A Scioto County 4-H club has challenged other 4-H clubs to get involved in more community projects.
“We wanted our kids to learn to help others,” said Margaret Ouellette, adviser of the Hawg Wild club. “Kids complain ‘I can't have an Ipod.' They needed to learn there are a lot of kids a lot worse off than they are.”
With that in mind, Ouellette put together a project in which the 10 members of her club made play dough, and collected stuffed animals and money to buy stuffed animals for the children of women who live at Stepping Stone.
“Stepping Stone is our residential treatment program for people who have various addictions, primarily drugs and alcohol,” said Sally Schisler, of the Counseling Center. “What makes Stepping Stone so special is that the women are able to keep their children up to age 12 with them.”
Schisler said it is important for the children to be with their mothers.
“Addiction is a family disease, and families spiral down into the effects of the disease, so when they recover, they recover as a family,” she said.
Danielle Ginn, a 10-year-old at Portsmouth West Elementary School, was involved in taking the stuffed animals to the children at the center on Monday.
“I enjoyed it a lot, because they were in need and I wanted to help them,” Danielle said. “I think kids should become involved in projects like that because it's really nice.”
Hawg Wild covers a spectrum of activities, including raising animals.
“We teach the children the raising of market hogs,” Ouellette said. “But there are children who may live in the city who can't raise an animal, or children who can't afford to raise an animal, so we picked up art as an expression.”
Ouellette said the group takes hikes to places like Raven Rock in West Portsmouth, where they picnic, then sketch.
“We paint, we craft, and this year we're focusing on Indians of the Scioto Valley,” she said “We'll be taking the kids to see ‘Tecumseh' as well.”
Ouellette, who lives on a farm on Mackeltree Road, said she believes 4-H clubs should become more involved in the community.
“Most of the time we focus on marketing, and not on giving back,” she said. “We need to concentrate on giving back to the community.”