Head, Hands, Heart, Health: Learn by Doing in 4-H

4-H Happy Art
Art HOPE “Happy Art” created by 4-H volunteers

Art HOPE is proud to announce we have a 4-H Club, and are part of the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, reaching more than 6 million 4-H youth in urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards and rural farming communities. For over 100 years 4-H programs have engaged young people in hands-on learning activities that help them reach their full potential, working in their communities with peers and adult mentors. The 4-H motto is to “make the best, better” and members pledge, “my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater loyalty, my HANDS to larger service, and my HEALTH to better living, for my club, my community and my world.” These values inspire how 4-H’ers learn by doing, supported by university-backed curriculum and our nation’s Cooperative Extension System in the areas of science, healthy living, and sustainability.

In 2005 Art HOPE first developed a youth service learning collaboration with the York County 4-H, launching our “Happy Art” project and an origami curriculum which became a model for the “Taking Flight” program being launched at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital this fall. The Art HOPE Youth Service in Healthcare Program in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension York County 4-H is on-going, with educational outreach at area schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and community-based events. This year our annual art table at the Acton Fair in the 4-H Pavillion drew a crowd of young volunteer artists who painted a plethora of Happy Art cards. It was fun and enjoyable for all to see art in action at the old-fashioned country fair. If you have a community service project, the 4-H knows how to roll up their sleeves, grab a paint brush and get the job done with a smile.

Creative hands-on learning results in better educational outcomes. An experiential arts-based education improves verbal, written, math, and science achievement, expands imaginative thinking, instills self-discipline and motivation, promotes understanding and communication with others, and prepares students with real life skills. It is important that we support a creative arts education for our children, and for all people at a community level. Creativity is not necessarily teachable, more importantly it is a quality that needs nurturing and that can be modeled by positive example. Throughout our lifetime we have the ability to learn through experiential creativity, learning by doing the things we love to do. With the back-to-school smell of fall in the air, think about what you love to do and commit to learning something new in a hands-on way. If it’s in your head, touches your heart, comes alive in your hands, and brings you well-being and health, then you are a member of the Art HOPE 4-H Club. Make your best self better by creative learning and doing.

The Art HOPE Youth Service in Healthcare Program is supported by the Bingham Program, a Charitable Endowment of Tufts Medical Center.  The program engages 4-H youth from ages 4 to 18, work-study students, and college interns. Look for more information about this project and other great updates on our website next month.