4-H’ers “Pledge Their Hands to Larger Service”

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Did you know that kids are four times more likely to give back to their communities if they are involved in 4-H? This was found out through Tufts University’s research in 2012. That’s no surprise to us that have been in 4-H because we are all about giving back to our communities and even our world. It is an event in our 4-H Pledge that we “pledge our hands to larger service. In 4-H, we teach youth ages 5 through 18 how important it is to give back to others. Whether that be giving back in seemingly small ways or on a grander scale, we want our youth to know the importance of giving back to others. 

Child Writing A Letter

Now you might be thinking, “How exactly can kids give back to their community??”And the answer to that question is loaded with possibilities! Our 4-H’ers have completed some really neat projects over the years including writing letters. All this project costs you is time, a pencil, maybe some makers, and some inexpensive cards. Our youth have written thank you letters to our dedicated volunteers, they have written cards to those in our local nursing homes, and most recently they are writing cards to active duty military members for Christmas. How easy is it to just say thank you or draw a sweet picture? How amazing does it make you feel when you receive a card in the mail, too? 

Writing is not for everyone though, so another way that kids can give back is through their time. Time is absolutely free and they just have to be willing to give it! This can be in the form of picking up leaves for an elderly neighbor, helping out younger kids learn a new task, doing a roadside litter pick up, or even sorting food at a local food bank. These community service projects are both impactful and so meaningful to the ones receiving your time on this project. 

Maybe your child does not have a lot of time to give to others due to prior engagements like sports, part time jobs, competitions, etc.. Therefore, giving actual items may be a better way to go. However, we all know that youth normally are not rolling in the dough; so how can they give back in this way? This brings me back to another example of what 4-H’ers in Yadkin County have done. This year, our 4-H’ers designed a book drive they called “Books for a Cause.” For this book drive, participants were asked to bring in gently used or new books for grades Pre-K through Fifth grade. These books would then be donated to new teachers in our county that did not have enough books for their classroom libraries. This donation drive allowed our kids to give books that they already had and encouraged others to give as well. We ended up raising 350 books! So even if your child cannot give items that cost money, they have options. Many organizations also ask for donations of gently used coats or other articles of  clothing. Another neat way to give is through saving up tin drink tabs for Ronald McDonald House or plastic bottle caps to make a park bench. This way of giving is free and does great things for your community. 

Book Drive

Regardless of how your kids choose to give back, make sure they do not only do it to benefit others, but also for themselves. The joy that we receive from giving back to others and either getting to see the happiness on their faces or knowing that they made a difference in their lives, is priceless. Yadkin County 4-H wants to challenge you during the holiday seasons to give back this holiday season. It is the season for giving after all. 

If this article sparked an interest in 4-H for you and you would like to know more about us, please feel free to contact us at 336-849-7908 or contact our 4-H Agent, Madaline Jones, directly at madaline_jones@ncsu.edu. 4-H operates through N.C. Cooperative Extension, which is an equal opportunity provider, so we would like to invite all to join in on the fun we have within our program. 4-H Grows Here

As seen in the Yadkin Ripple