College Station – Public service is a cornerstone of Texas 4-H and that was never more evident than during National 4-H week, which culminated with One Day 4-H, said Dr. Chris Boleman, statewide director of the 4-H Youth Development program, College Station.
“One Day 4-H is a statewide community service initiative of Texas 4-H, which is administered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service,” said Boleman, a National 4-H Council board member.
Boleman said during National 4-H Week, which this year was Oct. 2-8, youth from 4-H clubs across the state showcased the variety of opportunities their organization affords young people and showed the work they do to make a positive impact on youth and communities.
“The highlight of these community service activities this year was Oct. 8, when we had our annual One Day 4-H statewide community service initiative,” he said. “This is a day we set aside each year for 4-H members, parents, leaders and volunteers to provide service to their communities as a way to say thank you to those communities for their support.”
This year, almost 10,000 youth and adults affiliated or working in collaboration with 4-H clubs from throughout the state contributed over 15,000 volunteer hours valued at more than $350,000 through more than 150 One Day 4-H projects statewide.
“We had more than 5,000 4-H youth involved, as well as more than 2,000 non-4-H youth, more than 1,600 4-H adult volunteers and more than 1,100 non-4-H adult volunteers,” said Dr. Toby Lepley, assistant state director for Texas 4-H Youth Development, College Station. “These were the totals reported by those who participated in the 158 One Day 4-H projects throughout the state. And these were just the numbers reported; there were more projects and hours that weren’t reported.”
Lepley said an estimated 106,722 people were reached or benefited from One Day 4-H projects.
“We were also able to market or build awareness of 4-H to more than 100,000 people through these One Day 4-H service activities,” he said.
He said 38,770 pounds of food were collected from several food drives held throughout the state. Additionally, 4,465 care packets worth $35,000 were assembled.
“In addition, more than 10 miles of roads or beach areas were cleaned as part of One Day 4-H service activities, and more than a ton of trash or recycling materials was collected,” Lepley said.
4-Hers also collected $12,918.44 in monetary donations for various nonprofit groups or causes and provided $6,986 worth of in-kind donations.
“More than 3,500 also received instruction through numerous educational programs provided during One Day 4-H,” Lepley said.
Lepley said a special effort for this year’s activities was in support of the Louisiana flood victims.
“Many of our 4-H clubs wanted to help the kids affected by the flooding so they collected school supplies and other necessary goods to be taken to the impacted areas,” he said.
Lepley said 1,787 youth and adult workers contributed 1,483 volunteer hours to put together care packages valued at more than $5,500 and collected $4,379 in donations for those affected.
“These One Day 4-H projects in service to communities in both our state and the neighboring state of Louisiana demonstrate the compassion, civic pride and character of our 4-H members and adult leaders and those who joined them in their efforts,” Lepley said. “We appreciate and applaud all they’ve done."