- (Public Value) UCANR: Promoting healthy people and communities
- Author: Jane Stahl
- Author: Mimi Powers
- Author: Tristan Davis
The Community Grants Fund is funded by a portion of the settlement between Pacific Gas & Electric Company and the City of San Bruno following a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that devastated San Bruno's Crestmoor neighborhood. This annual grant fund supports new and existing programs that benefit the San Bruno community. To fund the grants, the San Bruno Community Foundation combined $200,000 of its own funds with a $100,000 grant from YouTube and Google.org.
In this fourth year of the Community Grants Fund, the Board of Directors of the San Bruno Community Foundation approved grant awards totaling $300,000 to local community organizations for 29 programs, one of which was the San Bruno/South San Francisco 4-H Club.
Three 4-H club officers, President Tristan Davis, Vice President Alex Meyerhoff, and Treasurer Adam Zbriger, as well as club parents and volunteers, attended a Foundation meeting to thank them for their support. President Tristan Davis spoke to the board and expressed the gratitude of the entire club. “As president I am very thankful for the grant funding that will sustain the club's programs. After 12 years of membership I have learned countless life skills from participating in a variety of club projects. I am happy to know that younger members will also have this opportunity.”
The San Bruno/SSF 4-H Club was one of the recommended grantees selected from a competitive pool of 51 applications. The selection panel weighed the benefits of the proposed programs to the San Bruno community.
“We're so grateful to the Board for this award,” said Mimi Powers, co-community leader of the club. “It will be used to continue improving the San Bruno/SSF 4-H farm, give scholarships to youth to attend workshops and 4-H camp, enhance funding for projects, and, most importantly, keep 4-H affordable to families in our community.”
“It was very inspirational for us all to see the Board in action and witness how the city was able to turn such a catastrophic and sad event into something so positive for the community,” said 4-H volunteer Jane Stahl. “The list of recipients was amazing! Grants were awarded for cultural arts, exchange trips to Narita, Japan, scholarships for girls to attend a week-long STEM camp at Stanford, help for parents of special education children, relationship abuse, cyber bullying, combating homelessness, child development, mental health, and much, much more.”
For a complete list of recipients and more information on the San Bruno Community Foundation, go to https://www.sbcf.org/.
- Author: Donovan Hill
- Author: Kathleen Mowdy
In November 2018, the worst fire in California history, the Camp Fire, devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia, Pulga, and Concow. Over 13,000 homes were destroyed and 85 people died. From the first day of the tragedy, our local Butte County 4-H members were involved in responding to this community crisis in many ways—such as caring for displaced animals, and donating food and shelter to affected families. Our team of two Oroville Foothill 4-H Club members, Opal and Donovan, and a Durham 4-H Club member, Skylar, decided to expand our work to address the psychological and emotional recovery of the fire survivors. The culmination of our work was captured in a video by 4-H Alum Spencer Hill (see video at bottom of article).
Three months before the fire, Opal had lost her home to an electrical fire. She felt strongly that her recovery began when she was able to work on a collaborative project to help others. Opal inspired us to have our project benefit the survivors of the Camp Fire, providing opportunities for survivors to join with other Butte County residents to connect as a community.
Donovan and Skylar are musicians and know the power of music to bring comfort and connection. Our team loved the idea of recruiting community members to work in small teams to build personalized wind chimes to be given as gifts of peaceful and healing music. In the Camp Fire, the wind spread the fire and caused destruction, but the forces of nature are also restorative. The sound of the wind blowing through the chimes is beautiful and soothing.
Woodstock Chimes generously donated 125 “Bells of Paradise” wind chimes to the project.
We developed a nomination process to choose the recipients of the wind chimes. We started with the members of the Pine Ridge 4-H Club from Paradise. Each person was asked to “pass on the gift” so the nominations would create a linked chain of connections through the community. We invited them to nominate their relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, caregivers and first responders using an online form we created. Each nomination included a short story about the family, inspirational word charms to include, favorite color for bead selection, and the names of the family members to be written on the chime sail.
Again starting with 4-H, we held several “build events” with Butte County 4-H members and their families. We also arranged to bring the project to the after-school programs at Palermo Middle School in Palermo and Sycamore Middle School in Gridley. With the help of our 4-H adult volunteer leader, Wayne Hill, we facilitated team-building sessions with the students. We read the family stories shared by the nominators aloud. The students chose to build the chimes for the families that they connected with based on the stories. Reflecting on the stories of the recipients, the kids created unique and beautiful decorations on the envelopes for the gift cards that were included with the chimes. Many students added pictures and messages of hope and rebuilding.
