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National 4-H Council to Partner with Mentor Up

Will expand reverse mentoring program for teens to help Americans over 50

CHEVY CHASE, Md., Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National 4-H Council has announced a new partnership with Mentor Up, a new way to make a difference from AARP Foundation, to promote and establish youth-led service and volunteerism on behalf of people age 50 and older. A generous grant of more than $400,000 from AARP Foundation will support the expansion of the 4-H Tech Wizards program.

The 4-H Tech Wizards program provides the opportunity for young people to help Americans 50 and over secure the skills they need to find jobs in America's data-driven economy. 4-H Tech Wizards was originally launched by a group of 4-H teens in Washington County, Oregon who saw a need in their community and stepped up to solve it by leveraging their technology skills to empower adults. The partnership will allow the program to expand into three new states—Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.

"At 4-H, the mentoring relationships between youth and adults are a critically important factor in the success of our programs and young people worldwide," said Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council President & CEO. "We are thrilled to partner with Mentor Up to offer an innovative program that positions young people as mentors to adults—empowering more adults to be able to incorporate today's leading-edge skills into their lives."

The Tech Wizards program expansion is part of Mentor Up because it enables young people to volunteer their time to apply their skills to design and implement a course to help adults 50+ in their community better understand how to utilize technology in a practical setting. Traditional communication skills taught through 4-H, such as goal setting, problem solving, presentation and public speaking, will be used by the teens to help them develop a technology training program for seniors. The young people will teach how to use the latest tech devices and computer software, social media engagement, and the importance of understanding digital security. The program will enable adults 50+ to become more tech savvy, see all the resources available with new technology and stay connected to family and friends.

The two-year program will reach more than 300 youth and close to 500 adults 50 and older. Following the program, youth and seniors will be evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the program and the mentoring relationships.

"4-H members are passionate about community service and Americans over 50 are in need of assistance," said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president, AARP Foundation. "Our partnership with 4-H enables us to tap their collective enthusiasm to provide older Americans with vital technology training that ensures they learn new skills to combat the issue of social isolation. Best of all, this is just a starting point—we look forward to working with 4-H to track the success of Tech Wizards so that we can further expand to more states across the U.S."

About 4-H
4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the United States, 4-H programs are implemented by 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension through more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, 4-H programs operate through independent, country-led organizations in more than 50 countries.

Learn more about 4-H at www.4-H.org, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H and Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H.

About 4-H Tech Wizards
4-H Tech Wizards is one of three research-based 4-H mentoring models under the 4-H National Mentoring Program, which are recognized as programs of distinction. 4-H mentoring programs incorporate positive youth development to improve the well-being of at-risk youth ages 8-17 from communities with Community Distress Index (CDI) scores between 7 and 10, children with a parent in the military, tribal youth, or children of incarcerated parents.

About Mentor Up
Mentor Up is a new way to make a difference from AARP Foundation that brings together the younger generation's energy and talents to pursue reverse mentoring and community service opportunities that help people 50 and older. In addition, Mentor Up is also working with organizations rooted in service and driven by social missions, including the 4-H Council, DoSomething.org, Generations United, The Intergenerational Center at Temple University, Magic Johnson Foundation and Facebook. For more information about Mentor Up, visit www.mentorup.org.

Contact: Kimberly M. West, National 4‑H Council, 301-951-3078, kwest@4‑h.org

SOURCE National 4-H Council

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