May 27, 2022
Dear Extension family,
It’s impossible to know what to say in the wake of three mass shootings in our country in 10 days. I’m deeply saddened and in shock over the racially motivated massacre that killed 10 black Americans at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo, the politically motivated Taiwanese Church shooting in California injuring five and killing one, and the deadly school shooting that claimed the lives of 19 innocent children and 2 adults in Uvalde, Texas this week. Thinking of the lives shattered, families broken, children harmed, and communities shaken feels overwhelming. At a time when 4-H families, schools, and communities are grappling with youth learning loss and mental health issues from the pandemic, we know that our young people are also dealing with the fear and trauma of senseless gun violence. I hope all of us can take some solace in the important positive youth development work we do and the sense of belonging, purpose, confidence, and resilience that 4-H’ers develop through your Cooperative Extension 4-H programs in every county and parish in America. To our Extension colleagues in these communities impacted by violence, our hearts break for what you are going through and your Extension family is here to help if and when you need us. We know your relationships and deep connections in your communities will be what heals and helps people move forward after these shared traumas. To the thousands of Extension leaders, educators, agents, and program assistants all across our country: you are having a positive impact on young people and communities when they need you most. Your 4-H positive youth development mission is more important than ever in the challenging environment in which our kids are growing up. Thank you for continuing your good work and for your unwavering commitment to America’s young people, their well-being, and their futures.
With a heavy heart,
Jennifer L. Sirangelo President and CEO National 4-H Council