Extension working to reach underserved youth with educational and civic programs
University of Nevada, Reno Extension and its 4-H Youth Development Program is joining the rest of the nation to celebrate National 4-H week through Oct. 10.
This year’s theme, “Opportunity4All,” is aimed at rallying support for the program and identifying solutions to eliminate the opportunity gap that affects 55 million youth across America.
Nevada 4-H has already been hard at work to bring its programs, which aim to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills in youth through experiential learning, to underserved youth in the state.
Last year, Extension opened up the A.D. Guy Knowledge Center in Las Vegas’ Westside. The newly refurbished center is now bringing a variety of educational programs, including many 4-H youth programs, to an ethnically diverse and often underserved area where many residents have limited resources, and getting to other parts of the city can be a challenge.
And, last month, Nevada 4-H announced the new 4-H Grows Here Project in Clark County, a project that will use AmeriCorps members being recruited from the community to engage youth, and create and sustain 4-H clubs in Las Vegas’ inner city aimed at youth ages 5-19, with an emphasis on low-income and middle school-aged youth, and youth of color. The program is made possible by a $280,000 AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, and is a partnership with Nevada Volunteers, a nonprofit organization that is the Governor’s commission which selects and administers AmeriCorps State programs in Nevada.
“We are very excited about our strides in expanding the reach of 4-H to create opportunities for more and more underserved youth,” said Ivory W. Lyles, University of Nevada, Reno Extension director. “Doing so will not only benefit these youth, but will also benefit our society as a whole, by helping to develop more true leaders prepared and engaged to take on critical challenges facing families, communities and businesses today.”
In fact, research by Tufts University shows that 4-H youth are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, and two times as likely to plan to go to college and pursue STEM opportunities outside of school. They also report better grades, higher levels of academic competence, and an elevated level of engagement at school.
Every year, National 4-H Week sees millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni come together to celebrate the accomplishments of 4-H youth, and the many positive youth development opportunities offered by 4-H. Amid COVID-19, Nevada 4-H is following all COVID-19 precautions at 4-H activities, as well as offering alternatives for youth and their families to celebrate 4-H Week at home.
National 4-H Week in Nevada
“This year for 4-H Week, we are asking everyone to pledge to help eliminate inequities for kids,” said Carrie Stark, Nevada 4-H director. “People can go online to join this national pledge. They can also go online to donate to the FOURWARD Fund to help ensure every child in Nevada has the support and educational resources they need during COVID-19.”
Stark says that Nevada 4-H youth, their families and volunteers are joining others in the nation to help celebrate National 4-H Week by:
Sharing on social media, “What does opportunity mean to you?” using the hashtags #Opportunity4All and #Nevada4H.
Wearing green or the 4-H Clover on Spirit Day on Wednesday to show their support of 4-H, and sharing photos by using the hashtags #Nevada4H, #National4HWeek and #Opportunity4All.
Participating in the annual 4-H STEM Challenge, formerly known as National Youth Science Day. The theme of this year’s event is Mars Base Camp. Developed by Google and Virginia Cooperative Extension, Mars Base Camp is a collection of activities that teaches kids ages 8-14 STEM skills, including mechanical engineering, physics, computer science and agriculture.
The 4-H STEM Challenge is being conducted in several locations throughout the state during October.
Another activity youth can do in their homes to celebrate 4-H week is participate in the 4-H Week Video Contest, recording and submitting a video explaining why they love 4-H, and submitting their information online using this form by Oct. 23.
Stark said that Nevada 4-H in each county is following Nevada 4-H COVID-19 guidelines, as well as their area’s COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. In addition to programs being offered and encouraged statewide and nationally, each county is planning their own ways to celebrate National 4-H Week. For more information on 4-H Week activities in each Nevada county, contact your local 4-H/Extension office.