9:31 a.m., March 4, 2011----In early February, close to 100 teen members of the Delaware 4-H Youth Development program spent a portion of their annual leadership retreat at the University of Delaware making special gifts that they hoped would touch the lives of dozens of young people in need.
On Monday, Feb. 28, that hope was realized as officers of the 4-H State Teen Council, along with longtime 4-H supporter Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, distributed 20 handmade “no sew” fleece blankets to children currently in long-term care as patients at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington.
The concept for the service project came from Hannah Harvey, a member of the Porter Gang 4-H Club in Newark, who also serves as vice president of the Delaware 4-H state council. Making “no sew” fleece blankets is a project many Delaware 4-H members were already familiar with as it is a popular 4-H exhibit entry at the annual Delaware State Fair.
The idea of donating the blankets to the hospital was a natural one considering the strong relationship Nemours has with the University of Delaware through the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance and the success of recent partnerships such as the UD 4-H/Master Gardener Demonstration Plot. The garden project, which began in 1999, has yielded hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to the Food Bank of Delaware.
UD extension specialist and 4-H state teen council adviser Ernesto López described the work of the teens saying, “Nemours is one of the best children's hospitals in world, and we are fortunate to have it right here in our backyard. Days like this make it all worthwhile, and we thank key stakeholders like Lt. Governor Denn and the Mid Del Foundation, whose funding each year makes our State Teen Conference possible, for continuing to support the mission of 4-H in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UD.”
4-H is the largest youth serving organization in the state of Delaware with more than 60,000 youth participating annually in experiential based learning and outreach through the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.
For more information on joining 4-H and finding a club in your county or in serving as an adult volunteer, please contact the State 4-H Office at (302) 831-2509 or via email at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Photo by Danielle Quigley, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Delaware