4-H Cloverbuds can make service project chemo kits

Many 4-H Cloverbuds are affected by loved ones battling cancer and want to help; they just need that one adult to help guide them along the way to serve.


The American Cancer Society has great resources to help families navigate a child’s understanding of a family or friend who is going through cancer treatment. This is a very difficult time and the child, depending on the age, may process the information in very different ways. Michigan 4-H works with youth of all ages and understands that doing something often helps process difficult situations. The Cloverbud age, 5–7 years old, learns by doing, so let’s guide our Cloverbuds by doing something to help children and adults going through treatment. Michigan State University Extension’s service project chemo kits for kids are a great way to show young children how they can help.

When a child understands they are part of a helping community, they will feel comfort. Being a part of a community helps build life skills, such as concern for others, communication, teamwork, problem-solving and many more. Think of a community service project in the following sections: before, during and after.


  • Identify possible donors or resources.
  • Discuss empathy.
  • Create a list of items to help with side effects of treatment to provide comfort.
  • Decide where to take packages once completed.


  • Gather goods such as chap stick, mints, gum, soft socks, water bottles, books, moisturizers, peppermint tea, ginger sticks/chews, pillow case.
  • Package goods with care.
  • Include a personal touch, like a special project, personal note, photo, etc.
  • Take photos and record the event to share.


  • Reflect on the project.
  • Have a celebration—you provided comfort to those needing support.

Focus on service

The most successful service projects are ones lead by youth; even 4-H Cloverbuds can voice their ideas for projects. If the youth personally know of a friend who is going through cancer treatments, then they will be more invested in the project. This project will feel personal to them and empathy will be more easily identified.

If your youth does not have a personal connection with a person going through cancer treatment, then one of these video links below might help them better identify with the side effects and the seriousness of the disease and treatments. Watch the following videos to decide on which one will be appropriate for your group.

Once you have cultivated the empathy piece and youth are interested in the service project, start asking youth to make some decisions.

  • How will you collect the items needed for the kits?
  • Who will pay for them?
  • When will you meet to put kits together?
  • How will you distribute the finished kits?
  • Who will take the photos of the project?

Ask good questions throughout the project: 

  • Why are we doing this project?
  • If we did not do this project, who would?
  • How do you think the cancer patient will feel when we give them this kit?
  • What would you like to receive if you were a cancer patient?
  • Do you like to help others? Why?

Reflections and celebrations

  • With the process captured with photos, have youth put the photos in sequence. Ask them what photo was first, next, until they can talk about the whole project from start to finish. Have an adult write captions under the photos from what the youth remembers about the service project. This is a great way to capture the impact on the youth who participated.
  • Reflect on what changes should be made for next time.
  • Organize a party with youth, partners, donors and recipients, if possible.
  • Share with local newspapers, your MSU Extension county office, a county commissioner meeting and social media. Photo releases must be signed by those in photos.

For more information on service learning and community service projects, visit the Michigan 4-H Cloverbuds and Service page or contact D’Ann Rohrer at drohrer@msu.edu or 231-845-3361.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, citizenship and service and global and cultural education programs read our Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H have positively impacted individuals and communities, can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

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