Several Nevada counties have a high transient population and some schools have a particularly high concentration of low-income and transient families. Children ages 6 to 12 need supervision after school while parents are at work. Parents with low or poverty-level wages often cannot afford childcare for their school-age children. All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. These children can benefit from positive, nurturing interactions with caring adults. Children who have strong interpersonal skills and support are less likely to participate in risky behaviors, such as drug use, early sexual involvement and dropping out of school.
All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. Extension developed the 4-H Afterschool Program to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition in a fun, hands-on way. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors. In addition, parents know that their youth are in a constructive environment. The programs are run by staff and trained volunteers. Topics vary, but can include science and technology; visual, cultural and theater arts; crafts; nutrition; health and physical activity; and civic engagement.
The Humboldt County 4-H Program provided educational support to the Grass Valley Elementary School Afterschool Program during the 2018-2019 school year. Sharon Barton, Humboldt County 4-H coordinator, along with 4-H teen youth and 4-H volunteer leaders provided hands-on learning opportunities using 4-H curriculum to youth in kindergarten through fourth grade. The 4-H team visited the school twice a week from October 2018 to May 2019 and delivered lessons on a variety of learning topics ranging from aerospace to livestock. Every visit included a new lesson and hands-on activities for the students. This was a great opportunity to share with the students and our school district the wide variety of educational opportunities that 4-H has to offer.
The Clark County 4-H Program provides 4-H Afterschool programming in the housing communities and offers programs in leadership, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and service to the community. The youth who have been participating are now planning how they would like to give back to the community. Service projects include visiting seniors 55+ housing apartments to sing and talk to them, and making pillows for the homeless. The 4-H Program has been well received by the neighborhood and the onsite resident coordinators. The youth are looking to become more involved in the 4-H Program, such as becoming members of the Clark County Teen Council, and taking part in Clark County Fair.
The Washoe County 4- H AfterSchool Club Program teaches youth transferable life skills by allowing them to engage in an experiential learning environment, known in 4-H as “Learn By Doing”. Using research-based curriculum, they collaborate with different organizations across Washoe County to bring the 4-H Program to youth. Last school year, the Washoe County 4-H AfterSchool Club delivered short-term 4-H projects to 22 different schools that have the 21st Century Community Learning Center Team Up Program. The 4-H staff were able to teach youth robotics, rockets, embryology, cultures, energy science, healthy living/nutrition, civic engagement and leadership. 4-H also partnered with the Reno Housing Authority to offer an AfterSchool Club at Essex Manor and with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, where they were able to provide the youth with not only homework help and educational lessons but also a hot meal four days a week. As a result, staff were able to teach over 30 lessons a week reaching over 75 youth a day during the school year. They continue these efforts during school breaks with STEM-focused day camps at the Women’s and Children’s Center of the Sierras and Reno Housing Authority housing sites.