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Ten My Hands to Larger Service Mini-Grants awarded in 2024

Ten 4-H teen leaders and their teams have pledged their hands to larger service in the coming months as they implement the service projects outlined in their winning mini-grant applications. The West Virginia 4-H All Stars have committed $2,000 to support the ten mini-grants to enhance communities in Berkeley, Harrison, Monongalia, Morgan, Ohio, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, and Randolph counties.

Cooper Knott and the Scrabble Scramblers 4-H Club in Berkeley County plan to update athletic equipment at the Camp Frame. This facility attracts the tri-county community for year-round social, educational, and recreational gatherings. The basketball hoop and backboard at the facility are broken and need to be replaced for the facility users to enjoy for years to come.

Harrison County 4-H members Hope Woods, Hannah Woods, and Spencer Nolan plan to repurpose old furniture to make a blessing box in their community. Community members can help fill this box with food, warm clothes, hygiene products, and other essentials that those in need can discretely acquire. By repurposing old furniture instead of building a new box, the 4-H members aim to reduce waste and encourage environmental preservation.

Daphne Tennant and the Wadestown Busy Bees 4-H Club of Monongalia County will create a Fairy Door with a 4-H theme for the nearby Mason Dixon Historical Park’s Bluebell Trail. Club members enjoyed a field trip to the Park this fall and thought that a 4-H-themed fairy door would greatly contribute to the Bluebell Trail, better known these days as the Fairy Door Trail. In addition to being a community service project, it would also bring awareness to the community about the 4-H club and the 4-H program.

A small group of Morgan County 4-H members who like to learn new things and do things with their hands will paint a pavilion at a local elementary school. This team, led by 4-H member Eli Cheshire, expressed the desire to take care of things in their community, like the pavilion, a gathering place for students during the school day for recess and physical education.

Chloe Whitlatch and the Ohio County 4-H Teen Leaders aim to bring comfort and inspiration to children in the foster care system. "From Threads to Hugs” involves sewing small pillows decorated with uplifting phrases and messages. Ohio County 4-H Teen Leaders will assist in the process of crafting these special pillows, infusing each one with love and positivity. The project’s objective is to make a positive difference in the lives of at-risk children in the foster care system by fostering a sense of hope and strength by combining sewing and compassion.

Preston County 4-H member Haley Sims is concerned for the people in the community who are financially insecure. Sims plans to build a mini-library for the community that will hold books or food through support from family and other 4-H teen leaders.

Putnam County 4-H member Jadyn Snodgrass was motivated to apply for a mini-grant after visiting several local county fairs that offered a Showmen’s closet for their livestock exhibitors. Snodgrass aims to set up a Showmen’s closet for the Putnam County Fair livestock participants with donated show clothes that any livestock participant would have access to use, no matter the need. “I know we need this in Putnam County, as many kids need a little help,” said Snodgrass.

Lexi Jones, a member of the Raleigh County 4-H program, identified a strong need in the local community for more physical fitness activities, especially those that include the whole body, gross, and fine motor skills. Jones’ goal is that instead of making unhealthy choices, children will Turn to Twirl. A high school feature twirler, Jones will provide twirling instruction for youth at community events, daycares, and the library. Youth will be active participants with the opportunity to make a baton and practice twirling during the program.

Randolph County 4-H member Aidan Lowther will be teaming up with the City of Elkins Parks and Recreation to make the city park more inclusive and accessible for all. Lowther recognized that most of the playground equipment in the city park is not handicap accessible. “I feel that everyone should have equipment they can play on and feel part of a group.”

Joel Plishka and the Leading Creek 4-H Club of Randolph County saw a need at their local firehall for a picnic table. Many organizations use the Leading Creek Fire Department’s facilities and grounds, and facilities serve the community as a gathering place for events like parties and rabies clinics. The grounds border the Allegheny Highlands Trail, a 31-mile rail trail from Elkins, WV, to Hendricks, WV. The picnic table will build capacity for community gatherings and facility usage.

The ten 4-H members and teams have several months to complete their service projects. Each team will have a poster presentation of their project on display at the State Fair of West Virginia, August 8 - 17, 2024, in the Cecil H. Underwood Youth Center. This is the third year for the West Virginia 4-H My Hands To Larger Service Mini-grants. To learn more about the previous mini-grant projects, visit the Community Service 4-H resources page.