Sue Manglallan retires after 30 years of serving youth and families in San Diego County

Dec 26, 2018

To provide a safe, secure and nurturing environment for unsupervised school children, Sue Manglallan started the first 4-H Youth Development Program after-school childcare program children in San Diego County. The University of California Cooperative Extension 4-H youth and family development advisor will retire Dec. 31 after 30 years of university service in San Diego.

In the mid-1990s, Manglallan helped to develop the California School-Age Child Care Center for Action. She led the creation of childcare programs for school age children at parks and recreation centers and has served as the principle investigator on many projects, such as Off to a Good Start and the Afterschool Life Skills Evaluation Project.

In 2009, under Manglallan's guidance, 4-H partnered with the U.S. military to provide youth development activities for San Diego County children of military men and women deployed all over the world. 4-H clubs were chartered in eight military youth centers. Manglallan and her 4-H staff trained the youth center staff, set up clubs and organized military youth activities.

Through the ongoing 4-H military partnership, children of military members participate in leadership projects, community service projects, mentoring programs and sciences projects. They also attend conferences and camps with other military kids throughout the state and the country. Since 4-H has reached out to military youth, enrollment numbers have grown from 500 to the current enrollment of 1,300 children and teens in San Diego County.

Not only has enrollment in the youth development programs increased under Manglallan's leadership, but she has also made changes to the organizational structure of 4-H programs. In 2013, she worked with the California State 4-H office to create a Volunteer Management Organization (VMO) model. The previous model, which focused primarily on administrative and management issues, left no time for program planning and development or outreach to diverse populations. The VMO model created a more sustainable environment to build and attract high-performing and engaged volunteers. These changes helped improve the overall efficiency of San Diego's entire 4-H program.

Out of these efforts, four focus group meetings were held with local and non-governmental agencies, tribal members, members of the public and current 4-H volunteers. The engaged and lively discussions soon formed the basis for the current 4-H VMO board, which began in 2015 and oversees and directs local 4-H activities. 

Since its inception, the VMO has organized and overseen two major fundraising events for local 4-H programming needs. Its annual 4-H golf tournament garners $8,000 to $10,000 per year and the petting zoo at the annual San Diego County Fair brings in $10,000 to $12,000 each year. Additionally, three new traditional 4-H clubs and one spin club have joined the San Diego County 4-H family.

Manglallan began her career as a 4-H agent in 1978 with the University of Arizona before eventually joining UCCE San Diego in 1983.

Over the years, Manglallan's colleagues have sought her expertise and collaboration for research, education and outreach endeavors. In April 2018, she was part of the statewide team UC ANR honored with its Distinguished Service Award for outstanding research in Youth Retention Research. Through her contributions to San Diego's local 4-H clubs and programming over the past three decades, Manglallan has developed a diverse and robust community for youth development and leadership in San Diego.

The UCCE San Diego office congratulates Manglallan on a well-earned retirement and will continue to inspire and train youth through the 4-H program by her example.