Celebrating Serving Better Together
by: Kaitlyn Peine
County Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
Lawrence KS, Over the past two months, our 4-H community club program has shifted to meeting in person. As we have set aside our laptops and started meeting in person, our 4-H program has focused on giving back to the Douglas County community. In March the Douglas County 4-H Youth Development program kicked off a three-month-long service-learning campaign called, Serving Better Together. The goals of the campaign included getting 4-H’ers together in person while hosting community service projects.
The Serving Better Together service-learning campaign included a grant opportunity for county-wide 4-H programs and 4-H community clubs. The grant included pledges from the Douglas County 4-H Foundation and the Douglas County 4-H Council. Originally the total budget for the grant pool was $3,000. By the end of April, the demand for the grants had exceeded the $3,000 budget. Thanks to additional support from the local 4-H Council, the grant selection committee awarded $4,717.53 in Serving Better Together grants.
The selection committee reviewed 12 applications from 10 different clubs or county-wide groups. Several projects included providing supplies to local community partners. The Meadowlark 4-H Club organized two projects benefiting Bert Nash. The club planted flowers in pots at Pendleton’s for Bert Nash’s transition homes. A second project was funded to provide care kits for Bert Nash’s homeless outreach team.
Two of the largest projects came from the Eudora and Clinton Eagles 4-H clubs. The Clinton Eagles purchased landscaping materials and spent a day planting, mulching, and much more at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum. Eudora hosted three days of Feeding Eudora and served over 650 meals. The Eudora 4-H Club purchased care kits to be donated with a sleep mat project for the Lawrence Community Shelter. We also had service-learning projects hosted by the Citizenship Washington Focus group and the following 4-H clubs: Four Leaf Clover, Jayhawk, Kanwaka, and Palmyra. Highlights for each project are available to view on Facebook @douglascountykansas4h.
Serving Better Together gave the Douglas County 4-H program the resources to organize and host youth-led service learning projects. 4-H families and volunteers shared their time and talent to enhance the Douglas County Community. Douglas County is fortunate to have gracious adult volunteers who guided the youth through the planning and facilitation process. It’s safe to say community service really is better when people are together.