I was in college on September 11, 2001. In those long days afterward, friends would discuss how they never wanted to bring kids into this new, scary world.
Similarly, people often talk about how bad things are today, or how kids have no respect.
But I beg to differ.
We celebrated Sept. 11, 2015 with 4-H’ers making patriotic thank you gifts for the law enforcement officers who work in our county government buildings.
They also created cards for soldiers around the world.
And those are just two tiny projects among so many going on in 4-H right now. Want to be part of youths making a positive change in the world? Read on and find a project you can plug into.
To donate to any of the projects, you can find us on the second floor of the Newton County Administration Building from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
We’re wrapping up the 2015 pop tab collection for the Ronald McDonald House, and we need all the aluminum pop tabs you can bring in by Nov. 1.
Last year we collected 1,188 pounds of tabs and took home first place honors from the state 4-H event where middle school students collect the tabs. In all, Georgia 4-H’ers recycled 14,000 pounds of pop tabs in 2014 to support a Ronald McDonald House.
These houses are located by children’s hospitals so that families may stay in a more comfortable setting with other families while their children undergo hospital stays or treatment.
We collect the tabs year round, and deliver them to Rock Eagle each November.
We’re fortunate that Newton Medical has an excellent Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, so my daughter was able to stay right here in the community even though she needed extra care at birth.
But we know that our local NICU unit can also use help, so this year in honor of Audrey’s birthday 4-H’ers are collecting crocheted or knitted granny squares. Any size or color will work.
The soft yarn squares absorb scent easily, so they can be slept on and swapped by mother and baby as they get adjusted to each other while the baby has to remain in the hospital.
Even a year later, I can still remember that sweet baby scent that helped me to successfully pump and stock up bottles in the NICU for my baby. So many memories came rushing right back to me when a 4-H’er at East Newton Elementary handed me 19 bright, soft squares on Audrey’s birthday.
Such a small little square can make a huge impact for mother and baby.
Throughout the year we also collect food for the local shelter and food pantry, but we suggest specific foods each month for variety. We’re wrapping up peanut butter & jelly month and jumping into baking — we’re looking for things like flour, sugar, oil, and even boxed mixes, especially if they require few extra ingredients.
(Unfortunately, we don’t have a way to collect eggs and milk!)
We’re also in the middle of our big children’s book collection.
New and gently used children’s books are collected by 4-H’ers each fall to redistribute around our community.
Simply having books in the house—even if no one ever reads them to a child—can help a child be ready to learn to read on time once they enter school. Books collected this year may be passed out through the Christmas parade, the Newton County School System, little free libraries, the Newton County library, or other local programs.
Another really cool service project incorporating science and technology is one 4-H’ers project to use his 3D printer to make prosthetic hands, and 4-H’ers will help put them together for a nationwide prosthetic hand program.
It’s definitely going somewhere I never imagined 4-H service projects could go, and it’s very exciting!
So, before you let the bad news get you down, drop by to see the true promise of tomorrow, and today.
If you have a student in grades 4-12 bring them to the council meeting room at Oxford City Hall at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 for County 4-H Council to join the fun!
Terri Fullerton is a Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.