How will you and other 4-H members pledge your hands to larger service this April?
4-H True Leaders in Service initiative seeks to engage all 4-H members and clubs in community service activities during April.
It’s well known 4-H participants are active and engaged members of their communities, and service to community is a core component of the “4-H experience” for the vast majority of 4-H members. Youth who participate in 4-H programs are substantially more likely to make positive contributions to their communities than other youth, according to the “4-H Study of Positive Youth Development,” a long-term research study led by Richard and Jacqueline Lerner of Tufts University. The researchers found, in fact, that 4-H members in grades 7-12 are four times more likely to make positive contributions to their communities than other youth.
4-H’s passion for community service will be on full display this April as 4-H launches True Leaders in Service, a new annual initiative that seeks to engage 4-H members and volunteers from every county in the United States in community service activities. Each 4-H club will choose how best to ignite their spirit of service as they offer help in hundreds of ways across the nation. The month-long community service activation will officially kick-off the first day of April, and will culminate with the National 4-H Day of Service on Saturday, April 29, 2017. During April, all 4-H clubs, members and volunteers are encouraged to plan and engage in at least one service activity in their community.
The National 4-H Council has launched the True Leaders in Service website for 4-H members and clubs to learn more about the initiative and to access resources to help plan and publicize their community service projects. The website includes a True Leaders in Service Planning Guide and is the place where all 4-H members and clubs who are planning service activities should go to register their event. The website also includes a map that shows what community service projects 4-H members will be conducting across the nation during the month of April.
Service projects for the True Leaders in Service initiative can be any project that makes a positive difference in the community or county. Service project ideas include neighborhood beautification, collecting food for a local food pantry, volunteering at a local animal shelter or running a toy drive for a local family shelter, to name a few.
Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H provide valuable resources for 4-H members and clubs that would like to conduct community service projects during the True Leaders in Service initiative. Planning Your Community Service Project Based on a Community Service-Learning Model is one Michigan 4-H resource that can serve as an excellent resource to help 4-H members and clubs plan their True Leaders in Service project. The guide includes information on a five-step process to conduct community service projects. The five steps outlined in the guide are:
- Pick a project by determining needs
- Plan a project and get publicity
- Do the service
- Reflect on the service
The guide also includes more than 250 community service activity ideas for youth ages 5-19. 4-H members and clubs looking for additional ideas for service projects can find additional examples from other youth serving organizations, such as generationOn or the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension.
To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, civic engagement, citizenship and global/cultural programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H positively impacted individuals and communities in 2015, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.