MLK Service Project Update

This year, Hamilton County 4-H worked with four public schools and one 4-H club to design projects to meet the diverse needs of our county population while also exemplifying the life and legacy of MLK

Students at Gamble Montessori High School and Pleasant Hill Academy have the unique privilege of being the only 4-H School based program and FFA program at an Urban School in Cincinnati, OH. Urban agriculture has its own unique challenges, including finding adequate space to engage the community. On the property of Gamble Montessori and Pleasant Hill Academy sits large swaths of land covered in invasive and non-native species. The students at both schools have been interested in removing the invasive species and reclaiming the land for native plants. In an attempt to build more garden beds for the school and community use Gamble Montessori High School removed invasive species to protect their local flora and fauna and increase growing space for the community. At Pleasant Hill the youth tended to their growing food forest by applying nutrients to the soil and working to maintain the trees through the winter.

Students at Hughes High School had a different idea, they elected to put together care packages for local homeless residents. Knowing that the winter is a particularly vulnerable time of year for those who are seeking shelter the students put together packages of necessities including soap, lotion and hand sanitizer. Through our partnership more than 50 kits were constructed.

At Withrow High School, the DECA program and the business classes worked with minority owned business owners to develop profiles to put on their websites and then they helped the owners update and make their websites more user friendly. This project met not only the academic needs of the course but the social and emotional needs of the students. Knowing that they have power and control over their lives is a cornerstone of future success. Through their work they hope to see an increase in the number of visitors to each web page.

Finally, our 4-H club volunteered through our Pet Pals program at a local nursing home and brought animals to the residents. Residents played with alpacas, chickens and rabbits and engaged with the youth. The event wasn’t just a show and tell it was a party sponsored by the club to bring a little light and joy to the lives of the seniors on a winter day. The seniors had a great time engaging with the youth and teaching them about a world before mass media and easy technology and the youth enjoyed sharing their hopes and dreams with an older generation.

In total 280 volunteers were engaged providing more than 400 hours of service. 1,500 people were served by the projects completed. Special Thanks to the Mott Foundation and Youth Service America for supporting this project.

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