By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
For the past 13 years, seventh- and eighth-grade Georgia 4-H’ers have collected the tabs from aluminum cans to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities. This year, 13,181 pounds of tabs were collected, and $5,425 was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia.
To date, junior-level Georgia 4-H’ers have donated a total of $93,462 for the charity by collecting and selling 157,317 pounds of tabs. The community service project is one of many that culminates each year at the Georgia 4-H Junior Conference. This year’s conference was held Nov. 14-15 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia.
The 4-H’ers also conducted community service projects focused on helping U.S. military troops and their families. Coupons were collected to send to overseas military personnel through the Coups for Troops program, $569.87 was donated to the Pets for Vets program and 6,299 items were donated to fill Christmas stockings for military troops who will spend the holiday away from home. Georgia 4-H’ers also collected 113 coats for needy children in Ben Hill County, Georgia.
“These service projects, which were designed by 4-H’ers, provided participants with the opportunity to exhibit generosity and benevolence,” said Lori Bledsoe, program development coordinator for Georgia 4-H’s Northwest District.
The students also attended workshops during the conference that were focused on building leadership, learning science and engineering, and preventing distracted driving. Junior 4-H’ers also heard from guest speakers, including 4-H alumni who are interning in Washington, D.C., and Col. Tom Torrance, a retired U.S. Army officer and former Georgia 4-H’er who shared how 4-H impacted his 30-year military career.
For more information about the Georgia 4-H program, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)