4-H members earn Congressional Awards
JACKSON, Miss. -- Forty-three Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H members were recognized recently during the annual Mississippi Congressional Award ceremony for their self-development accomplishments.
Each 4-H’er received a gold, silver or bronze certificate and medal for their personal, goal-oriented achievements through the Congressional Award Program. Some participants also received STEM Star awards for participating in one or more science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities while working toward their Congressional Award.
This year’s ceremony marks the 20th anniversary of the partnership between the Congressional Award Program and MSU Extension 4-H.
“It is very much an honor for Mississippi State University and the Extension Service to be a partner in this program and a part of this celebration,” said MSU Extension director Gary Jackson, “The Congressional Award Program is aligned with the goal of Extension’s 4-H youth development program. Both of these programs are aimed at making a positive difference by teaching young people to embrace learning, set high goals and become engaged.”
The awards were presented by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.
Eligibility for the Congressional Award is open to all young people between the ages of 13 ½ and 23 who want to set self-imposed goals for themselves in four program areas: personal development, physical fitness, voluntary public service, and expedition and exploration. The age- and ability-appropriate activities foster responsibility and help young people practice planning and organizational skills.
Taniyah Wallace, a bronze award winner from Lee County, said she wanted to participate in the program not only for the learning experience, but also to serve her community.
“I helped out at our local animal shelter and did a clothing drive for those in need,” Wallace said. “Doing things like that helps animals and people, and it brings awareness to those needs in the community.”
Linda Mitchell, Northeast regional Extension coordinator based at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, said the program is a wonderful complement to 4-H and a great way for young people to further develop life skills.
“The Congressional Award Program and 4-H help young people not only enhance leadership skills but also develop their humanitarian and community interests,” said Mitchell, who is a member of the Congressional Award Foundation’s board of directors. “We know one day their dreams will make a positive impact on our state, nation and world.”
Mississippi currently has 837 program participants who collectively returned more than 41,800 service hours in their communities this year alone. Mississippi has one of the highest participation rates in the program and has had 1,951 awardees over the span of the program’s existence.
For more information about the Congressional Award Program, visit its website at http://www.congressionalaward.org.