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Community Service Resources

4-H members are encouraged to develop and practice skills to become helpful or useful in their club, community, country and world. 4-H community service projects allow youth and adults to work together and to help others at the same time.

U of I Day of Service

Looking for an opportunity to fight hunger in your community? If so, register now to volunteer for the fifth annual Community and Campus Day of Service on Saturday, April 8 at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus. Illini Fighting Hunger is recruiting volunteers to sign up for a 90-minute shift between 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Their goal is to package 150,000 soy-rice casserole meals (1,000 for each year since the university was chartered) for the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, which serves 17 counties in east central Illinois. For more information about the event or to register yourself or a team of your friends go to: HTTP://DAYOFSERVICE.CUVOLUNTEER.ORG.

4-H National Day of Service

We know that 4-H members do Community Service better than anyone. Now, there’s a day set aside to celebrate that service as 4-H clubs across the nation come together for the first National 4-H Day of Service April 29. The goal of National 4-H Day of Service is to encourage 4-H members in every county to make a positive difference. National 4-H Day of Service is open to everyone in the community, 4-H members, families, volunteers and community partners. Service projects can be done by individuals or as an entire county 4-H program. No matter what the project, this will be a day to make a difference. 4-Hers can work on projects at any time during the month of April, however April 29 has been identified as the date to celebrate the culmination of service outreach. Register your project online @ http://4-h.org/get-involved/true-leaders-in-service .

If you are wondering how YOU can make a difference, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. probably said it best when he shared, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

Help is needed now in Texas & Oklahoma

Wondering how your club can help families affected by the wildfires? Oklahoma 4-H is asking donations come in the form of pre-paid gift cards. As families have lost homes, clothes, fencing, livestock feed, equipment, etc., it is impossible to determine one thing that is needed most by our families. By using pre-paid gift cards, we can distribute to families so they are able to fulfill their specific needs and begin returning to their normal life. It would be wonderful to have cards in $50 increments; however, we will gladly accept any generous support!

Donations may be mailed to:
Oklahoma 4-H: Wildfire Relief
205 4-H Youth Development Building
Stillwater OK 74078

As donations are not being submitted to a foundation, we will not be able to issue a tax exemption statement. Please include with you mailing the number of cards, as well as addresses or emails that we can send a thank you for their support.

Kevin Allen, Ph.D.
Assistant Director and State 4-H Program Leader
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
205 4-H Youth Development Bldg
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405.744.5394
E-mail: kevin.allen@okstate.edu

A Planning Guide for 4-H Club Leaders

Determine what is needed in your community/county.

  • Ask club members and families.
  • Ask other community groups.
  • Talk with community officials.
  • Find out what types of projects have and have not been done in the recent past.
  • Ask the Extension staff.

Determine what types of activities your members have interest in and abilities to do.

  • Consider the size of your club and ages of members.
  • Consider the skills possessed by club members and their families.
  • Determine how much time your club would like to devote to community service activities. (Would members rather do a long-term, ongoing community service project or a short-term one-time activity?)

List all of the activities that have been suggested.

Ask your club to rank the activities in order of importance and interest, based on what was considered in steps 1 and 2. Reach consensus or use a vote by majority rule to determine the activity your club will do. If this isn't practical (especially if your club is large), consider forming a committee to develop priorities. Then, the club can simply accept or vote on the committee's recommendations.

After your club has decided upon their community service project, develop a plan. Your members will learn organizational skills in developing such a plan. A plan doesn't have to be overly detailed and formal, but should include the following:

  • overall goals
  • tasks involved
  • time commitment
  • permission
  • budget
  • insurance
  • equipment and supplies
  • risk management analysis
  • volunteers and duties
  • publicity
  • evaluation

Carry out the project as planned!

Document your club's efforts with photos, videotape, or written notes.

As you work on this project, monitor the activities taking place and make adjustments as needed. Especially when the project has been completed, allow time for your club to discuss the successes and shortcomings of the project and ideas for improvement. This reinforces the learning experience.

Develop a summary report of your club's experience when the project has been completed. Share it with mass media representatives and the Extension staff. A scrapbook is a nice way to present the project's success. Include a written description, photos, and news clippings. Such activities might be assigned to the club reporter, secretary, vice-president, chair of the project or other club member.

Feel good about your club's contribution to the community and members' positive learning experience. Be sure to take time to process your club's experience. Do this by asking participants to share their thoughts and feelings as well as helping them to think about how they might relate this experience to other situations in the future. This is a part of the experiential learning process.

Remember that planning, conducting, and evaluating a community service project is a great opportunity for 4-H members to learn by doing. Therefore, do encourage members to get involved in all phases of the project, including planning. Don't do it all for them. Remember that 4-Hers learn from their mistakes as well as their successes. The role of the club leader and other adults working with the club is to guide members in the right direction and provide needed support and encouragement.

adapted from materials by Keith G. Diem, Somerset County, New Jersey.