For over 35 years, 4-H Urban Outreach has provided youth development programming to downtown neighborhoods to increase literacy, STEAM, social and life skills. The history of the program dates back to 1979, when Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Division for Youth of Tompkins County, and Abbott Associates collaborated together to develop a summer program at West Village Apartments. The original goal was to meet the recreational and educational needs of the youth living at West Village. Today, we hold after-school and summer 4-H Urban Outreach Programs at the West Village Apartments and Northside Apartment Complex.
Funded entirely through grants and in-kind services from community partners, donations and county dollars, 4-H Urban Outreach served approximately 131 youth in 2018 and held 232 after-school, weekend and summer programs in 2018. Participants in 4-H Urban Outreach have ranged in age from 5 to 19 living in downtown Ithaca. Through daily after school and summer educational enrichment programming, 4-H Urban Outreach provides youth with healthy relationships with adult role models, homework and literacy tutoring, STEAM field trips and engaging skill-building activities, exposure to the larger community, and opportunities for community engagement. Trained work-study students, staff, and volunteers provide ongoing mentoring and activities, leading to positive youth development. Our success depends on a large pool of dedicated volunteers and work study students, contributing over 4,300 hours per year.
Our neighborhood-based approach has been successful because it meets individuals' needs directly where they live; allowing families to build trust in the program, by knowing their children are in a safe location, and by getting to know on-site staff on an ongoing basis. 4-H Urban Outreach has been successful helping neighborhoods grow stronger and thrive by fostering relationships, providing resources, and promoting the learning of life skills. The program has a holistic goal of strengthening families and building community. In addition to ongoing youth development, we also partner with other CCE-Tompkins Educators to bring adult workshops directly to residents' neighborhoods.
Last updated June 24, 2019