All phases of this project have been eye-opening, but none as much as the giving phase. We met with recipients wherever they were - in Paradise, Oroville, Gridley, Chico, Magalia and beyond. We also involved many of the nominators. who appreciated the opportunity to deliver the gifts. An unexpected benefit of our project has been the excitement of the nominators, who were eager to assist us. Personally putting each gift into the hands of the recipient was the most rewarding part of the project. The emotions are overwhelming for everyone involved.
This project has done everything we hoped it would:
- We provided a way for our community to connect with people who experienced the most destructive wildfire in California history.
- With the help of Woodstock Chimes, we gave a gift of healing music to 125 families.
- We gave over 100 nominators a way to share a special gift with people they love.
- We provided a meaningful team-building experience to over 60 kids at local middle schools.
This project has changed each of us in ways we did not expect. We look forward to opportunities to share what we have learned with other 4-H clubs and fire recovery projects.
Video: 4-H Peaceful Music Wind Chime Project
At the Butte County 4-H Awards night on October 19, 2019, this original music video by Spencer Hill, a 4-H alum, was presented for this very special 4-H Emerald Star project benefiting the Camp Fire survivors.
- Author: Maura Sparrevohn
Hello, my name is Maura Sparrevohn, and I was a California 4-H State Ambassador for the 2018-2019 program year. This last April, I was selected to attend the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. If it wasn't for the scholarship from Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, I might never have been able to attend this conference, or connect with 4-H youth from outside of California. As someone who had never before been outside of California's borders, having the opportunity to experience a whole new place—brimming with people I never would have met otherwise—was an amazing experience.
National 4-H Conference: Roundtable on Adolescent Mental Health
During this near week-long conference, I had the opportunity to collaborate with 4-H youth from across the country on a roundtable group focusing on the mental health of adolescence in the United States. We were then able to present to the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) under the National Organization for Health and Human Services. Through this presentation, our team of diverse youth was able to voice our own concerns regarding the state of mental health in our peers. We were also able to provide the OAH with our own suggestions to combat the issue of stigma surrounding mental illness among American youth.
Invited to Collaborate on Social Media and Mental Health
Early this summer, and because of my involvement with the HHS, I was invited back to D.C., where I shared my perspective on how social media affects the mental health of my peers. I was one of 6 youth respondents selected from the U.S. to participate in this meeting organized by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs.
Through this once in a lifetime opportunity, I collaborated alongside Candice Odgers and Jean Twenge, both top researchers in their respective fields of psychology, to compare their findings to my own experiences with social media usage and how it relates to my own mental health as well as that of other youth who use social media. I was able to share my perspective on how the state of your mental health can be reflected through your personal social media usage. By practicing intentional social media usage and mindful habits, you can make positive impacts on yourself and others while connecting to your individuality. I also see it as a creative outlet that can connect individuals and provide all sorts of resources to provide connectedness, education, and opportunities to promote positive change for anything you may be passionate about.
Co-hosting a live Twitter Chat
Following my engagement in this meeting, the group of youth was asked to collaborate even further to propose a way to share what we had learned with others in our communities. We decided that the best way to share our knowledge of intentional social media use was taking to social media in a live and interactive way. On August 14th, we partnered with #ICanHelp and youth.gov to host a live Twitter Chat. Questions and tips were posted while Twitter users engaged and shared their perspective. Participants were able to interact with one another while sharing knowledge on how to be more mindful and intentional with how they use social media! For anyone interested in the postings, or reading what participants had to say, check out #mindfulsocialchat on Twitter!
Take the leap!
The skills I have gained and the connections I have made after initially going to National Conference have impacted my life in such a positive way. I was someone who was very nervous about flying all the way to the other side of the country, but I am so glad I did. I encourage other 4-Hers who may feel the same way to take the leap and apply for National Conference 2020. The experience is one that I know I will continue to positively reflect on, and I hope the same for all of you!
Apply by November 5, 2019
National 4-H Conference 2020
March 28- April 4, 2020
See the National 4-H Conference event page for more information and to apply.