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Left image of volunteer packing meals. Right image of hands holding soil with a tree. Both images courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Promoting Philanthropy through 4-H

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

November 15 is National Philanthropy Day, which celebrates individuals and organizations that give back to the community. 4-H is committed to delivering high-quality, positive youth development.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Division of Youth and 4-H leads volunteerism specialists from state 4-H programs in creating and promoting connections and resources while providing leadership in defining what volunteerism means and how change needs to continue to happen.

The following projects are just a few examples of how NIFA-funded programs are helping positively impact communities.

Volunteers play a vital role in the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center’s 4-H Youth Development program. They develop and deliver educational programs, serve as program leaders and maintain advisory positions on 4-H councils and foundation boards. Traditionally, the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Development program has consisted of face-to-face orientations and trainings at the local, regional and state levels. During the 2018-2019 year, Louisiana 4-H had 5,879 adults, and 1,851 youth enrolled as volunteers. Over 372 volunteers attended regional trainings held in the five regions. Through NIFA funding, a series of online training courses were created in 2021 to meet the needs of volunteers who cannot consistently attend face-to-face trainings. These virtual delivery methods are important as a recent volunteer engagement survey demonstrated that most volunteers work during the day (83%), and many have requested more opportunities to receive training in a virtual format. Read more here.

Eleven University of Connecticut (UConn) students volunteered 24 hours to UConn Extension’s Connecticut Environmental Action Day (CEAD). CEAD is a one-day conference that seeks to educate and inspire students to live sustainably. The objectives of CEAD are to increase awareness and community engagement among middle-school aged children with Extension’s sustainability and 4-H programs. Each 4-H participant at CEAD engaged in the development of an action plan, which they brought back to their school to implement. In 2020, multiple 4-H members reported that they applied their action plan in their home and community. The program also reached 500 UConn students through the Climate Change Challenge. Learn more about CEAD here.

Hear from 4-H volunteers

Dr. Maurice Smith, NIFA’s national program leader within the Division of Youth and 4-H, volunteered as a 4-H camp counselor during his undergraduate career. Read more about his journey to 4-H through volunteerism here.

North Carolina A&T State University Extension Specialist Dr. Shannon Wiley was once a 4-H’er. Now she helps guide volunteers within the 4-H community. Read more about her work here.  

Check out more NIFA-funded projects that are helping individuals positively impacting their communities and those around them through 4-H here.

Top image: Left image of volunteer packing meals. Right image of hands holding soil with a tree. Both images courtesy of Adobe Stock. 

U.S. States and Territories
North Carolina

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