LAKE COUNTY -- Many people think 4-H is just for kids who live on farms, but there is more to 4-H than that.

Offering a diverse range of topics and interest areas, 4-H is the largest youth development organization in Michigan. Each year more than 200,000 young people explore what interests and excites them as they grow through Michigan 4-H.

From program areas ranging from science and technology to clothing and textiles, and so much more, 4-H provides fun, educational opportunities that empower young people with skills to lead for a lifetime and become the foundation for future success.

While COVID-19 has presented new challenges, Lake County 4-H program's commitment to positive youth develop is unwavering and 4-H remains present to support youth during this pandemic.

While face-to-face 4-H club meetings and events are not currently possible, Lake County 4-H is offering 4-H Learning Kits packed with instructions and supplies for STEM projects and mindfulness activities to all 4-H youth, ages 5 to 19, within the county.

To make this happen, Lake County 4-H is partnering with the Michigan State University Make a Difference CrowdPower Campaign, an online funding platform where donors can select from multiple projects and give directly to a cause that matters the most to them.

Lake County 4-H is seeking $5,000 in donations through the CrowdPower Campaign to raise funds for 4-H Learning Kits so youth will have access to hands-on educational resources on a monthly basis while the pandemic runs its course. All donations received will go toward creating and distributing 4-H Learning Kits to the youth of our county.

We all have a vested interest in seeing youth succeed. Youth in 4-H participate in various program areas through the learn-by-doing approach. In addition to gaining valuable content knowledge, 4-H teaches critical life skills such as goal setting, self-discipline, conflict resolution and teamwork that directly contributes positively to the community. The growth of these life skills is just one of the many positive youth development outcomes that occur from youth's participation in 4-H and result in a direct impact on not only themselves, but how others interact as well.

Supporting existing youth programs and expanding them to accommodate the needs and interests of all of our youth, must be a community-wide, if not a county-wide, priority. Programs such as 4-H can help build a stronger foundation for our youth, but they can't do it alone.

To donate to the Lake County 4-H CrowdPower Campaign visit givingto.msu.edu/crowdpower/lake-county-4-h-learning-kits.

For more information on the CrowdPower Campaign for 4-H Learning Kits or the Lake County 4-H program, contact Laurie Platte Breza, 4-H coordinator, at platteb1@msu.edu or visit canr.msu.edu/4h.