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4-H and Kent Kids Sponsored Back to School Night in Dover is a Hugh Success

ISSUE: Although there are many and various community service organizations offering free or low-cost services to eligible families in Kent County, Delaware, the awareness of those programs and services by the population served is low. As a result, youth and families in Kent County, DE go without those needed services and monies set aside for these families and youth go unused and returned. Also, there are many youth in Kent County whose families are not able to provide them with adequate school supplies to begin school, causing them to fall behind other students, do poorly, act out, and can sometimes lead to bullying and violence.

IMPACT: The Young Health Program IM40, through the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H service, coordinated a Back 2 School Family Fun Fair in early September 2013 to increase awareness of community services and programs through the bringing together some of the county organizations with free or low-cost programs or services and the families that could benefit from them in an open, family-engaging setting. 18 different Kent County organizations filled the space at Dover Park and over 100 adults and 130 youth from Kent County attended the fair. From those, more than 100 youth walked away with backpacks filled with school supplies for the new school year, and nearly every adult walked away with not only an increased awareness of the community services and programs offered, but also having interacted with those service organizations and physical information on how to take advantage of those services and programs. Near the end of the event, one grandmother who’d brought several of her grandchildren to participate said,
“I want the names and numbers of the people that set this up.” She stated she wanted to; “send thank you cards to them” for giving her grandkids what she has had difficulty providing, school supplies and a safe family night.

COLLABORATORS & CONTRIBUTORS: Kent Kids coalition, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H Young Health Program IM40, Kent Pediatrics, Delaware State Fire School, Kent/Dover Metropolitan Planning Organization, Delaware State University Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Delaware State University College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, United Way of Delaware, Telamon Head Start, Capital School District, AstraZeneca, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Delaware, Catholic Charities, Dover Parks and Recreation, First State Community Action, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H Health Rocks!, Fifer Orchards, Dominoes Pizza, Tidewater Utilities, DAPI, Inc., Help Me Grow/Delaware 211, Connecting Generations, and the Dover Boys & Girls Club. CONTACT: Sequoia Rent, Youth Health Program Coordinator, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development, 69 TransportationCircle, Dover, DE, , 302-730-4000, Email: srent@udel.edu