Access, Equity and Belonging

 About Access, Equity and Belonging Committee (AEBC) or Champion Workgroups

Your Coordinator: I am Ani Das, writing to you as the AEBC coordinator. I am so grateful for the opportunity. My journey with the AEBC came along much before I was 4-H staff. In the Spring of 2018, when I was working for Communities Economic Development, I was requested to provide training to the State and County staff on the topic of refugee and immigrant youth. I feel it came full circle when I was asked to coordinate the efforts for the LGBTQi+ champions group in the fall of 2018 and eventually chosen to coordinate the committee.

AEBC falls greatly in the realm of work I have been doing with Iowa 4-H and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Over the last year I have worked to provide professional support and resources around cultural competency for county and state staff so that programs of Iowa 4-H would be accessible to all youth, volunteers, communities, and partners—and they feel they belong. If you are interested to learn more or join any of the champion groups, please do not hesitate to email me (

Purpose: The main purpose of the AEBC or the Champion Workgroups is to empower all State and County staff:

  • to develop competencies and skills
  • to create an experience and environment of belonging for all youth to reach their full potential
  • to create an opportunity for leadership, networking and collaboration across the state and county level

Memberships: AEBC is an open and inclusive committee—all are welcome to be part of the Committee. We look for

  • staff from across the state
  • 4-H Youth interested to lead and support the efforts
  • members of community organizations already advocating for Champion Workgroup populations.

See the job description of the members of the AEBC or the Champion Workgroups.

Startup Support: Each Champion group has been allotted $1,000 this fiscal year (2019-2020) to cover costs associated with:

  • face-to-face meetings,
  • competency and skill development resources (trainings, low cost conference attendance).
  • table reservations for events and conferences, etc.

With assistance and support from the Coordinator, each group will need to determine, collaboratively as a team, how to utilize these funds or what ask to make.


LGBTQi+ Champion Group

One of the first to start, this champion group has been collaborating over the past 9 months, identifying their mission, priority areas and goals; hosting two face-to-face retreat; and meeting monthly via zoom. They are working on building skills to be true allies for youth, staff, and volunteers who identify as part of the LGBTQi+ community.  Members of the LGBTQi+ Champions Group members have:

  • attended the Human Rights Campaign Time to THRIVE Conference
  • hosted an Iowa 4-H exhibitor booth at the Iowa Safe Schools’ Annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQi+ Youth in April and at different Pride fests throughout Iowa
  • planned to have representation at the Iowa Trans Education Summit.

Find out more about the group by

Links to LGBTQ+ Organizations & Resources

Upcoming Events:

April 10, 2020 - Des Moines, IA - Annual Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth

Mental Health Champion Group

The members from this workgroup are moving along at lightning speed.

Youth in Foster Care Champion Group

The members from this workgroup have been discussing some ways to muddle through the complex issues of fostering and the socio-political structure behind it. They have been thinking of ways to increase awareness, knowledge, and improve partnership with community organizations that already work and support this population.

Youth with Disability Champion Group
The members are identifying ways to increase knowledge and awareness of the complex issue of youth with disability. They have identified a need to improve accommodation for all our programs.

Racial and Ethnic Youth Champion Group

This groups plans to increase the awareness and knowledge of all state and county staff on the topic. They have been brainstorming several ideas to identify their purpose and increase Iowa 4-H’s capacity to reach, serve and advocate for youth in this area.

Refugee and Immigrant Youth Champion Group
The group discussed the complexity of engaging with the refugee and immigrant community. They have been brainstorming the purpose of the group. So far, they know they want to make the group a welcoming place to learn and increase awareness, and improve partnerships with community organizations serving the needs of refugee and immigrant youth.