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Helping Hands Grant provides 4-H access to Hmong-American youth

Over the years, Asian Media Access, based in North Minneapolis, has become a beacon of hope and opportunity for Asian and non-Asian youth alike, providing opportunities for cultural dance performance, skills development in technology and graphic arts, service learning, academic enrichment, and project-based learning. In a partnership with Urban 4-H of Hennepin County, and funded by the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, the Stand Up! Participate! project was crafted to explore how positive youth development principles could be incorporated to enhance the powerful work already being done with and for Asian Media Access youth participants.

The first Stand Up! Participate! group to grow from this partnership, named the Hmong Mother-Daughter Club by its members, targets Hmong youth aged 7-18 years old. Their club mixes leadership development opportunities with arts education (dance, Hmong needlework and traditional foods), intergenerational learning (mothers and daughters together), and student-led community service projects. Last August the youth's creations were showcased at Urban 4-H Day at the Minnesota State Fair.

The 13 youth and 9 adult participants benefited from a club environment that encouraged the honest expression of concerns that are often difficult to share, even in the family circle. The youth-identified community issues they addressed within their club included healthy living, cultural practices, and domestic violence.

Survey results clearly show that this type of club serves youth participants well in terms of developing self-esteem, relationship building, creative problem solving, and providing emotional and social support in a welcoming and supportive environment. The youth survey data indicates that participants made significant gains at social and emotional skills. More than 94% of youth participants stated that they feel welcome at the club, like being in the programs, and feel adult club leaders care about them. An overwhelming majority of participants stated that the program helped them feel good about themselves and get along with others.

The success of this new club was influence by several community partners, including Extension Health and Nutrition Educators from Hennepin County and the University Research and Outreach Center in North Minneapolis.

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation is proud to support the Stand Up! Participate! 4-H project through it's Helping Hands Grant program, which prioritizes increasing access to 4-H for new audiences.

If you'd like to provide a 4-H helping hand during the Minnesota 4-H Foundation's next funding cycle, please contact Erin Kelly-Collins at or 612-624-7667.

By Jessica Jerney
Program Coordinator
Urban 4-H

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