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Looking out for others

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GIVING BACK:Members of the Miami County 4-H Junior Leaders present homemade tie blankets to staff members of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.
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THE SWEETEST GIFT:Junior Leaders members show off their decorated sugar cookies they also gifted to members of the MCSO when the tie blankets were delivered.
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MAKING PROGRESS:Junior Leaders members show off the progress of their tie blanket before delivering them to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

by Brian Powers - bpowers@perutribune.com

In an effort to give back to the community, the Miami County 4-H Junior Leaders took their profits from their lemon shake-up stand from the most recent fair season, and turned them into something applicable for the winter months, according to the Purdue Extension-Miami County office.

Extension Educator- 4-H Youth Development Corey Roser said the kids spent a good part of the end of 2018 focusing on giving back to the community, including holding a food drive that ended up collecting nearly 130 food and personal care items for Miami County Helping Hands.

According to a release from the office, the Junior Leaders members made 20 tie blanket at their Nov. 29 meeting with intentions to donate them to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

“At the holiday part on Dec. 18, the kids decorate sugar cookies, participated in some leadership building activities and holiday games,” the release stated. “They ended the evening by delivering the cookies and previously made blankets to the Miami County Sheriff’s Department for them to hand out to children who need them in the coming winter months.”

According to Rosen, the deputies were thrilled with the gifts, and said the blankets were meant for deputies to carry with them, should they come across a child who needs one while on patrol or out on a call.

Though this was the first year for the blankets, Roser said he’d like to see it become a more frequent presence in the repertoire of the Junior Leaders’ deeds. He also said the members of the MCSO were also happy with the gesture.

“They were really excited about it,” Roser said. “They were overjoyed to get the blankets, and the cookies helped, too.”

Roser said there are an average of close to 50 participants in the Junior Leaders program each year; a program with really only two major requirements: the member must be a 4-H member and be between grades 7 and 12.

According to Roser, the program has multiple purposes.

“It helps teach kids leadership and workforce development skills,” he said. “The members also act as mentors to junior 4-H members, too.”

Though there are no concrete plans for any Junior Leaders events as of yet, Roser said the group has annual events such as assisting with a pancake day toward the end of February, helping with the master gardeners plant sale and judging projects during the 4-H Fair.

“Although this is a bit more in-depth than most, this is also still considered a 4-H project,” Roser said.