WELLSBURG – Grants from the West Virginia University Extension Service have enabled the Brooke County 4-H program to host a variety of activities for members and students of local schools.
Candy Taylor, mentoring coordinator for the Extension Service Office in Wellsburg, said a recent painting and snacking session at Brooke Middle School was the last of six family-centered events supported by the Service Grant. popularization Heath Rocks! program.
She said the goal of the program is to deter the use of alcohol, e-cigarettes, vapers and other drugs by encouraging them to pursue alternative activities with their families and as individuals and by engaging them. in projects in which they have the opportunity to develop their self-confidence as leaders. .
Taylor said nearly 70 students, parents, and school and extension staff gathered at Brooke Middle School to grab some snacks and try to create a Christmas-themed painting under the guidance of representatives from Moe’s on Main. , a Follansbee craft store.
She noted that attendees included Brooke County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Crook, Assistant Superintendent Corey Murphy and Jennifer Sisinni, the school principal.
“They sat down with the children and shared their own painting experiences in the past” she said.
Taylor said the Brooke County office’s first Health Rocks! grant was awarded two years ago. She had received training in Washington, DC, just before the pandemic resulted in school education being shut down statewide.
For a while, she and other Extension staff used social media and video conferencing to engage young people in activities ranging from teaching dance to sharing recipes that their young viewers could try out. House.
They also distributed packets with decks of cards, materials for science experiments and other activities the young people could do with their families.
âWe’ve had a lot of different things during that time, but it was fun to see them face to face. “ Taylor said.
As school buildings were reopened to students, she explained that she and other extension staff worked with principals and teachers to organize various recreational activities and community service projects.
“We are back in the schools and we are getting a lot of interest” Taylor said.
She said the 4-H clubs at Brooke Middle School and Brooke Bridge Alternative Learning Center have planted gardens at each school, often working with older students at Brooke High School.
Taylor noted that National Honor Society students worked with members of the Brooke Middle School 4-H Club, which is advised by Dana Stoll.
The Alternative Learning Center was created by the Brooke County School District for students who do not perform as well in a traditional school setting.
With the cooperation of its principal, Michael Lewis, the students built two blessing boxes there in which individuals can leave non-perishable food and toiletries for those in need.
Similar to small libraries, where used books can be dropped off and picked up by community members, Blessing Boxes can be found near the Brooke County Public Library and Unity Apartments.
Taylor added that the grant enabled the Extension Service to purchase bicycles and pedometers used by students to track their mileage on group excursions around the city.
She noted that 4-H clubs are open to youth ages 5 and up. Although there are sections in some colleges, older members “diploma” as volunteers in clubs, which can be a valuable leadership experience.
Taylor said that in addition to the Brooke Middle School and Brooke Bridge clubs, there are chapters in Follansbee and Wellsburg that meet outside of the school.
âWe are trying to develop. We hope to have a club in each school â, she said.
Taylor noted that the Brooke County 4-H program once had a shooting team that competed in state competitions, adding that there was interest in reviving it if a suitable advisor could be found.
Currently, club outings are planned at Brooke Lanes and the Weirton Plaza Theater, among other activities.
âWe keep them busy. That’s for sure,” Taylor said.
For more information on the Brooke County 4-H program, call (304) 737-3665 or visit their website at https://extension.wvu.edu/brooke.