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4-H dimes help build Habitat house in Atlanta

By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia

For the past five years, 4-H’ers from across America have been collecting and donating dimes to finance building a Habitat for Humanity house in Atlanta. On Saturday, Nov. 25, at National 4-H Congress, more than 1,200 4-H members will make a final donation during a citizenship ceremony that will bring the total funds raised to $52,000.

“When 4-H celebrated its centennial in 2002, each Congress participant brought 100 dimes to donate to a good cause to mark the anniversary,” said Susan Stewart, executive director of National 4-H Congress. “They have continued the tradition each of the past five years to reach their goal of more than $50,000 to fund the house.”

Lt. General Russel Honore, commander of the 1st Army at Fort Gillem near Atlanta and an outstanding former Louisiana 4-H’er, will speak to the 4-H'ers during the citizenship assembly. Honore gained national attention when he commanded troops in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

The 4-H’ers partnered with employees of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta to build the house. Building began in October, and the ribbon will be cut Monday, Nov. 27. Miss America 2006, Jennifer Berry, will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

Besides the money collected, each state will bring the new homeowner a housewarming gift. Each region of the country was given a designated room to donate gifts for.

National 4-H Congress is the annual gathering of selected 4-H members from across the nation in the ninth through the 12th grades to participate in leadership, citizenship and community service.

The 4-H program is a nationwide youth development program of land-grant universities in each state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

There are 6.5 million 4-H’ers in the United States. The 4-H program is supported by 538,000 adult volunteers and more than 60 million 4-H alumni.

Among the many notable 4-H alumni are Johnny Bench, Rosalynn Carter, John Glenn, Vince Gill, Al Gore, Archie Manning, Reba McEntire, Pat Nixon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Alan Shepard, John Updike and Herschel Walker.

(Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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