Kent County Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has a partnership with the Baxter Community Center Mizizi Maji Mentoring Program based in Grand Rapids. The Mizizi Maji (Swahili for “root water”) Mentoring Program provides area youth, ages 8 to 18, with adult mentors and a strong support system, helping them consciously take control of their lives, look toward the future and begin making good choices.
This partnership resulted in an opportunity for nine youth to complete, “Money Moves,” the 4-H Youth Development financial literacy program.
As a result of the youth participating in the Money Moves workshop and achieving a 3.0 GPA at their local school, they attended the 4-H Youth Development Exploration Days pre-college program this summer. At Exploration Days, the group took part in the session, “Global Citizens and the Global Village.” They learned about feeding the hungry world population and also experienced the excitement of spending time on a college campus.
Sandra Springer, Extension educator, wrote and received a $1,575 grant from the Grand Rapids Foundation Youth Committee to pay the registration fee for nine youth to attend Exploration Days.
Because of what they experienced at the Global Village session, the youth are planning an international dinner and presentation to the community. They also access the FreeRice website to continue their global experience through academic literacy. FreeRice is a nonprofit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. Participants access the site, answer academic questions and “fill a bowl” of rice that culminates in a monetary donation to provide rice for hungry people.
In addition, to continue their global experience, some of the youth had the opportunity to travel to Toronto this summer. And also, through Baxter’s partnership with South Africa, youth who maintain a 3.0 GPA for three years in a row will be traveling to South Africa where they will live in local homes and visit rural and urban communities, and nature reserves. Wow! I need to meet these young people and catch some of excitement they’re generating through this program.