MUSCATINE, Iowa -- Over the past two years Muscatine County has developed a Latino 4-H Club called Juntos. The club got its name because the members meet during the “Juntos Para Una Mejor Educación (Together for a Better Education),” workshop series.
Juntos means together in Spanish. The workshop series is aimed at uniting the community to provide Latino middle and high school students and their parents with knowledge, skills and resources to encourage education, said Krista Regennitter, Muscatine County extension director with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
The Juntos program encourages families to help their youth gain access to college. The Juntos workshop series strives to bring families together and support each other. The objectives of the Juntos 4-H Club are to increase youth’s abilities to succeed in high school and to discover benefits of higher education and to be able to attain a college education. Another objective is to help Latino families and community members to come together as a support group to help each other.
The Juntos 4-H club offers leadership training and team building skills. Adult volunteer leader Becky Vargas aims to keep a positive environment for the youth.
One student from the club said, “Juntos has helped me talk to my family about college.”
Students lead the meetings for the Juntos 4-H club. This keeps the students interested and they talk about what they choose to do, Vargas said.
During the first year of the club, the students worked with retired community members in Muscatine, so they joined in with the Diversity Center to do some activities in the community. The Diversity Center of Iowa provides services to individuals through the immigration process. The center also creates community support for minorities and under-served senior citizens. The students are looking forward to working with animals this year.
Last year was the first time in 4-H for all of the students. Twelve students made some buckets for the bucket brigade at the county fair. Three students participated in photography and entered their photos in an exhibit at the county fair.
The Juntos program hosted a family night in October. In November another family workshop series will begin with a new set of parents and students. Juntos 4-H Club is planning on going to the Maize conference in April and also the 4-H Youth Conference in June.
One of the students from Juntos said, “Juntos has increased my family’s communication – we spend time together (family nights).”
For more information about the Juntos 4-H Club in Muscatine County, contact Krista Regennitter, firstname.lastname@example.org or 563-263-5701.