- Author: Jesenia Mendoza
Naomi Edwards December Volunteer spotlight
With 5 children in 4-H, Naomi has dedicated many hours to 4-H. Her passion of being a mom and helping children achieve their goals has made her one of our most dedicated volunteers in 4-H. Her nomination stated “she is always helpful, willing to be flexible and happy to help.” And she is! Currently she is a project leader for Poultry, Rabbits, Photography, Baking and International studies program – where she provides resources on how to host children from across the world. The international studies project is new to 4-H but has been part of her life for years. “We host children from around the world all year long, it's our way of traveling the world without leaving our home”
On top of being a volunteer for projects, she volunteers for 4-H county committees. She is currently the chair for Fashion Revue Which she holds dear to her heart as it really embodies her idea of teaching 4-H members how to help the community. “last year we made pillows for cancer patients who had ports. It's a great way to show 4-H'ers how their work can benefit the community.” On top of all that she is involved in the Scholarships, I & R, Science field Day and Presentation Day.
She began as a volunteer in Steuben, when it was small, she enjoys small clubs because it has a family feel to it. She is now at Wild oak 4-H as a project leader and Co-community club leader.
Her most memorable moment of 4-H is the impact a volunteer (Mark Bush) had on her children, which then inspired her to broaden her skills as a volunteer. “My children and I wanted to do a poultry project but Steuben didn't have one, so we then crossed clubs to Gold Ridge where I met Mark Bush.” After learning much from Mark and guiding her to become a poultry leader, Naomi and her poultry group participated in a fair contest where both Steuben and Gold Ridge were participating. “We won, and the best part wasn't that we won it was what Mark did for us that made it the most rewarding” Naomi said with a huge smile. “Mark went up to the children and let them know how proud of them he was and to show them how proud he was, he gave them their very own chickens! The look on my child's face was worth all the hard work our family did in the poultry project.”
“4-H is a safe place to fail. It builds the confidence that many need.” Said Naomi, “it really helps children become leaders in our community, 4-H is not just for one type of person, it can really encompass anyone.” There are volunteers available to help children be whoever they want to be. Children can really grow in 4-H, thanks to volunteers like Naomi.
Naomi we are incredibly lucky to have you, you are helping the 4-H community grow. Thank you!
- Author: Jesenia Mendoza
Her history with 4-h started at the age of 9 at Bennett valley 4-H, as a child she fell in love with goats. Her parents, both 4-H volunteers, and members themselves as children, it is a family passion. “I started with Beef and dairy cows, but then I went to Redwood Hill and saw the baby goats.” That was it, she was hooked. “I went to 5 fairs a year minimum!” she truly enjoys raising goats. “As a child, I was way more reserved, 4-H helped me come out of my shell understand who I was and how I should project myself to the world.” Now she wants to provide that same service to children today. She has been a Dairy Goat leader for Green Valley 4-H for the last 4 years. She is a dedicated leader, “sometimes I will have a child call me to ask me goat questions, sometimes it's an easy question, sometimes I will need to go check out their goat.” The best part of being a goat leader is helping the kids reach their full potential. At one of her last fairs she remembers a young boy, who didn't believe in himself, he continued to say that showing was not his strength. Rebecca saw the potential in him, told him “you can do it, you can do great!” The member went into the show-ring with his goat and he won! He came running back to Rebecca with excitement and said, “I did it!” with a renewed confidence in his showmanship abilities. With Rebecca's help and enthusiasm he could be successful. The best part for Rebecca was seeing that he believed in himself and could do it.
As she prepares others to be great goat leaders, one of the leaders that helped her be successful was and still is Lisa Jack. One of her memories she was with Lisa is being at a fair and Lisa saw the way Rebecca was cleaning the goat's feet with a tooth brush, Lisa said, “that's going to take forever, here try this (a larger sponge)” she realized how much easier it was to clean goat's feet after that, “a life changing moment!” Lisa is encouraging and supportive which Rebecca strives to embody as well.
