By Tenisha Spencer
The Meridian Star
Many think of spring when the month of April arrives. As for me, I think of the special people known as volunteers who like to make a difference in people's lives.
Each year, thousands of volunteers in Mississippi donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These individuals are among millions across the country who will be spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 21-27.
Research conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that 26.5 percent of adult Americans volunteered 8.1 billion hours of service worth $173 billion in 2010. One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the Mississippi 4-H Program.
In Mississippi, more than 8,000 people contributed 1.9 million hours of service. The state's 4-H volunteers gave 1.9 million hours of service worth $27,628,649 in 2012.
In Lauderdale County, volunteers – both youth and adult – serve as club leaders, project leaders, committee members and in advisory capacities for the 4-H Youth Development Program.
As the the county's 4-H agent, I must say that I am very appreciative of the volunteers we have here in Lauderdale County. They work diligently to fulfill the duties of the various roles that they play as volunteers. Indeed, it takes diversity, patience, commitment, and most of all dependability to be good volunteers.
Volunteers spend numerous hours working on tasks, such as helping organize an event at the county fair, helping a child with a 4-H project, or leading a project to serve the community. So, it’s quite obvious that volunteers play a major role in our 4-H program. Therefore, I say “Thank You,” “Thank You” and “Thank You” for all that you do as we assist our youth of Lauderdale County in becoming productive citizens in such a challenging society.
According to Mrs. Linda Clayton of Lauderdale, being a 4-H volunteer is definitely driven through parenthood and the desire to help children reach their level of potentiality. She first became involved in the 4-H program as a volunteer when her children were involved in the program. Since then, her children have aged out and she has continued to serve as a 4-H volunteer for more than 30 years.
In an effort to serve as a resourceful club leader, Mrs. Clayton attended the 2013 Mississippi Volunteer Leadership Conference held in February on Mississippi State University's Starkville campus. During the conference, Mrs. Clayton attended workshops/trainings which provided vital information for volunteers.
On behalf, of the 4- H program, I would like to give Mrs. Clayton special thanks, because volunteers have a major impact on the 4-H program and we definitely are grateful for your physical contribution for over thirty years.
4-H Program volunteers are just one group instrumental in carrying out the mission of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. They are involved in every aspect of the Extension Service, including determining the needs of the local residents, planning and implementing programs to address these needs, securing resources, and evaluating programs.
The work of Extension volunteers is continuous. Every day, volunteers lend a helping hand to make Extension programs more beneficial to residents of Lauderdale County. Anyone interested in joining the team of Extension volunteers is invited to visit the Lauderdale County Extension Office located at 410 Constitution Avenue, Fifth Floor, or call (601) 482-9764.
Again, I say “Thank You” to all the volunteers of Lauderdale County. Your hard work and dedication is definitely appreciated and deserves to be recognized without a doubt.
• Tenisha Spencer is 4-H agent for the Lauderdale County Extension Service.