URBANA, Ill. – From empowering Illinois youth to dream big to preparing them to face tomorrow's challenges and become the next generation of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development staff are dedicated to supporting young people in communities around the state.

Carrie Eldridge joined Illinois Extension in May as a 4-H youth development educator serving Franklin, Jackson, Perry, Randolph, and Williamson Counties in Southern Illinois. She will create and provide research-based programs for area youth through 4-H clubs and other outreach activities.

"We're excited to welcome Carrie to Illinois Extension and the 4-H team,” says Extension County Director Lynn Heins. “She will provide leadership to the entire 4-H youth development program and she brings a wealth of knowledge, community connections, and experience to this position that will have a positive impact on our communities."

Eldridge comes to Illinois 4-H with 19 years of education experience serving at Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health as a health educator and most recently as director of health education.

Over the past five years, Eldridge has served as the co-chair of the positive youth development action team. She promoted positive youth development through prevention programs and services, networking and collaboration, and raising public awareness of resources devoted to the well-being of young people.

A native of West Frankfort, Eldridge received a bachelor's degree in health education from Southern Illinois University and a master's degree in business administration from Southern Indiana University. She and her husband live in West Frankfort with their two children. They enjoy walks and cooking.

Eldridge is based in the Extension office in Murphysboro and can be reached at carriee@illinois.edu or (618) 687-1727.

Extension educators and specialists connect every county in Illinois with university research through in-person and distance-learning programming and other educational outreach. They work to provide businesses, families, and agricultural producers with the practical tools and resources needed to solve problems.

WRITERHeather Willis, marketing and communications coordinator; Emily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, Illinois Extension

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.