4-H Youth: Giving Back to Their Peers
Study shows 4-H’ers more likely to contribute to their communities
CHEVY CHASE, Md., April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Recent findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development from the Institute of Applied Research at Tufts University indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H.
Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that young people receive through their participation in 4-H plays a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities.
In fact, 4-H’ers all across the nation are empowered to take on the leading issues of their towns, counties and states and make a lasting difference with their peers.
- With nearly 20,000 under-privileged families living at or below the poverty line in the Sacramento, California area, many families cannot afford basic necessities, let alone bicycles for their children. 4-H’er Julia Lewis decided to bridge the economic gap by working with her 4-H group to solicit donations of bikes and bike accessories to distribute to families. Julia, the 4-H’ers and 4-H volunteers work together to repair and update the bikes to make them safe and functional, including adding safety reflectors, new handlebars and seats. By teaching the bike recipients how to maintain their bikes and use them properly and safely, the 4-H’ers provide tools for independence and safe, active lifestyles.
- In Perkins, Oklahoma, the public school system was in desperate need of first-aid kits and supplies after more than three years of budget cuts. Garrett Dollins, a Payne County 4-H’er and junior at the high school, recognized that four schools in the system needed basic first-aid supplies in a hurry, as one school ran out of band-aids. Garrett raised funds for the schools by selling scrap metal to a recycling facility. Garrett has raised almost $1,000 and the schools are now stocked with first-aid supplies.
- Brooke Crawford, a 4-H’er and high school senior from Saline County, Illinois was aware that many area families live below the poverty line in southern Illinois. Because of this, many girls were unable to attend prom and other school dances or to enjoy standard experiences of high school. Brooke started collecting used dresses and shoes to donate to girls who otherwise couldn’t afford them. She then set up a “store” in her high school gym – complete with a handmade dressing room she created with skills learned in 4-H woodworking – for the girls to shop for a dress at no cost. She now has her own dress store – all items are free and she and other 4-H volunteers run the store solely on donations from others. In less than one year, Brooke has provided dresses to more than 100 girls.
Stories like these are taking place all across the nation due to the activism and ingenuity of 4-H youth. 4-H prepares young people to step up to the challenges in their community and the world. Using research-based programming that infuses high-quality positive youth development principles, 4-H youth get the hands-on, real-world experience they need to become leaders and to make positive differences in their communities.
The research from the Tufts University study also indicated that youth in 4-H thrive through the health and science education and career preparation experiences they receive through 4-H programming. Compared to non-4-H youth, 4-H’ers are more likely to spend more hours exercising or being physically active. 4-H youth also have higher educational achievement and higher motivation for future education – reporting better grades, higher levels of academic competence, and an elevated level of engagement at school.
About the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development:
The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development is a longitudinal study which began in 2001, through the support of National 4-H Council. Youth development scholar, Dr. Richard Lerner, works with researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University to conduct the study. Youth are measured in “waves” across time which compared those that participate in 4-H to those that do not. The study is currently in wave seven. The 6,885 adolescents surveyed are racially and geographically diverse representing 45 states across the nation.
4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA.
4-H programs are implemented by the 111 land-grant colleges and universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their local Extension offices. 4-H programs are further supported by 540,000 dedicated adult volunteers around the nation who help to put 4-H youth on a path towards successful careers. Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org.