Working with youth is always a GREAT IDEA, because it helps the community in the present and lays a foundation for the future. The Gridley Quota club in California, U.S.A., tapped into grant monies to implement a program in their community to teach kids about making choices.
Club member Christine Michelet found out about a grant program called Health Rocks, sponsored by the National 4–H Council. Some 32 communities throughout the United States were selected to receive funding to help young people.
Gridley Quota members used the funds to set up a program in the local county housing project, the most impoverished area of their community. A series of sessions were designed to help kids aged 8 to 12 learn to make healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
The program included media education to teach participants how to deal with advertisements and images that promote tobacco and to encourage them to choose not to smoke. Another session allowed kids to envision their futures and draw pictures to signify their lifestyles as a result of healthy choices. One dreamed of becoming a teacher, one a fireman, and yet another a prom queen.
Christine, who wrote the grant proposal and organized the project, says, “I know we had a wonderful time, but we hope that we were able to make a difference in the lives of these disadvantaged kids by encouraging them to think about what they want to do and set some goals for the future. The odds are against these kids in the projects, but we hope they learned that they have the right to make healthy choices.”