence to improve living conditions in my father's village to my disbelief at the lack of medical care in India during the Delta surge. If I had believed my doubts, this life-changing project would not have happened. However, with the confidence and problem-solving skills I gained through my 4-H robotics club, I was able to find the courage to change, influence and build things which transformed lives.

Making Tomorrow Possible with Computer Science

For many of the challenges our world faces - like access to healthcare and climate change - technology - and technologists - will be part of the solution. We believe that the creators of the most prevalent and influential technologies should reflect the diversity of those impacted by it. However, in the U.S. today 26% of computing professionals are women, 8% are Hispanic, and 9% are Black.

Access to education is at the root of this inequity. Girls, historically underrepresented groups and students from small and rural towns are less likely to have the opportunity to build interest and confidence in computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. To help make sure every student has the chance to build confidence and interest in computer science, Google and 4-H, an organization working to give all youth equal access to opportunity, worked together to create the Computer Science Pathway. This program teaches technical subjects - like data analytics and robotics - and equips students with essential life skills - like problem-solving and leadership.

In 2019, 4-H and Google.org set a goal to introduce one million students to computer science by 2022. Members of our own Code with Google team partnered closely with National 4-H Council and local 4-H chapter leaders to pilot, train and iterate for several months to help establish the foundations of the Computer Science Pathway program. Fast forward to 2021, and together we've already reached over 1.4 million students. Of those 1.4 million, 47% are from historically underrepresented groups in computer science, 65% live in rural areas and 56% of teen leaders for the program are girls.

These numbers represent real kids finding their voice, discovering a brighter future and realizing their dreams.

Aubree from Utah is using her newfound voice to encourage educators to offer computer science in their schools. "I am only the beginning of a long list of students," says Aubree. "My greatest hope is that I will never be the end."

Jeffery from South Carolina says the program inspired him to reach for a brighter future. "I want to become a Computer Engineer and create innovation that improves our daily lives."

Aja from Illinois was looking for a place to belong as a student with learning difficulties. Now, she has her very own organization, See Me in STEM, to empower minority youth to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. "4-H inspired me to be the change I wanted to see."

Throughout this journey, the 4-H team brought together nonprofits, businesses, community leaders and schools to create an inclusive and impactful computer science program for all ages across 50 states. For others looking to create computer science programs, here are a few things 4-H learned to help each and every student achieve their potential.

  1. Make computer science skills relevant by also teaching life skills, creating career pathways, and providing ongoing mentorship.
  2. Develop equitable, accessible, and inclusive content by weaving in teachings to relevant topics or existing student interests, partnering with community organizations, and investing in a technology lending infrastructure.
  3. Invest in your staff and volunteers. Provide regular training sessions, build a strong community culture, and hire full-time employees with experience in computer science and proven approaches to engage youth.

As a 4-H alum myself, I'm proud to celebrate this incredible milestone and achievement toward equitable education and opportunities. We believe that the Computer Science Pathway, and the 4-H team's thoughtful evaluation and 4-h.org/CS collected learnings, will help make the future brighter - not just for the students who participate, but for their communities and the world as a whole. As we face global challenges, we'll need the best and brightest out there solving them.

Afterschool programs provide the perfect setting for students to engage in STEM learning. According to the newly released America After 3PM special report, STEM learning in afterschool programs is on the rise, but inequities remain. Lights On Afterschool is a great opportunity for programs to showcase their STEM curriculum!

In its 22nd year, Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide celebration of afterschool programs, students, and staff. In a typical year, one million people come together for 8,000 Lights On events across the country. There are plenty of ways to incorporate STEM learning into Lights On Afterschool events. One of those ways is by celebrating two events in one, and making your Lights On Afterschool event a 4-H STEM Challenge event!

This year’s 4-H STEM Challenge, Galactic Quest, incorporates physics and engineering through telescope building, computer science with cybersecurity and coding, and even space agriculture—allowing students to build a mechanical arm to harvest crops in outer space. Galactic Quest also examines the history of space exploration and the hurdles present while in orbit.

This year, more than 200 participating programs are focus on STEM activities during their Lights On Afterschool events. Here are a few of the ideas we’ve seen so far:

Partnering with an organization that focuses on STEM learning: The Napoleon & Ada Moton Chapman Institute has a partnership with NASA’s Museum Alliance as part of their Lights On celebration: “STEM is Here To Stay: Come & Learn!”

Combining STEM with health and wellness: The STEM club and SMART moves club of the Kadena Teen Center will collaborate to create colored powder for the organization’s Lights On Afterschool color run.

Incorporating STEM with the Lights On theme: The Boys and Girls Club of The Northtowns in Buffalo, New York, is hosting a “Lights On Afterschool Town” event, featuring a glow party and DIY STEM projects about lights and circuits.

Utilizing resources such as those provided by Million Girls Moonshot: Throughout October, Million Girls Moonshot is celebrating girls and women in STEM for Lights On Afterschool. Visit their Million Girls Moonshot toolkit to find STEM resources, events, and activities to help students explore STEM opportunities and foster the engineering mindset.

Join the hundreds of other afterschool programs around the nation this year in celebrating Lights On Afterschool and STEM learning!

There’s still time to combat the summer slide with these kid-friendly tips and activities! They’re fun, safe, and sure to keep the kids sharp as the school year draws near.



Traveling Reimagined

Couldn’t make that annual summer vacation this year? Now is the perfect time to learn about a place you’ve never visited before—like, say, rainforests! Try this 
Paint a Rainforest activity, courtesy of Utah State University Extension, to learn about and create a tropical jungle scene.

Fun with Food

Turn mealtime into a learning moment that the entire family can enjoy. Kids (and adults) can learn how to grow and produce food ingredients with this 
CLOVER collection of activities (brought to you by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service).

Slushie and Chill

Grab your favorite fresh—or frozen—fruits, a little bit of water or milk, add ice, and blend for a delicious and refreshing frozen drink. You can start with this 
Watermelon Slushie recipe (shared by 4‑H alum Elisabeth) and remix it however you want!

Marshmallows Out

Camping, but make it science! Recharge those STEM skills with these 
Solar Oven S’mores, courtesy of HughesNet.

Just Relaaax

A quiet mind and still body can surely bring some calmness to these last few days of summer. Need a little help managing your stress? This 
Stress Less exercise from The Allstate Foundation and Ohio State University Extension can help you identify daily high-stress activities and make room for more mindful, low-stress moments.