When she is not helping in 4-H she is taking care of her own goats, she has about 40. She enjoys reading, watching movies and baking. “I am a baker,” she said, if you have been in Rebecca's projects you probably have had one of her “mean cupcakes,” as she puts it. Rebecca is a recent graduate of Sonoma State University with a degree in anthropology. Although, her passion lies in helping children realize their potential. With her degree, she hopes to become a teacher.
Her hope is to lead the next generation of agriculturist. We think she is doing a fantastic job!
Rebecca, we sincerely thank you for your dedication and energy with 4-h. You are an amazing volunteer. We are very lucky to have you in our community. Thanks for helping 4-H members find their potential.
- Author: Jesenia Mendoza
Charlotte moved to Sonoma County in 1986, with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Chico State University. She worked in R & D at Flex Products and OCLI for many years. She also taught computer skills classes at several elementary schools. When she finds some spare time she enjoys gardening, playing with her dogs, and fixing up her Victorian home.
Charlotte is active in organizing Citizenship Weekend, chaperoning at Sonoma County 4-H Camp, and leading her club's dog and swine projects. In addition to serving as a project leader at the club level, she is the past Community Club Leader for Warm Springs 4-H. Her passion lies in helping 4-H members broaden their perspective of the world by encouraging them to attend 4-H youth conferences. She was raised in a remote area, so these conferences and travel opportunities helped her expand her horizons. She mentioned that one of her best moments was when she encouraged a 4-H member to attend State Leadership Conference. When he came back and met with Charlotte, he had the biggest smile on his face and thanked her for being a driving force in his decision to attend.
“It's very rewarding to be a volunteer for 4-H. Some of the nicest people are in 4-H; both kids and adults. The 4-H community is always there to help you. Someone always steps up to help in all situations, whether it's in 4-H or personal life.” This is a community she is proud to be included in. “I want to let people know that the sky is the limit with 4-H, it's not just about animals, it is about learning lifelong skills and finding your passion.”
Charlotte: Thanks for being a part of 4-H and helping youth find their spark!
- Author: Jesenia Mendoza
On top of being a project leader for dog care, rabbit and presentation skills at Liberty 4-H, Kristi also does book keeping, gives horse lessons and is a full time mom. She is a proud parent of two 4-H members. Her son was the reason why she joined Sonoma County 4-H as a leader. He wanted a rabbit, Kristi and Matt, her husband, said “If you want to own a rabbit you need to join 4-H”. She reinforced this in her children because 4-H has been a program she is fond of. She says, “4-H is not just about animals, it's about life skills really! I really wish other people knew that 4-H is much more than just animals!” She continued by emphasizing that 4-H offers a lot more to our community. “When people ask me why my children are in 4-H it is not because of the animals… it's the public speaking, record keeping, time management, organization, leadership and community services these are all things that you don't really get in school, and these are all things that just about every project in 4-H has to offer.” Kristi works hard to support all 4-H members, even if it means helping the competition, her purpose is to help children succeed and be successful in life.
You can hear the excitement in her voice when she speaks about children whom she has made a difference to. “The most rewarding thing as an adult is having a child come up to you and say thank you, you made a difference in our life. I really appreciate all you do… you inspire me…” Her selflessness has created a sense of happiness and togetherness in the 4-H community.
Kristi we sincerely appreciate your generosity and dedication towards 4-H. Thank you for everything that you do!
- Author: Jesenia Mendoza
Julie loves animals, she says she has always wanted to have animals “living in San Francisco I never had that opportunity” 4-H helped Julie fulfill her desire of having animals, she currently has a pony, chicken, guinea pigs, dog and a cat. She has also had goats and rabbits.
“4-H creates lifelong family friends, it's great to see other volunteers who have stayed volunteers even though their children have left 4-H.” She loves feeling that she “makes a difference in a child's life” she says. “I just want to be there for the children, it's in my heart.” Julie's fondest memory of 4-H is “working with her children on their projects going through both the struggles, successes and learning life lessons together.”
Julie is proud to be part of 4-H she believes it “allows the opportunity to explore different careers and improve life skills such as public speaking, financial skills, setting and evaluating goals, critical thinking. These skills help them be successful and allow them to fulfill their passion which is one of the best feelings.”
Thank you Julie for everything that you do! You are making a difference in this community, country and world.