Kyley DeFrancesco: Alger County 4-H

A personal testimonial of the impact of Michigan 4-H from Alger County 4-H'er Kyley DeFrancesco.

Kyley DeFrancesco is an 18 year-old 4-H'er from Alger County. She's been involved in 4-H for the past seven years, taking part in a variety of craft, community service, leadership, civic engagement and health and wellness programs. Currently a freshman at Taylor University in Indiana, the following is a personal essay Kyley wrote at the conclusion of her senior year of high school as she reflected on the impact of 4-H on her life.

"I am finally in my senior year of high school, yahoo! I have attended a small private school all four years of high school. Before that, I was home schooled for seven years. I have been in varsity basketball and varsity volleyball all four years of my high school career. Also two years of track, one year of soccer and six years of piano. I have served as an alter server with my sisters since I was in the second grade. I delivered prescriptions to shut-ins every week day as part of my job responsibilities at Puvin Drug Store, a job I have held since the eighth grade. Then there is 4-H.

When I think about what 4-H has done for me or how it affected my life, I find it difficult to put into words.

I am deaf. Even though I have cochlear implants, I still find it extremely difficult to hear, especially in certain situations. I know that people treat me different or that they don’t include or accept me in a lot of social situations. I’m going to be real, there are times when this has really gotten me down and I get all up in my head about it. I get frustrated because I don’t feel different, and just because I may need things repeated, no one should assume that I am stupid. Unfortunately, I am often treated that way.

4-H turned all that around for me, especially in times when I most needed it. The experience I have gained and the people I have met from all over, through 4-H Exploration Days, Citizenship Washington Focus, and National 4-H Congress have given me courage. Courage to not be afraid to be who I am. Each time, I have taken a risk, and it really has paid off. Making those connections has shown me that there are all types of people in this world with the capacity for compassion.

Through 4-H, I have learned a lot and really put myself out there. At National 4-H Congress, I spoke in front of hundreds of people as a delegate for Michigan. Normally, speaking in front of two people can be very intimidating for me. At 4-H Exploration Days, I learned how to make the best smoothie and found classes that were clear across campus. I also made great friends that I meet up with every year. 4-H community service has taught me that we really need to take care of each other. Even though sewing wasn’t my cup of tea, crafts have taught me patience, and that I can paint a better rock than Kadynce.

4-H has given me a sense of independence. I know I can go anywhere and do anything and be successful.

4-H has also given me a sense of independence. I know I can go anywhere and do anything without knowing a single person and I can be successful. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I am not afraid to rise above and meet that challenge. So, thank you Mrs. Isleb and Liz for asking me to participate, for being so kind, for providing me with these awesome opportunities and for simply believing in me. I have been truly blessed from your ability to work so hard and to care so much.

4-H hasn’t discriminated against me based on by gender, religion or deafness and I hope to always pay that forward, wherever I go or in whatever I do."


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