4-H will be launching their second annual True Leaders in Service initiative as part of the organization’s recognition of National Volunteer Appreciation Month. The initiative is a month-long community service program, which will have 4-H members from across the United States engaging in various types of community and state service projects. The program will officially begin on the first day of April, culminating with the National 4-H Day of Service on Saturday, April 28.
In 2017 the True Leaders in Service program saw 6,649 youth and adults who volunteered on behalf of 394 registered service projects. There were 168 projects that were environmental in nature and 88 of the projects supported families and individuals in their communities. The program has 58 projects related to providing food and other donations to those in need, along with 45 projects focused on youth educating the community on multiple different topics. The projects were registered in 41 different states and approximately 65,000 people were impacted by the various community service projects.
Research conducted as part of the 4‑H Study of Positive Youth Development showed that the hands-on approach of 4‑H programs offers members the opportunity to learn by doing and develop important life skills. The first of its kind research study began in 2002 and was conducted annually for eight years. The survey looked at 7,000 adolescents from diverse backgrounds across 42 states and found that 4-H members make significant positive contributions to their communities.
The goal of the program is to encourage 4-H members in every county to make a big impact on the country. While members are involved with serving their communities throughout the year, April will serve as a time to highlight all of those contributions tackling community challenges and helping to meet the needs of others. The celebration of community service and service-learning is being led by 4-H members, but the opportunity to participate is open to non-4-H members, parents, club leaders and other volunteers in the community.