Thanks to her 4H Club activities, 15-yearold Emily Freeman appears well on her way to deciding a future career as a scientist — or running for political office.
The Kendall teenager took a moment to think about those choices after helping more than 100 students learn about wind turbines at Oliver Hoover Elementary School during March.
“My goals lie either in academic science or political science,” she said. “Right now, I’m not sure which. Being active in the community is something I’ve really come to enjoy through 4H Club.”
Only becoming active two years ago, Emily went to Tallahassee to get a taste of politics during a 4H program teaching how state government works.
“I lobbied against a bill that would permit speeds of 90 miles an hour on expressways,” she laughed. “I’m glad it didn’t pass, even as a fun exercise.”
Now as president of the Miami-Dade 4H Youth Council, Freeman was appointed recently to the Miami-Dade Commission’s 27-member Youth Advisory Council by Commissioner Xavier Suarez, helping fuel her interest in civic affairs.
Meanwhile, while attending a home-learning school program, she has become a leader in 4H programs, which encourages new membership through demonstrations of hands-on activities throughout Miami Dade schools.
For more than four hours on Mar. 21, Emily, along with volunteer 4H advisor Julie Diaz, was busy in Hoover Elementary’s media center, teaching fourth grade students about the power of wind as a source of energy. Youngsters diligently cut out paddle shapes or divided Styrofoam cups in halves to fashion miniature pinwheels that whirled to impart a flow of energy.
“Adapting these simple examples shows the types of things that can aid Third World countries needing even primitive energy sources, just to provide electricity in homes and stores,” she explained.
“Emily is one of our outstanding members, and Hoover Elementary is one of our best ongoing programs,” said Kathie Roberts, 4H Miami-Dade agent.
“Xonia Perez directs a group of 30 fourth graders who planted and tended a vegetable garden. She sold heads of lettuce at $1 each to help fund the club’s activities.”
When Suzanne Wojcik, a physical education teacher at Citrus Grove Elementary was directed to teach nutrition, she immediately contacted 4H Extension because she knew the organization had a hands-on, visual program involving students in creative learning, Roberts said. Through Miami-Dade Agricultural Extension services, 860 students countywide also have learned hand washing, seed planting, water conservation, vegetable identification, fitness and a healthy food pyramid that includes seafood nutrition. More than 10,000 Miami-Dade youth (ages five to 18) help develop life skills through its extra-curricular programs.
“We’re not just about pigs and cows,” Freeman added.
For details of 4H Club activities and membership, call 305-592-9044 or visit miamidade.ifas.uf/edu.4H.
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