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Center for Engagement and Community Development

Bolton Brings Education to New 4-Hers

Professor Debra Bolton, Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist, said there is one goal that every U.S. family has in common: “Families want the American dream,” said Bolton.

The problem, according to Bolton, is many families don’t know the process to get there. That’s where Reaching New Audiences in 4-H, Bolton’s engagement incentive grant project, comes in.

The idea of the project is to target 4-H members who are new to the program and to research new audiences.

While Bolton said, “expansion into other counties is always going to be a goal,” the focus is on Finney County. With a racial minority rate of 52 percent, Bolton wants to help these families finish high school and seek higher education. She believes it is important to help these groups find activities that play to their strengths.

Bolton’s goal for the parents is “to connect them to resources for supporting the path to college and to introduce them to resources on campus.”

Another goal she has includes increasing college readiness in middle and high school students and connecting those students to resources for help. She would also like to help students in K-8 feel comfortable on campus by having activities in common areas like Hale library and the Student Union. This type of engaged work helps 4-Hers reach their full potential, according to Bolton.

Bolton acknowledges that pursuing this type of engaged work can appear intimidating to other faculty members, but encourages the idea. “You might learn more about yourself,” said Bolton, “and walk away from it [the experience] enriched.”

She also said that people can be hesitant to move out of their comfort zones. Branching out and trying new things, however, can be a “new way of doing our day to day business.” Bolton encourages faculty following this kind of work to learn along with students.

Bolton plans to continue this work in the future, and is pleased that CECD is ready to help. “It’s nice to have support so we can continue to grow,” she said.