Programming in 4-H and CYFAR addresses a complex array of issues confronting Rhode Island families. The major challenge is in identifying where best to target limited resources that will have a significant impact on key issues facing today’s youth and families and result in measurable outcomes for these target audiences. Key issues impacting today’s families include: The number of children in poverty is increasing in all RI cities and towns; Family structures are stressed by poverty and a decreasing community connection creating weakened environments for child rearing. There is limited access to social programs for youth and families, and links between service providers and families are weak. Parents lack skills in teaching their children limits, how to avoid violence, cope with peer pressure and experimentation with destructive behaviors. Given the weak academic preparation provided by many of Rhode Island’s inner-city schools, most of which are listed by the state as under-performing, there is a significant population of first-generation students at all levels of academic preparation whose skills will not be strong enough to ensure success in higher education and in a scientific workforce. Youth lack opportunities for involvement in positive outside-of-school social and educational programs that provide them with a safe, supportive environment for developing life skills and interacting with peers and positive adult role models.
The program staff through diverse partnerships within and outside of the land grant system can serve as the catalyst and provide the integration of people and resources needed to address these critical issues facing Rhode Island’s youth and families.
Goals of this Program
Through collaboration and partnership, CFF will serve as the portal for Rhode Island families to connect with the vast research-based resources and educational opportunities of the land-grant institution resulting in improved youth and family health, life skills and emotional and academic well-being.
- Forge academic connections to strengthen 4-H and CYFAR curriculums, provide undergraduate experiential learning opportunities, increase program research base and utilizes evaluation expertise to measure impacts and improve programs
- Connect target audience to 4-H and CYFAR educational programs though workshops, webbased training and newsletters, 4-H volunteer training and curriculum guides (train the trainer), communitybased agency trainings (train the trainer)
- Develop resources and information to connect youth and families to community and land-grant resources (4-H and CYFAR to serve as portals)
- Expansion of the 4-H club system into currently underrepresented, urbanized areas of the state and creation of a state-wide network of 4-H science enrichment after school programs that serve as a catalyst for improve the science based knowledge, skills and academic motivation among urban elementary and middle school students
4-H is a leader in youth development, which began on the local level in response to evolving needs for new kinds of educational experiences for youth. From the beginning, this youth-serving organization offered “hands-on” learning activities for young people so they might become productive citizens. Youth participating in 4-H activities have opportunities to offer positive contributions to our diverse and changing society.
The mission is to bring together children, youth and families with key decision makers from these communities in a collaborative effort to provide: Communities with a safe, secure environment; assist families in achieving positive, productive and contributing lives; support parents taking responsibility for meeting children’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs through moral guidance and direction; reinforce youth’s ability to demonstrate knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior necessary for fulfilling contributing lives; and ensure that all children would have their basic physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs met.
CELS 4-H Program Leader
422 CBLS Building