Missouri 4-H received $25,000 from Missouri Care Inc. to support young people across Missouri in promoting healthy habits in their communities.
The 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) initiative, piloted last year in the Kansas City metropolitan area, creates new 4-H clubs that focus on teaching nutrition along with leadership and citizenship skills central to 4-H.
“The generous gift will allow us to expand the 4-H SNAC model statewide, empowering youth across Missouri to be healthy leaders in their communities,” said Andrea Wikiera, state 4-H SNAC coordinator and 4-H youth development specialist for University of Missouri Extension in Jackson County.
4-H SNAC clubs reach new youths and families through partnerships with MU Extension nutrition education programs, schools and other community organizations. The clubs meet in school or after school with nutrition education programs for underserved youths. Members learn to advocate for increased nutrition awareness, education and initiatives in their communities.
The successful pilot program in the Kansas City area created 20 new clubs, directly or indirectly influencing 5,000 students. Support from Missouri Care will help jump-start new 4-H SNAC clubs with mini-grants to counties, Wikiera said.
The funding will support supplies for advocacy projects, 4-H promotional items for youth members to create a sense of belonging, and provide 4-H leadership experiences for 4-H SNAC club members, she said.
Missouri Care is a longtime supporter of Missouri 4-H, sponsoring 4-H Move Across Missouri, a physical activity challenge for 4-H families, and the company continues to sponsor 4-H enrollment fees for its members.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide our local youth with resources and education to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Lou Gianquinto, Missouri Care president. “Missouri Care recognizes the importance of working with community partners like 4-H to further our commitment to improve lives and communities.”
The gift has been awarded to the Missouri 4-H Foundation, the private resource partner of the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.
“Missouri Care’s partnership and support will bolster the success of this program and help us engage audiences in new and innovative ways,” said Rachel Augustine, Missouri 4-H Foundation director. “It will also help us fulfill our mission to maximize 4-H youth development opportunities that lead to positive well-being for young people and the communities in which they live.”
The current Missouri 4-H program year runs Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021. More information about the 4-H SNAC program and other online and in-person 4-H programming is available in the Missouri 4-H Clover Catalog and on the Missouri 4-H website at 4h.missouri.edu.