La Plata County 4-H is a partner of the Celebrating Healthy Communities coalition, which collaborates with organizations to provide education and awareness to community members.
A core model for the coalition’s educational outreach is the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. These assets are important tools to help young people live healthy, productive lives. Our coalition aims to increase the number of assets our youths acquire. By developing these assets, they are less likely to get involved in risky or harmful behaviors.
Each month, CHC announces a “Developmental Asset of the Month.” November’s asset was “service to others,” which falls under the category of empowerment and tries to ensure young people have access to meaningful service opportunities.
Community service is an integral component of the 4-H youth development program. Each member is required to participate in at least one activity throughout the year. However, sometimes a member goes above and beyond expectations.
I would like to highlight 4-H member Keyton Cugnini. Keyton is the son of Michael and Tiffany Cugnini of Durango. He is an 11-year-old intermediate member of the Mountaineers 4-H Club. He is the club’s secretary and is enrolled in beef and swine projects.
After church one Sunday, Keyton was struck by an announcement about 6-year-old Kodi Grace McAlvain. He learned Kodi had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and would be undergoing a 2½-year-long treatment of chemotherapy and blood transfusions.
This resonated with Keyton, as he has gone through challenging medical conditions in his life. In addition, Kodi is the granddaughter of Pat and Calvin Story, who are beloved supporters and sponsors of our local 4-H program.
Keyton wanted to help. With the help of his mother, Extension Office staff member Angela Fountain and his club leader, Doug Davis, Keyton created a donation challenge for Kodi. Keyton got his club to donate $350 and challenged other 4-H clubs to donate. The challenge was a great success, to say the least. In addition to the 4-H community, the greater La Plata County community got involved.
Nine of 14 clubs took on the challenge and have raised more than $1,000. In addition, after county commissioner Julie Westendorff heard about what Keyton was doing, she got involved.
Julie gave a monetary donation for each club that joined the challenge. Furthermore, she made Keyton’s day by giving him a call and recognizing him for his efforts.
“It is truly a blessing to live where we all can come together for a wonderful cause,” Keyton said about his experience.
With the holiday season upon us, we would like to thank Keyton for his service to others and for inspiring all of us to give back. We also wish Kodi and her family great strength and love during this time.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.