Skip to main content

"4-H is teaching me how to be a responsible leader. I can take that to college to make a difference, influence others."

Ermias is a Minnesota
4-H True Leader
Ermias is a 17 year-old member of 4-H who lives in South St. Paul. As a teen teacher in the Dakota County 4-H Youth Teaching Youth (YTY) program, Ermias is building leadership and communication skills while helping young people make healthy living choices.

"I heard about YTY through an afterschool community service group I'm in. Kirsten [4-H staff] helped me learn more about the program, get enrolled, and find opportunities to be trained and teach."

Teams of 4-H Youth Teaching Youth teen teachers learn a healthy living curriculum and then deliver lessons to classes of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Topics include healthy eating, cooking, disease prevention and awareness, and choosing to be active.

Ermias proudly helping younger youth learn
healthy living strateiges
"So far, my favorite topic to teach has been about eating habits. We talked about the importance of fruit and grains and how to read nutrition labels. We also do an activity about which liquids are best to drink. Did you know that chocolate and strawberry milk has a ton of added sugar? I had no idea! The kids learn a lot when we visit them and so do I."

Kirsten Pederson is a 4-H program coordinator who leads the Youth Teaching Youth program in West and South St. Paul. Ermias is one of 15 teens who partner with Kirsten to encourage healthy choices in the youth of northern Dakota County.

"Ermias is a natural with the kids," Kirsten mentioned recently. "You can see them immediately respect him and respond to his easy nature.  He has so many connections at the elementary school where we visit.  Teachers and staff light up when they see him."

Ermias and fellow teen teachers receiving award
from Dakota County board of commissioners
Ermias is a role model for youth around him. As a YTY teen teacher, he is making contributions to his community in ways others have modeled for him.

"When I was a kid, my friends’ parents would come into our classroom and teach us cool things. I'm glad for this opportunity to give back and help other kids have similar experiences to my own."

Ermias just completed his junior year in the International Baccalaureate program at South St. Paul Secondary School. He enjoys running track and participating in college-prep activities through Upward Bound. He lives with his parents and five siblings, including his littlest sister who is also in 4-H.

"4-H is teaching me how to be a responsible leader. I can take that learning into college and use it to make a difference, influence others. I have a lot of fun too."

The 4-H Healthy Living initiative in Dakota County is conducted in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development. Funding is provided by a grant from CHS Inc.

University of Minnesota
Extension Center for Youth Development

Print Friendly and PDF