Leia and Caroline Carrico

Leia (8) and Caroline (5) knew something about wilderness survival, having been trained through 4‑H, and may have put those skills to use after getting lost during a walk in the woods in pursuit of a deer trail.

The brave sisters survived on granola bars, water droplets from the leaves and the skills they learned in an Outdoor Adventures Project through the Miranda 4‑H Club in Humboldt County, California. The project is widely participated in, with an annual project participation count of  2,952 in the state. Lei was in her second year of the project, while younger sister Caroline was in her first year.

Not only does 4‑H teach skills in agriculture, STEM and healthy living, but life skills are at the core of what 4‑H provides to its nearly 6 million members nationwide. Resilience, problem-solving, confidence and compassion were the skills Leia and Caroline needed and possessed to keep each other safe, hopeful and alive.

Arianna Smith

Upon discovering she had cancer at just 11 years old, Arianna Smith spent a grueling five years dividing her time between her home in LaGrange, Indiana, and the hospital where she received treatment. With few social outlets, Arianna’s lifeline was her computer, which is where she first discovered coding and developed an interest in computer science. “I taught myself how to code, and when I was allowed to go back to school in my sophomore year, I joined 4‑H’s Spark Club which allowed me to pursue my passion for coding.”

Fighting cancer as a child fueled Arianna’s passion for app development, which she intends to create to help people who are struggling with similar experiences.

Alongside her twin sister, Kiara, who wants to be a doctor to help patients like her sister, Arianna is giving back to her community through 4‑H. “It feels wonderful to be bringing computer science into my town. 4‑H has a great impact on the youth in my community and I love being a part of that! I know I’ll be able to use the skills I’ve learned and the confidence I’ve developed through 4‑H to make a difference and really help people.”

Nosa Akol

When Nosa Akol arrived in Binghampton, New York from the South Sudan, it was quickly made clear to her that she was an outsider. “I became the target of bullies from the very first day of 6th grade. Older children would throw rocks at me and call me names. I became afraid of people and lost confidence in myself. I avoided interactions as much as I could – even with my own family, and I felt insecure, angry and alone.” Fortunately, all that changed when she found 4‑H.

“4‑H has had such a positive, life-changing impact on me, both in the way I view myself and the way I view potential obstacles. My mentors and fellow 4‑H’ers have helped me to believe in myself, and I love being able to pay that forward to help others.”