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4-H Youth Development: Reaching Diverse Audiences, Building Understanding of Diversity

The Issue

California is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation. It has 35% of all Latino children in the U.S., 30% of all Asian and Pacific Islanders and 14% of all Native Americans (Children Now, 1992). Approximately 62% of California’s youth under age 18 are children of color. Additionally, California leads the nation in the number of new immigrants. In order to function effectively and successfully in today’s world, our youth must learn how to work well with people from a wide diversity of cultures and backgrounds.

What Has ANR Done?

The California 4-H Youth Development Program has created new programs and delivery modes to reach underserved audiences. We have integrated the value of diversity into our strategic planning for the decade ahead. We have developed financial assistance programs to ensure that cost does not deter participation. By working to ensure diversity within the program, we not only reach more youth but we help all of them develop skills in understanding, valuing and bridging differences. In addition, state and national exchange programs help youth gain skills in understanding global diversity. For example, the 4-H Japanese Exchange Program hosts Japanese youth and sends young Californians to Japan to spend a month living with a Japanese family.

The Payoff

4-H Youth Development Program reaches a diverse population

More than half of the youth who participate in the 4-H Youth Development Program are children of color. Many are from low-income families who might not be able to afford the costs of many youth development opportunities. More than 40% of 4-H youth live in cities; approximately 30% live on a farm or in rural communities where other youth development opportunities may not exist. In short, the California 4-H Youth Development Program is reaching diverse youth in diverse contexts throughout the state, working with all our youth in understanding and appreciating diversity.

Clientele Testimonial

“I am very grateful for your giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful experience. My horizons were widened and brightened…This is due to your financial help.” –Youth participant

“I want to thank you for allowing us to open our home and hearts to the wonderful Japanese families we have met through this program. I know I have been enriched by the interactions with these families and I cannot begin to express the unprecedented growth experience for [my child]!” –Parent of youth participant in the Japanese exchange program


Supporting Unit: California 4-H Youth Development Program

California 4-H Youth Development Program
Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California, Davis
One Hopkins Road
Davis, CA 95616-8575