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Alabama 4-H Tech Changemakers give a presentation at the Limestone Library

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — Young people are the future, and the future looks bright thanks to the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. This program is centered around kind, tech-savvy teens who seek to help adults better understand difficult-to-use technology.

Paige Naylor serves as the program assistant for Alabama 4-H at Auburn University’s Tech Changemakers program. She said the program allows younger and older generations to interact and build relationships, all while learning about new and necessary technologies. This year, Alabama 4-H received a grant from Verizon to help Tech Changemakers highlight technology in the workforce.

While this is Naylor’s first year officially working for the grant, she has volunteered with the program for all three years that Alabama 4-H has participated in the program.

“I have seen many of the youths develop and sharpen their public speaking and communication skills,” Naylor said. “I have also witnessed the growth of these young people in learning how to serve and make a difference in their communities. This year is workforce focused, and I have seen several of the youths really focus on certain topics and take it upon themselves to learn more about those topics.”

Tech Changemakers Take on Drones

In February 2023, Alabama 4-H members had the opportunity to work with people in two communities through Tech Changemakers. Both of these opportunities involved the exciting and emerging world of drones.

Informational Drone Booth

Feb. 10, 4-H members manned an informational drone booth at the Ft. Mitchell Farm Fest in Russell County. Naylor said it was a learning experience for all who were involved, as their proximity to Ft. Moore grounded the drones and rendered them unable to fly because of restricted airspace.

“This ended up being a great learning experience and conversation starter,” Naylor said. “When attendees would ask why we were not flying the drone, we could tell them why and explain the rules and regulations.”

Naylor said this allowed the Tech Changemakers to inform booth visitors about apps that can help individuals understand when and where to fly their drones.

“It was a great day with a lot of information shared by the Tech Changemakers,” Naylor said.

Drones in the Workforce

Feb. 17, windy weather prevented Tech Changemakers from flying drones outdoors at the Athens—Limestone County Public Library, but the Changemakers were not deterred. Drones took to the skies inside the library, creating excitement for all who were visiting the library on Saturday morning. The drones in the workforce workshop had 11 attendees. Six of the attendees completed the TRUST test and received their certification.

Other Events

Alabama 4-H Tech Changemakers have presented at job fairs, health fairs and community events across the state. Naylor said the best part of 4-H Tech Changemakers for her has been watching the young people grow in their communication, presentation and leadership skills.

“By teaching these workshops, they are sharing their knowledge of various digital and technological skills with individuals that may otherwise not have the opportunity to learn these skills,” Naylor said. “Aside from the Drones in the Workplace workshop, the members have also presented on resumés, digital marketing and career journey.”

Other Tech Changemakers events include the following:

  • Second-chance job fairs to help with resumé writing in Huntsville and Bessemer.
  • Library and career event resumé workshops in Calhoun, Dallas, Morgan and Madison counties.
  • Health conferences to present career journey information in Moulton and Russellville.
  • Library workshops on digital marketing in Calhoun, Conecuh, Hale, Limestone, Franklin, Morgan and Clay counties.

Naylor said it is refreshing to see young people stepping up and presenting a valuable service to their communities.

“Each time that the members have presented the workshops, I have received great feedback on their knowledge and professionalism,” she said. “Everyone has been so excited and supportive of the program.”

More Information

Learn more about 4-H Tech Changemakers and how they are making a difference in communities across Alabama by visiting www.aces.edu.