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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Seeing beyond the chaos of his everyday life

The following message came from a middle school teacher in Northern Illinois where Illinois 4-H has teamed with National 4-H Council to provide grant-funded 4-H robotics special interest clubs. She has seen the change in one young boy's life because of our valuable program.

"One of my boys has a difficult home life. His parents are getting a divorce, and it was really affecting his school work and attitude. He joined the club because his best friend also joined, but he was hesitant that it was for "losers."

From the first meeting when we built the cow robot, he was all about robotics and engineering. He is now our 'go-to' mechanical fixer. The 4-H high school helper recognized he was having a hard time at home.

"This teen provides a great male role model for him. My student is now off the academic GPA warning list and has applied to an engineering program at the high school which prepares the kids to enter college with a better understanding of engineering principles through hands-on experiences and coursework that focuses on math and science.

"My student is doing SO much better in school and a huge part of that is because the 4-H Robotics Club provided him an opportunity to see beyond that chaos of his everyday life."


Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.