4-H youth across the country are using their skills, passions, and drive to make a remarkable impact in their communities. From the youngest 4-H’er to young alumni, they see great value in giving back and inspiring those around them to do the same.
Through a collaboration with NBC News Learn, 4-H is telling the story of five young women who are making a difference in their communities. These stories, sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Bechtel, and Bayer, highlight their work in critical areas from computer science to health equity and show how their experience in 4-H empowered them to share their voices and be leaders.
Meet Addy, Pearl, Aja, Dani Jo, and Mayyadah, and learn more about their story, featured in the new NBC News Learn series, 4-H Inspires Kids to Do.
Michigan 4-H’ers Addy and Pearl used their leadership skills gained through 4-H to give back to their hometown of Cass City, MI, when it became a food desert. Through Michigan State University Extension, they created Meating the Need for Our Village, a program designed to fight hunger through agriculture. Overall, the program has made a $60,000 impact on the community by providing 2,500 gallons of milk, 10,000 pounds of meat, and 270 dozen eggs to families in need.
Illinois 4-H’er Aja’s passion was ignited through her frustration with the under-represented minority STEM gap. She started See Me in STEM, with a mission to provide exposure, access, and STEM opportunities to underrepresented youth. She partnered with her 4-H mentor through the University of Illinois Extension to launch her program and has since impacted 122+ youth through 15 events.
Utah 4-H’er Dani Jo has a personal passion for educating youth and community members on opioid addiction and the impact it has on lives. She formed a youth coalition to spread the word about the dangers of opioids and resources people can turn to for help. Through community events and partnering with community leaders such as the Sheriff’s Department, the coalition is working to educate their peers and families on properly disposing of opioids and other medications and encouraging doctors and pharmacists to be mindful of the number of pills they are prescribing.
Washington 4-H’er Mayyadah connected with youth with vastly different backgrounds and life experiences from her own through her 4-H experience. When she noticed the inequities her LGBTQ+ friends experienced, she worked with fellow 4-H’ers and adult leaders to launch the Washington State 4-H Teen Equity & Inclusion Task Force. In the last year and a half, Mayyadah and her fellow teens have provided education to local and state 4-H leaders and have worked to ensure that at state events, youth nametags have a place to designate which pronouns they use.