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Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: NIFA’s CYFAR

Nifa Authors
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Grant Program allocates funding provided by congressional appropriation to Land-grant university Cooperative Extension.

To ensure that critical needs of at-risk youth and families are met, CYFAR supports comprehensive, intensive, community-based programs developed with active citizen participation throughout all phases. CYFAR promotes building resiliency and protective factors in youth, families, and communities.
Here is one example of how CYFAR is helping impact the Hispanic and Latino community through youth development.
Juntos 4-H
For 119 years, 4-H has been dedicated to helping young people and their families gain the skills needed to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy.
A CYFA-funded program, Juntos 4-H was launched to help Latino youth (grades 8 – 12) and their families gain the knowledge and skills they need to bridge the gap between high school and higher education. 
Juntos 4‑H, which translates to “together,” provides students and families with encouraging family engagement through attending high school and middle school workshops, family nights, and events.
Juntos 4‑H Clubs focus on academics, tutoring, life-skill activities, and community service while providing mentoring. Programs are available to English- and Spanish-speaking students and their families in numerous communities across the U.S.
According to 4-H, Juntos 4‑H participants reported a greater sense of belonging and confidence in their futures:
  • 87% of participants feel like they now belong in school
  • 93% of students feel that Juntos helped them belong at school
  • 91% of youth improved their grades in school
  • 92% of students feel confident that they will graduate from high school
Iowa State University Extension implemented a CYFAR funded Juntos program in two counties to help youth in the area achieve academic success and explore paths to higher education.
Through this program, the counties offer trained community facilitators who conduct educational sessions that involve youth and their parents/caregivers to help them gain knowledge, skills, and resources needed to help youth academically succeed. Students also work one-on-one with an academic success coach who provides information about study skills, tutoring options, and additional support to help the students succeed in school.
This bi-weekly, after-school club focuses on helping youth strengthen their self-confidence and develop life skills such as communication, leadership, and team building, and it’s an opportunity for youth to experience university campus life, learn about career opportunities, and connect with other Latino students from around the state.
See how Iowa State University Extension Juntos program helped make a difference in one family’s life here.
For more information on Juntos at the national level visit here.
This article is part of a series celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. Read all the articles in this series:


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