Tag Archive: Needs

Serving Special Needs Drives this Volunteer

“This group is inclusive, which gives both children with and without disabilities an opportunity to learn from each other.  Our hope is that our group will continue to grow and that through participating in our ASK group, individuals and families might gain the desire and/or confidence, to explore other 4-H groups that are geared toward specific interests.”

Ann Marie Shelton and Syntha Alvarez

On day four of National Volunteer Week, Jackson County 4-H Agent Angel Granger shares the story of Ann Marie Shelton, a volunteer who leads the Jackson County 4-H ASK Club – Always Support Kids.  In her own words, Ann Marie shares what inspired her to start this club and the impact it has had:

“The volunteer part is deep rooted, goes back to me as a very small child.  I enjoyed helping others, it made me feel good!  That stuck with me through the years.  There is so much going on in the world that is tough to hear.  I firmly believe that we have the power to change much of this.  Volunteering time, expertise, and a dash of passion will do much to make this world a better place.  When volunteering, you are given the opportunity to lead by example, by not waiting around for good or needed things to happen you are showing that everyone has the capacity within themselves to be a part of the change.  This may require you to step out of your comfort zone and start something new or join a group of volunteers already working on a cause of interest to you. One benefit of volunteering is you get to choose areas to volunteer that are of interest to you, whether it be something you are passionate about or something you want to learn about.

ASK Volunteer Anne Marie Shelton (pictured 3rd L-R) with her club members.

After having my four children, two of which are diagnosed on the autism spectrum and reconnecting with a friend from High School with two children on the autism spectrum, volunteering became even more important to me.  What we have found, living in our rural part of the state of Florida, is that there are few formal services or programs offered for children with exceptional needs.  I like to refer to these as diffabilities (I did not come up with this word, but it is perfect).  When our son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and was having such difficulties in certain settings outside the home, our instinct was to withdraw to the safety of our home, not pursuing social opportunities outside the home, that were new or unfamiliar.

Eventually we realized that was not in anyone’s best interest.  After diagnosis, we began connecting with families and organizations all over the panhandle of Florida that were on similar missions.  We also came to realize that we needed to expand on special interests and explore potential new interests, leisure opportunities, future job skills and the like.  We had been following the ASK-Madison 4-H Group on Facebook and had made connections with Leslie McLeod.  When the opportunity arose last year at Family Café, an annual disabilities related conference in Florida, to hear about their 4-H program, we jumped at the chance to find out more.  After getting to hear them talk about their program and finding out about the number of diverse opportunities 4-H offers, we decided to give it a go, in our community so we contacted our 4-H agent Angel Granger to find out how to get started. We wanted to provide a group that families could feel comfortable in participating in.  We wanted those families to know, that we understand the best way for our kids to learn about participating in group activities and activities within our community, was to experience it.  They often need a safe place to start, to let down their guards, to learn new skills and more importantly be given a multitude of opportunities to practice those new skills, in different situations, with different people, in different environments.”

The group is inclusive, which gives both children with and without disabilities an opportunity to learn from each other.  Our hope is that our group will continue to grow and that through participating in our ASK group, individuals and families might gain the desire and/or confidence, to explore other 4-H groups that are geared toward specific interests.”

If you are interested in starting a similar club in your county (or helping other volunteers support exceptional youth), contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

ASK Jackson County 4-H Facebook

Chipola Area Autism Resource Center, Inc. Facebook

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Author: amgranger – amgranger@ufl.edu

amgranger

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/04/27/serving-special-needs-drives-this-volunteer/

4-H Meets Community Needs through Service

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Clear evidence of mastering a skill is being able to employ it in one’s everyday life. Knowledge is only as good as how we are able to use it. 4-H dedicates itself to educating youth with research based curriculum not only for their own benefit but also so they can share that knowledge with others. When we “pledge our hands to larger service”, this can take on many forms. It may look like teaching youth in a community center about robotics or gardening, making meals for the military and first responders, or cleaning up trash in local parks. In all our service, it is important that regardless of what this looks like that we focus on meeting a need in our community. Identifying these needs is sometimes difficult if they are not part of what we see around us regularly. Talking to people who do not have the same life experiences we do is a good way to start seeing the world in a different way and thinking about ways you can help others who haven’t had the same opportunities. In Escambia County, around 30% of our youth population lives in poverty (US Census). Outcomes of living in poverty are hunger, poor housing, poor health, and lower educational scores, just to name a few. Our 4-Hers are learning to use the skills they have gained in 4-H in creative ways to help address some of these issues. One club has received a grant to raise a hog that a youth will show and have processed so the meat can be included in food boxes for local families. Another club raised funds to help support the Council on Aging to provide air conditioning units to the elderly, who are more likely to be impoverished, during the hot summer months.

