4-H UNITY Teen Leaders Spread Kindness

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Spreading Kindness

Spreading Kindness

Monroe County 4-H youth led a service activity at the NYS Fair


As part of the 4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth) project, youth members were able to attend the 2019 New York State (NYS) Fair to make Kindness Rocks with fairgoers and to explore other 4-H opportunities. The UNITY youth are part of the Ibero-American Action League’s Aspira program at Rochester City School District’s Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School (EMHCS).

In mid-August, the youth gathered for a retreat at the Monroe County Cornell Cooperative Extension Office. Together they played team-building games, reconnected with their peers, learned new outdoor cooking and food preparation skills, and decided on a project to share at the New York State Fair. They washed and spray-painted rocks in preparation for the activity they would host.

The next week the youth traveled to the NYS Fair in Syracuse where they staffed a table in the Monroe County booth located inside the Youth Building. Hundreds of fairgoers stopped to find out about their project. Many children and adults created inspiring Kindness Rocks. Some had a simple smiley face on them while others had a more intricate design. Quotes such as “Hope, Kindness Catches On,” and “Be the Light” were painted on other rocks. Some fairgoers took the rocks home with them to hide in a local park or garden, and some chose to leave their rocks for the teens to hide.

While at the fair, the youth were able to meet 4-H members from other counties across the state, including a member of the 4-H UNITY Cohort from Broome County. They also had experiences like holding a day-old chick, meeting different breeds of dogs, and making rope from natural materials.

The opportunity to plan and carry out this community service project will help to develop life skills for teens. They worked through planning and logistics, experienced being part of a team, and were responsible to make preparations at home.

The Monroe County 4-H Program is offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension to the youth of Monroe County. 4-H is a worldwide youth development program open to all youth aged 5 to 19, who want to have fun, learn new skills, and explore the world. In return, youth who participate in 4-H find a supportive environment and opportunities for hands-on or "experiential" learning about things that interest them.

Learn more at http://monroe.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development