October 2015: Meet the Extension Educator from Kansas State University

Meet Barbara Stone, Department Head and Assistant Director of Kansas 4-H Youth Development. Below is an abstarct of Kansas State University’s program, New Families, as well as our Q+A with Dr. Stone, who will be answering your questions on Wednesday.


The First Generation 4-H Families Initiative at Kansas State University, K-State Research and Extension (KSRE) is addressing the changing demographics across Kansas and engaging new and underserved youth.

The KSRE 4-H Youth Development program is growing in Kansas by

  • building staff capacity
  • engaging bilingual and bicultural interns to assist in reaching new families
  • designing culturally sensitive programming
  • using research-based strategies that attract and prepare volunteers to meet the demand

The goal of the initiative is to 1) pilot and establish new clubs in which the youth fully participate in KSRE 4-H projects and experiences that are relevant to their bicultural identity; 2) provide training and guidance to help staff and volunteers become culturally sensitive, and 3) examine systems and processes that help KSRE 4-H youth development achieve the goals of the project and build sustainability for the future.

As part of the First Generation 4-H Families initiative, youth participate in local and regional KSRE 4-H youth development events and in programs on the Kansas State University campus.  Parents report that they value the KSRE 4-H program and the experiences prepare their children to think about and set goals for the future, become acquainted with opportunities for college and career readiness and become more socially integrated into their communities through service.

As a public/private partnership, the First Generation 4-H Families initiative brings critical resources, expertise and shared learning together to shape an innovative model for reaching new and underserved youth and adult audiences across the state.

Q: How does K-State reach and connect with rural families?

We reach rural families by planning educational programs that are real world and relevant to their families’ needs.

Q: When did the New Families program start?

The program started in 2013 with support from the agriculture sector.

Q: How many families have you reached thus far?

4-H has been growing in Kansas over the past 3 years – over 9 % in 2015. Many are new families.

Q: What are the main goals of the New Families program?

To introduce new and underserved youth to 4-H, leadership skills, and career and workforce readiness.

Q: What does Cooperative Extension mean to you?

Providing relevant knowledge and education to help youth, families, businesses and communities across Kansas.

Q: What does 4-H mean to you?

Preparing young people to make a positive impact in their communities and the world.


About Agriculture is America

Agriculture is America. In short, the agriculture industry — sustained in large part by the American land-grant university system through both Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension — is integral to jobs, national security, and health.

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