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Local non-profit helping youth develop leadership skills

By: Telegraph Staff
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El Dorado Hills-based non-profit Hands4Hope (H4H) is known throughout the community for the work they do to support local area unmet needs through community service and service learning projects.

What some might not know is the projects and events are all led by local youth who led their peers in project development and implementation. This unique service learning model allows for the community to benefit from youth led projects, while the youth benefit from learning important life skills including: teamwork and communication;

project planning; goal setting, as well as time and budget management.

H4H is developing the next generation of leaders while instilling the importance of community engagement. H4H staff work hard each summer to train and support skill building for new and returning youth leaders. A strong partnership with the Coloma Outdoor Discovery School (CODS) coupled with H4H’s diverse and customized leadership curriculum allows for youth to have a fun and purposeful summer camp experience in the great outdoors of Coloma.

Twenty local high school and 17 local middle school leaders joined together, in their perspective teams, the last two weeks in July to learn and practice leadership and facilitation, as well as project development and management skills. Youth were also pushed to practice teamwork, problem solving and individual goal setting through work with CODS staff on both the high and low ropes course.

“My favorite activity of the day was the low ropes course because we were all able to work together in order to achieve a common goal. We learned a lot about each other, and it showed us what we would be doing for the rest of camp,” said a H4H youth leader through an anonymous survey from the end of the camp.

H4H youth leaders are now prepared, motivated and excited to start this school year off offering leadership in service learning across five middle schools – Camerado, Herbert Green, Marina and Rolling Hills – and four high schools – Folsom, Oak Ridge, Ponderosa, and Union Mine – to 250 of their peers. In addition, youth leaders will be helping to lead the ongoing community engagement and outreach efforts and events that occur throughout the year.

“I liked meeting with my club to begin planning for the year ahead,” said another H4H youth leader through the anonymous survey.

If you know a student who attends one of the schools mentioned above, and would like more information about joining an on-campus H4H Club, contact nicole@hands4hopeyouth.org. For more information on getting involved and/or volunteering in the community engagement and outreach opportunities, go to hands4hopeyouth.org.

H4H is a non-profit youth driven organization which offers education in service learning and community engagement opportunities. H4H serves youth in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties from Folsom to Placerville and has a mission to empower youth through service and leadership. H4He is comprised of youth participants ranging in grades from kindergarten through 12th grades.

For more information about H4H, go to hands4hopeyouth.org or call the H4H Youth Center at 916-294-7426.