OSU 4-H attitudes for success program wins national award

January 27, 2006

PENDLETON, Ore. - Attitudes for Success, an Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Youth leadership program, has been honored as one of the nation's five top 4-H programs in 2005 for helping rural, disadvantaged families build better futures.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, in cooperation with the National 4-H Council, recognized Attitudes for Success as an exemplary 4-H program. The award includes a $15,000 grant to be used for future program development. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization.

"The Attitudes for Success program helps Hispanic students enhance their leadership skills, and encourages them to complete high school and pursue further career preparation including college education," said Patricia Dawson, 4-H youth development field faculty member in the Umatilla County office of the OSU Extension Service.

Dawson co-coordinates the program with Bill Broderick, 4-H youth development field faculty member in Morrow County.

Now in its 16th year, the Attitudes for Success 4-H program partners with 14 middle schools and high schools in Morrow and Umatilla counties.

The program features two major components. One is a youth leadership board that includes two to three Hispanic youths from each of the partner schools and adult mentors. The other component is an annual youth leadership conference where student participants attend educational workshops and view exhibits set up by education providers, youth conference sponsors and health agencies.

"The program is student-driven," said Dawson. "In monthly meetings, our youth leadership board members participate in leadership skills activities and begin planning the annual conference, informed by input they receive from other Hispanic students at each of the 14 partner schools. This approach gives students a lead role in planning to ensure that the conference offers content that Hispanic students want and need."

Hispanic adult mentors from Oregon and other western states participate in the program to help students appreciate a broad range of career possibilities.

According to Dawson, Attitudes for Success also benefits the parents who learn more about 4-H via the participation of their children and become aware of the program's primary message about the value of continued education.

Surveys indicate that 98 percent of the students who participate in the program are more likely to pursue higher education, she added.

"This award is great recognition for all the students, parents, volunteers, faculty and staff at the 14 partner schools who have worked so hard to make the program a success," said Dawson. "The grant will help us improve program materials and develop an Attitudes for Success website to offer resources for students and Extension Service educators in other states who want to know more about our program."

Author: Bob Rost
Source: Patricia Dawson