The 4-H Youth Development program has a pledge that youth and adult volunteers recite together at club meetings and events. When spoken collectively, a sense of belonging in the 4-H program is reinforced, and there is also a strengthening of commitment to the four Hs: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.
At the recent Martin Luther King Jr. 4-H Day of Service event, young people from across Mercer County had the opportunity to share their Heart and concern for others as they used their Hands to complete community service projects. Participants brought food and socks to donate to local organizations. They wrapped 1,000 utensil sets for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (T.A.S.K.) and made placemats and bird feeders for the Mercer County Meals On Wheels program. They also completed other smaller projects.
The donated projects no doubt provided support and perhaps some joy to the recipients, but the youth who served that day gained long-lasting personal growth. Participants practiced an attitude of service and felt pride in doing their tasks well. They worked with new people and experienced the joy in committing and belonging to something bigger than themselves. As they continue to mature, this experience will help them continue to grow to be competent and contributing members of the community.