At a time when many young people are fighting obesity and don’t understand the food system, two California 4-H members – Bryanne Sanchez and Samuel Sugarman – are gaining national recognition for their leadership in addressing these issues.
Both are winners of the 2017 national 4-H Youth in Action Awards. That means they both will receive $5,000 scholarships for their higher education, and will serve as 4-H spokespeople for the National 4-H Council. Most importantly, they are both making the world a better place. We find them inspiring.
Fighting Obesity, Building Health
Sanchez, of Imperial, was selected as winner of the 4-H Youth in Action Award for Healthy Living for her leadership as an advocate for healthy lifestyles in her community and across California. She will serve as spokesperson for 4-H Healthy Living programming.
In Imperial County, there is a 62 percent obesity rate. To help combat these statistics, Sanchez annually hosts the Imperial County 4-H Color Me Green run. The race, which includes a local business health fair, gave away more than 90 boxes of fresh produce to runners and their families in 2017.
“I am empowering youth throughout California to make healthy lifestyle decisions,” Sanchez says. “It started with recognizing the need in my own county, and developing ways to combat the problem. I recognized that I have the power to enact change by educating others, and I plan to do so for the rest of my life. I want everyone to realize there is no better time than now to start living healthy.”
This young leader is passionate about health. As a California 4-H State Ambassador, Sanchez organized a “Text Talk Act” campaign to bring awareness to mental health issues. She also organized the educational component of the California State Leadership Conference’s All 4-Health Fair, working with organizations to present about different healthy living topics.
Educating about Sustainable Ag
Sugarman, of Encinitas, was selected as winner of the 4-H Youth in Action Award for Agriculture for his leadership through agriculture education and his free Farm Tour Program. He will serve as a spokesperson for 4-H Agriculture programming.
The enterprising teen created a free Farm Tour Program to connect youth in his community with animals and nature. Over the past five years, Sugarman has led hundreds of farm tours, and educated youth about sustainable agriculture, and respect for animals and the earth.
“As a teen leader, I hosted lots of project meetings at my farm and saw how beneficial it was for urban children to interact with the animals,” Sugarman says. “When children grow up disconnected from their food, from animals and from the earth, they miss opportunities to develop qualities of stewardship, compassion, patience and gratitude.”
Youth in Action Awards
As a bit of background, the 4-H Youth in Action awards began in 2010. The goal was to recognize 4-H’ers who had overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community. These youth are honored in each of 4-H’s core areas of Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living and STEM. Learn more about Youth in Action.
Rounding out the other two 2017 4-H Youth in Action Pillar winners are Georgia 4-H’er Amelia Day for Citizenship and Ohio 4-H’er Ava Lonneman for STEM.
Congratulations to all!
“When I first learned about 4-H, I thought I had found a genuine American relic, a throwback to a simpler time…I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
That’s what city girl Kiera Butler wrote in her book Raise: What 4-H Teaches 7 Million Kids—and How Its Lessons Could Change Food and Farming Forever.
Today, 4‑H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, which is helping approximately 6 million young people around the nation develop valuable life skills.
Here in California, many don’t realize that the 4-H program is the youth development program of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension (UCCE). The UCCE offices support 4-H programming in every county in California.
Learn more about 4-H in California at 4H.ucanr.edu.
You Might Also Enjoy