Illinois Extension team kicks off new 4-H year in DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – With the start of a new school year, comes a new 4-H year. In every county, Illinois 4-H remains committed to offering young people guidance, tools, and encouragement to empower them for life today and prepare them for a career tomorrow.

“All of us – including kids, teens, and families – faced great challenges over the last 18 months, and Extension is proud to have provided ongoing, positive growth opportunities,” said Deanna Roby-Vorgias, University of Illinois Extension county director serving DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties. “As we begin a new 4-H year, we are excited to meet new families, introduce our team, and help people connect to a club or experience that is right for them.”

New faces provide continued support for communities

In August, University of Illinois Extension welcomed Tina Heidrich as a 4-H program coordinator serving DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties. She will connect 4-H to our communities by supporting schools, organizations, and other groups with a vast collection of educational resources and STEM programs.

“For more than 12 years, Heidrich has been a respected Extension volunteer, 4-H leader, and 4-H parent,” said Roby-Vorgias. “She has valuable first-hand knowledge of how local, state, and national 4-H opportunities positively impact young people.”

Heidrich’s professional background includes experience in programming and administration, including 10 years with the Oswegoland Park District.

In addition, this fall, 4-H program coordinator Andrea Farrier will be shifting from DuPage County to primarily serving Kane County. Farrier, who has been with Illinois Extension for two years and has a decade of educational experience, steps into the role with the retirement of longtime 4-H program coordinator Doris Braddock.

Braddock marked 28 years with Extension and served as a 4-H volunteer for 37 years. Not only was she a 4-H member growing up, but she raised four 4-H alumni and now mentors her grandchildren in the program.

Heidrich’s predecessor, Jo Ann Britton, served the area for 20 years before retiring this June and was best known for aerospace classes and rocket launches, and the 4-H Bridge Bust Contest.

“These retired 4-H program coordinators each cultivated and supported passionate local volunteers and made a lasting impact on countless youth by teaching lifelong skills and inspiring goals and aspirations,” said Roby-Vorgias. “They are great examples of how 4-H and our team encourage and guide tomorrow’s leaders.”

Both Britton and Braddock plan to volunteer with 4-H in retirement.

“4-H has given me so much over my lifetime,” said Braddock. “4-H shapes young people for the future as they learn by doing. It allows families to do things together while youth gain life skills, explore their interests, learn to be contributing members of society, and make lasting friendships – all while having fun.”

During this transition, Extension is seeking a 4-H program coordinator for DuPage County, and in Kendall County, Kim Eisnaugle continues to direct the 4-H program. The tri-county team is under the leadership of 4-H Youth Development Educators Donna Nuger, who marks her 18th year with Extension, and Leilah Siegel, who joined the team earlier this year with 17 years of experience working for institutions such as Harvard Medical School, DePaul University, and University of Illinois Chicago.

Visit a 4-H Kick Off in DuPage, Kane, or Kendall County

Meet local University of Illinois Extension staff – along with 4-H volunteers and 4-H clubs – at three New Year Kick Off events this October. Families also can learn about upcoming 4-H opportunities, and youth can do hands-on activities with the 4-H Teen Science Ambassadors.

There is no need to register for these free events:

  • DuPage County: 5 to 7 p.m. October 7, DuPage County Fairgrounds, Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton
  • Kendall County: 7 to 8:30 p.m. October 7, Kendall County Fairgrounds, Smith 4-H Hall, 10826 IL Route 71, Yorkville
  • Kane County: 5 to 7 p.m. October 14, Kane County Fairgrounds, Prairie Events Center Atrium, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles

For more information, visit or fill out an interest survey at If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, contact 630-584-6166 or Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs. University of Illinois Extension in-person programs and events include appropriate safety guidelines, such as face coverings, physical distancing, and hand sanitizing stations.

4-H programs provide hands-on learning, and opportunities for youth to feel a sense of belonging, develop independence, practice generosity, and experience mastery. Through 4-H, youth can explore many areas of interest, including animal sciences, creative arts, environmental sciences, health and nutrition, college and career readiness, global awareness, STEM and more.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed

ILLINOIS 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen.