Contribution: 4-H Youth Making a Difference

Posted: May 19, 2012 in Monday Morning Message, Youth Development

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”–Ethel Percy Andrus

On September 9, 2010 tragedy struck the community of San Bruno. With a thunderous roar heard for miles, a natural gas line explosion ripped through the Glenview community destroying homes and much greenery. Julien Levy, a 13 year old 4-Her turned this tragedy into an opportunity to serve his community. Julien took a spark in his life (planting trees) which he had been doing in his 4-H club since he was five and used it to help his community. In answer to the question, “why trees?”, Julien responds through his website “Well, I can’t really help you with repairing your homes and no one who is sane will ever let me within a 3-foot radius of a power tool or heavy equipment.  In trying to figure out what I could do to help, I thought, “A neighborhood is more than just houses, it’s trees too!!!”  I’ve been planting trees with 4H since I was 5 and really love seeing them change communities.”

Julien is not alone. All across the state, 4-H Clubs are finding ways to have a lasting impact in their communities. Many of these opportunities have come through 4-H’s Revolution of Responsibility. The Revolution of Responsibility is described as “… a movement for positive change in every community in America.  4-H youth are a living, breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles, and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right where they live. That takes uncommon commitment.” Through the Revolution of Responsibility and other service learning opportunities our 4-H youth, volunteers and staff are finding greater purpose in their lives through contribution.

In order to make a contribution, one must have a clear vision of where you want to go, what you want in life, and why. Youth who make a contribution have the opportunity to discover and cultivate things that they are passionate about (their SPARK) and are learning and developing solid goal management skills (GPS) all while gaining a greater sense of life purpose. These qualities are the very things that allow our youth to stay on a path of thriving.

Julien’s contribution has opened up so many doors and opportunities for self-discovery. Engaging your 4-H youth in identifying opportunities to contribute to their community will  sharpen their skills, and deepen their sense of purpose.

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