Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on April 15, 2002. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Program grants dollars and pride to youth
By Ashley Crawford
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi youth gain pride in themselves and in their communities through a unique environmental improvement program.
Community Pride is a grants and awards program sponsored by the ChevronTexaco Companies and administered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
"The program helps provide youth with incentives to improve their local environment. The grants are intended to stimulate additional investments by the local community," said Rae Wilkinson, 4-H program specialist with the MSU Extension Service. "By investing in environmental education projects for youth in grades kindergarten to12, the program helps youth learn cooperative skills that will bring success and prepare them as future leaders."
The Community Pride program empowers youth-serving organizations to plan and conduct community improvement projects with emphasis on improving the environment.
Groups submit applications on March 1 and Nov. 1 for projects to be completed within a year's time. Grants of up to $400 are awarded to quality projects that provide environmental awareness and improve the natural environment within a community. Projects range from soil conservation and gardening to recycling programs and community beautification. The best Community Pride programs receive awards and recognition at congressional district and statewide levels.
Melanie Hubbard, a 4-H volunteer in Forrest County, has helped her local 4-H club receive six Community Pride grants. The most recent program received the lieutenant governor's award and involved 24 youth and eight adults who continued the cleanup of Leaf River after an oil spill in December 1999.
"Our goal was to clean up the river banks and restore the wild game that were lost due to the oil spill," Hubbard said.
The group planted trees along the river's bank to prevent future erosion, built nesting housing for wood ducks, constructed bedding sites for fish and erected feeders to entice wild game back into the area.
"Community Pride teaches youth to be community-minded and to help protect and conserve the environment," Hubbard said. "It allows them to look back and know that they were a part of making a worthwhile project come together."
A total of $12,506 in potential grants will be awarded to 38 projects this spring.
"Efforts become reality when the Community Pride participants acquire that sense of community and pride in working together to improve the community and enhance the environment," Wilkinson said.
For more information on the Community Pride program, contact the local county Extension office.