Hero Image

Marin County 4-H supports equity in youth development

The Issue

With diversity increasing in Marin County, it is imperative to ensure access and equity to youth development programs, particularly for the 28% of youth who identify as Latino. Through funding support from the County of Marin, Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program could expand out-of-school science, technology engineering and math (STEM) enrichment experiences to reach a greater number of Latino youth both directly, through STEM activities, and indirectly, through curricular support and professional development of out-of-school staff.

What Has ANR Done?

4-H responded by providing curricular support, professional development, and program delivery. We provided out-of-school program staff with research based curricular resources for STEM topics, health, and positive youth development concepts. We modified curriculum for staff who have limited resources and preparation time. Participating programs were given access to the Marin 4-H curriculum repository modified specifically for out-of-school programs. We offered professional development on STEM teaching methods and positive youth development to four organizations. In addition to in-class, experiential training, we visited staff during their activity sessions to provide feedback and recommendations and to listen to suggestions on how to improve curriculum.

Together, 4- H and the Bay Area Community Resources Learning Enrichment After-school Program (LEAP) implemented a pilot 4-H Club to serve San Pedro Elementary School students. Meeting once per week, and facilitated jointly by LEAP and 4-H staff, 26 youth experienced the new curriculum, “Thriving Youth, Flourishing Communities” targeting concepts in healthy habits, STEM, and civic engagement. Youth also learned record keeping using Google classroom, participated in a family event showcasing their developing communication skills, and enjoyed rewards and recognition for their efforts.

The Payoff

Marin 4-H increased equity and access to programs that improve youth confidence in STEM

In total, 4-H reached 1,395 youth, 97% of which identify as Latino, in 15 schools and programs. We provided development to 48 staff and provided curriculum for 64 activities for eight grade levels (1-8). Participating students showed increased confidence in their scientific ability. Eighty-five percent of students responded, "strongly agree" or "agree" with the statement "My scientific ability will grow the more I try" compared to 36% a year ago. Students also responded, "strongly agree" or "agree" that they like science (72%), like to see how things are made or invented, (85%), like to build or construct things (85%), and want to learn more about engineering (77%).

Youth also reflected on their club experience and reported learning about building, science, plans, presenting and demonstrating. Participating in the program made students feel proud, excited, happy and glad. Participants shared that they improved at working with friends, listening and talking to people, and helped others by explaining, showing respecting and sharing.
4-H has helped Latino youth become more confident in their science and engineering abilities and helped youth to see themselves as the scientists and engineers of the future.


Allison Keaney, Program Representative, Marin county, alkeaney@ucanr.edu; Steven Worker, Academic Advisor, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties, smworker@ucanr.edu