4-H Leaders Honored With Chatham County United Way Outstanding Volunteer Award
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Chatham County 4-H recently nominated Lindsay Shore-Wright and Jazmin Mendoza-Sosa, co-leaders of the Clover Creators 4-H Community Club, for their outstanding commitment to volunteerism and for serving youth in their community. Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa’s dedication to improving their community through positively impacting the lives of youth is not only demonstrated through their volunteer work with Chatham County 4-H but also through their chosen profession; Ms. Shore-Wright is the Media Coordinator at Virginia Cross Elementary and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa is the Communities in Schools-Chatham County Student Support Specialist at Virginia Cross Elementary.
While all volunteers are altruistic, lending their time, knowledge, and talents for the betterment of their community, the volunteer contributions of Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa have been exceptional due to the direct and lasting impact of their volunteerism. The Clover Creators 4-H Community Club is a bilingual, bi-cultural club based in Siler City, where, in 2017, 43.5% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and 29.1% of the population were living in poverty (data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 5-year Estimate). Youth living in poverty and/or a minority are at an increased risk for experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which can adversely affect their lives. However, research has shown that the consequences of ACEs can often be mitigated by the presence of protective factors, which include the following: (1) close relationships with a competent, caring adult (especially when the adult is knowledgeable of youth development and utilizes positive parenting skills); (2) social connections; (3) individual developmental competencies; (4) recognizing and fostering a sense of purpose; and (5) communities and social systems that support health and development (Minnesota Department of Health). Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa, as co-leaders of the Clover Creators 4-H Community Club, consistently create an environment that cultivates all of these protective factors.
In the past year, seventeen members of the Clover Creators 4-H Community Club have participated in monthly meetings, programs, and activities at the county, district, and state levels. At the county level, they participated in County Activity Day, a mock Board of Commissioner meeting, and three community service projects—trash pick-up in Siler City, painting benches at Bray Park, and holding a food drive for the West Chatham Food Pantry. At the district and state level, five of the members participated in District Activity Day, where all five won gold, silver, or bronze and were invited to compete in 4-H State Presentations. All members placed at 4-H State Presentations. Following 4-H State Presentations, two members participated in 4-H Congress. For some of the youth, this was the first time they ever traveled outside of the county or visited a university. It is because of Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa’s dedication, leadership, perseverance, and passion that these youth are developing life skills, building confidence, and being exposed to enlightening experiences, all while overcoming barriers related to language differences, as well as lack of internet access and transportation. Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa are dedicated to the betterment of their community, and they are developing youth who are dedicated to the betterment of their community.
It is evident that Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa wholeheartedly believe in the vision of our organization: “A world in which youth and adults learn, grow, and work together as a catalyst for positive change;” and support our mission: “4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.” Their belief and support are demonstrated through their daily actions and commitment to the youth and organization they serve. They embody the qualities, characteristics, and passion required to be an exceptional volunteer, and are worthy of receiving the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Shore-Wright and Ms. Mendoza-Sosa received recognition at the Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, April 20, when a resolution will be passed honoring their volunteer accomplishments. United Way will be mailing their certificates signed by the County Commissioners, along with their state certificates signed by the Governor the last week of April.
Congratulations, Mrs. Shore-Wright and Ms. Medoza-Sosa for this well-deserved honor!