Members of the North Ridgeville Ridge Kids 4-H Club visited residents of The Commons Independent Living, part of Sprenger Healthcare, in Avon Lake on Saturday, March 26.
Senior center staff member, Anne Naumann, first reached out to the Lorain County Extension Office to see if any 4-H clubs would be interested in visiting with the seniors with animals.
When the club advisors mentioned the idea to the North Ridgeville Ridge Kids, the club members voted with an overwhelming majority to bring their animals to visit as part of this community service opportunity and long-awaited return of in-person programming to the seniors.
4-H is a youth development program in which students practice leadership and citizenship skills and make connections with their club, community, and world. Visiting with the seniors provided an opportunity for the Ridge Kids to practice public speaking skills as they introduced themselves and their animals, and then went around the room to share information and provide the seniors an up-close and personal visit with the critters including guinea pigs, rabbits, pigs, hamster, and a pygmy goat.
Two members even brought informational posters about their chickens to educate the seniors how the current spread of avian influenza prevented them from bringing their poultry in person for the recommended safety of the birds.
“I enjoyed having conversations with the seniors and seeing them smile,” said Ashley McDowell, a nine-year member of the club from North Ridgeville, showing her Abyssinian guinea pig. “It was a very fun experience overall and it was a good learning activity for many of the younger club members as well.”
“I can’t thank you and your club enough,” Anne wrote to the club advisor. “A resident just came down and said, ‘with all the bad things going on in the world, this was just what we needed today!’
“Thank you [to the Ridge Kids] for making our world just a little bit kinder.”
4-H is a youth development program that fosters skill development and encourages youth to practice leadership and citizenship while developing a connection with their community and world. https://lorain.osu.edu/program-areas/4-h-youth-development.
The North Ridgeville Ridge Kids range in age from 5 to 16 and live in North Ridgeville, Elyria, Grafton, Columbia Station, Avon Lake, and surrounding communities. The students participate in service opportunities, educational activities, and complete projects in their individual interest areas to show at the Lorain County Fair each year in August. www.facebook.com/RidgeKids4H