My name is Valerie Mendez, and I am Leon County’s newest 4-H Youth Development agent. I was born in Colombia and was raised in Jacksonville, Florida. I received my bachelor’s in microbiology and cell science and will be graduating with my master’s in soil and water sciences from the University of Florida this upcoming December. My passion for science and education was nurtured throughout my childhood by many community leaders. It is my hope now, as an adult, to empower youth to reach their fullest potential in a safe, creative, and inclusive environment.
As a 4-H agent, I help implement educational curricula that develop critical thinking skills, leadership, and self-efficacy for youth through community clubs, school programs, and summer camps. I recruit, train, and support a team of volunteers as club leaders and 4-H advocates. I also collaborate with local businesses to encourage greater participation and visibility of 4-H in Leon County.
One goal of our 4-H program is to increase youth knowledge and skills relating to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). With the help of our wonderful volunteers, we have developed clubs, camps, and workshops that include a wide range of STEM topics youth can participate in. For example, our horticulture club and workshops introduce youth to topics that are relevant to urban gardening such as plant propagation, succession planting, and detection of beneficial insects. Our Wild about Woods club focuses on native plants and wildlife identification with the option to participate in the Forest Ecology Contest at the North Florida Fair. I look forward to continuing to support existing STEM topics and expanding the topics we provide to include microbiology, soil science, and artificial intelligence. Apart from STEM, our program also focuses on developing communication skills, leadership, and civic engagement using 4-H’s famous learn-by-doing approach of teaching.
Our program would not exist without the help of our wonderful volunteers. They truly are the heart of our 4-H program. We are always in search of caring adults that are passionate about teaching youth new skills. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer in Leon County, feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com or by phone at (850)-606-5204. Please make sure to follow our Facebook page (@ UF/IFAS Leon County Extension) to stay up to date on all things Leon County Extension!
- Engaging Youth in Agriculture through Field Excursions - November 17, 2023
- Meet the Author- Valerie Mendez - December 9, 2022