February 20, 2008

The Economic Impact of Pinellas County 4-H Youth Development

Janet Golden, 4-H Program Leader
By Janet Golden, 4-H Program Leader

According to Richard Lerner from Tufts University, “Enough data has been gathered and analyzed to share statistically valid information that not only proves that 4-H youth development programs strengthen and improve communities, but also youth in 4-H are more likely to thrive and succeed than those who are not in 4-H.”

Lerner’s 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD) found that:

  • 4-H youth are 41% more likely to contribute to themselves, their families and their communities, compared to youth in other activities (28 percent) or no activities at all (17 percent).

  • Youth in 4-H programs are more likely to be civically engaged than other youth.

  • Involvement in 4-H increases a young person’s potential of doing well.

  • 4-H reduces the likelihood that young people will engage in risk behaviors, such as underage drinking, smoking, bullying, etc.
Pinellas 4-H programs target specific youth development life skills as outcomes for young people. How effective has 4-H been in helping youth develop skills? These are the five life skills integrated into almost every 4-H program or activity:

By providing youth ages 5-18 in Pinellas County opportunities to learn leadership, citizenship, and life skills through postive youth development experiences, economic benefits are significant.
  • The cost of incarcerating a youth for one day is $159 (average stay 13 days). 4-H is able to provide intensive youth development programming to over 7,500 youth a year which potentially saves taxpayers $15.5 million in incarceration costs.

  • The cost of underage drinking to the state of Florida is $2,383 per year for each youth in the state. 4-H potentially saves the taxpayers $18 million dollars by providing youth opportunities to develop citizenship, leadership, and life skills.

  • In 2007 4-H volunteers (youth & adult) contributed 13,841 hours of service to the community with a value of $260,000 to the community.
For more information about the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development at Tufts University :

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