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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

4-H Youth Teaching Youth Program Wins National Award

4-H Youth Teaching Youth Program Wins the 2011 MetLife Foundation Award of Excellence
1st from left-Met Life Representative, 4th from left-Anne Moore, Anoka County 4-H Program Coordinator, 4th from the right-Carol Skelly, Anoka County 4-H Community Program Associate, 3rd from right-Carissa Akpore, Dakota County 4-H Program Coordinator, 2nd from the right-Mary Duncomb, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, far right-Don Floyd, President & CEO of National 4-H Council


The University of Minnesota Extension 4-H Youth Development programs in Dakota, Anoka, Scott and Washington counties won the 2011 MetLife Foundation Award of Excellence at the recent National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professional Conference in Omaha, Nebraska on October 28. This award for $2,000 was earned for the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth – Alcohol and Tobacco Decisions program conducted by 4-H teen teachers in schools throughout Dakota, Anoka, Scott, and Washington counties.

The 4-H Youth Teaching Youth Alcohol and Tobacco Decisions Program was one of four programs to be honored in this nationwide competition. Carissa Akpore, Dakota County 4-H Program Coordinator, and Mary Duncomb, University of Minnesota Extension Educator, received the award on behalf of the over 400 Dakota County 4-H Youth Teaching Youth teen teachers.

The innovative design and implementation of the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program has been used as a model by other counties across the country. The curriculum includes: Character Education for grades 2 and 3, Alcohol and Tobacco Decisions for grade 4, Internet Safety (Cyber Bullying) for grade 5 and It’s Your Choice for grade 6. Teens are recruited and receive intensive training from the 4-H staff before going into the classroom. Teens use a combination of discussion, videos, and games to teach elementary students how to make wise decisions. The Youth Teaching Youth program began over 25 years ago in Dakota County. Research shows that older students teaching younger youth is an effective way to communicate the message about the dangers and possible consequences of our decisions. Studies conducted by the University of Minnesota and the State Health Survey show that kids are experimenting at very young ages. This program provides positive role models and helps students to think about making wise choices and taking responsibility for their actions.

There are over 800 Youth Teaching Youth 4-H teen teachers reaching close to 8,500 younger youth with these three 1 hour series prevention programs throughout Dakota, Anoka, Scott and Washington counties. Thanks to the continuous support of county community partners this program has been an ongoing success.

4-H youth across the nation are leading efforts to solve problems in their communities and make a difference for their futures. 4-H is the largest youth development organization in Minnesota and the largest in the nation with six million young people. 4-H in Dakota County has over 1500 youth members. It is ranked the largest county 4-H program in Minnesota.

4-H, a part of University of Minnesota Extension, is a program where youth learn through opportunities that provide them hands-on experiences in 4-H’s mission mandates of science, engineering and technology; healthy living; and citizenship. The program promotes life skills using your head, heart, hands and health. 4-H has connected youth and their communities with the innovative research and resources from our nation’s 106 land-grant universities and colleges for more than 100 years.

To find out more information about 4-H and to locate a 4-H club in your area go to www.4-H.umn.edu/county-web-sites.html. - Mary Duncomb, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

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