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Escambia County 4-Hers assemble food boxes for local families at this year’s Farm to City event.

Whether poverty, pollution, safety, education, healthcare, or another issue is one that effects your community, the skills youth learn through 4-H can help address it. Not only does this help those around us live healthier and more productive lives, but it helps those who serve connect to their community and learn to give back. As with all 4-H projects, our goal is to help youth become more engaged and knowledgeable citizens that contribute to their world in positive ways. We encourage our youth to embody the spirit of generosity all year long, but during this season, be sure to explore the needs in your community you can help to change, even in the smallest way. If you need help thinking of how to best give back, contact your local 4-H Agent, local non-profits, or look up your county’s information in a database such as the US Census’ QuickFacts (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12000.html) and think about what kinds of problems might arise from the information you find there.

4-H also offers many Leadership and Citizenship projects that can help youth navigate assessing the needs of their community and putting their skills to use. You can find a few such project guides at the following links:

If you are interested in helping guide the next generation to be compassionate, active citizens for tomorrow, consider becoming a 4-H Volunteer.  4-H offers a wide variety of roles to fit your interests and schedule.  Visit http://florida4h.org or contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office.

US Census. 2015. American Community Survey 2009-2013 five-year estimates, Children Characteristics: Escambia County, FL. Accessed November 18, 2015.

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Author: Jenny Savely – jsavely@ufl.edu


http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/4h/

Jenny Savely

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/12/19/4-h-meets-community-needs-through-service/

Take survey to identify Gulf research needs

 

Gulf of Mexico Research Plan Interim Report

You can provide input to numerous groups around the Gulf of Mexico that are developing regional science and restoration plans or funding Gulf research through a single survey.

This survey is part of an update to the Gulf of Mexico Research Plan (GMRP). This project assists the Gulf of Mexico research community in identifying research and related priorities and learning if priorities shifted during the past six years.

Multiple groups already have used input collected through previous GMRP efforts to identify and fund research, and the 2013 survey results will be distributed widely as a service to the research community. The results of this survey will be shared with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), NOAA Restore Act Science Program, National Academy of Science’s Gulf of Mexico Program, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and other groups. The GMRP efforts are partially sponsored by NOAA and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant college programs.

Responses will be anonymous, and it will take less than 15 minutes to complete this critical survey. The survey will close on Dec. 13, so complete it today.

For more information contact Steve Sempier, Sea Grant Gulf of Mexico research planning coordinator.

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Author: Scott Jackson – lsj@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Leon County Extension
Regional Specialized Agent for Agriculture and Technology, Extension Agent III

http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu

Scott Jackson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/12/02/take-survey-to-identify-gulf-research-needs/

UF IFAS Needs You

The University of Florida IFAS Extension works towards agricultural, environmental, and economic sustainability in our rapidly growing state and communities. We accomplish this through research-based educational programs, publications, and opportunities provided to you locally. Please consider donating to the UF/IFAS County Extension office in your county. Your monetary gift is greatly appreciated and will be used to continue our efforts at providing information and education you want and need. To find out more about making donations and endowments to University of Florida IFAS Extension, please contact your County Extension office, or Joe Mandernach, IFAS Development Office at 352-392-5457 or jmandern@ufl.edu. Thank you!

Living Well in the Panhandle

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/02/02/uf-ifas-needs-you/

University of Florida IFAS Extension Needs You!

The University of Florida IFAS Extension works towards agricultural, environmental, and economic sustainability in our rapidly growing state and communities. We accomplish this through research-based educational programs, publications, and opportunities provided to you locally.

Please consider donating to the UF IFAS County Extension office in your county. Your monetary gift is greatly appreciated, and will be used to continue our efforts at providing information and education you want and need. To find out more about making donations and endowments to University of Florida IFAS Extension, please contact your County Extension office, or

Joe Mandernach, IFAS Development Office at 352-392-5457 or jmandern@ufl.edu . Thank you!

Panhandle Outdoors

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/02/02/university-of-florida-ifas-extension-needs-you/