ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Two Alabama Extension specialists received grant funding to reduce high-risk behavior among urban youth. These funds will enhance youth programs in mentoring, health and urban agriculture.
National 4-H Programs
National Mentoring Program
Angela Williams, an Alabama 4-H youth development specialist, received a $46,000 grant from the National 4-H Council. These funds will be used for a National Mentoring Program. The National Mentoring Program is supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The OJJDP recognizes how youth mentoring programs reduce juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, school truancy and other risky behaviors.
Alabama Health Rocks!®
Williams also oversees the 4-H Health Rocks!® program that received an increase in funding. The Health Rocks!® funds increased to $66,000 because of the number of youth it reached in 2019. This program enables youth, families and communities to work together to reduce tobacco, alcohol and drug use, including vaping and opioid drug abuse.
“Through 4-H, every child regardless of their background has a chance to develop decision-making and other life skills,” Williams said. “These skills are the foundation that empowers young people to become tomorrow’s leaders.”
Youth STEAM Academy
Tamara Warren, an Alabama Extension health and nutrition specialist, received a three-year grant for $250,000 to establish the Youth STEAM Academy. The Youth STEAM Academy integrates science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics principles to tweens.
In Alabama, 16.1 percent of youth ages 10 to 17 are obese. Research has proven that overweight or obese kids are more likely to become obese adults. The Academy will encourage young people to adopt healthier lifestyle, to grow their own fruits and vegetables at home and to develop an interest in STEM-related studies and careers.
“The Youth STEAM Academy builds upon Alabama Extension’s Technology Enhancing Exercise and Nutrition program that combines sound nutritional information with technology,” Warren said. “It reinforces our commitment to combat obesity and to help Alabama youth reach their full potential.”
Contact Williams at (256) 372-5713 to learn more about Urban 4-H youth development activities. Warren can be reached at (256) 372-4981 for more information about the Youth STEAM Academy or urban health and nutrition programs.