COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Patterson Family Foundation has awarded funds to Missouri 4-H for a three-year pilot project focusing on youth workforce development, overcoming barriers to higher education and improving financial literacy. The project, which incorporates multiple 4-H programs, targets youths in the rural counties of Harrison, Livingston, Nodaway, Pettis and Vernon.

“We hope to reach an additional 1,000 youth with these targeted programs over a three-year period,” said Stephanie Femrite, pilot project leader and assistant director of Missouri 4-H, a program of University of Missouri Extension. “Specifically, we will be able to impact youth in the Juntos 4-H, Youth Futures and On My Own programs – all valuable skills for our region’s present and future.”

Currently, 4-H programming reaches 2,132 youths in the five counties, with an average enrollment of 426 per county. Young people participate in 4-H through in-school and after-school clubs, community clubs, short-term programs and school enrichment programs.

“We are grateful for these funds from the Patterson Family Foundation,” said Rachel Augustine, senior director of advancement for MU Extension and the Missouri 4-H Foundation. “This incredible gift will allow us to increase the capacity of our 4-H faculty and staff in each of these counties, giving them more time to focus on helping young people become work- and life-ready.”

Juntos 4-H helps Latino youths and their families gain the skills and knowledge needed to bridge the gap between high school and higher education. Developed by North Carolina State University in 2007, the program includes family engagement through workshops, family events, 4-H summer programs, and Juntos 4-H Clubs focused on academics, life skills and community service. Programs are available to English- and Spanish-speaking students in grades 8-12 through certified trainers in partnership with schools and community organizations.

Since 2002, 4-H Youth Futures: College Within Reach, designed by MU Extension in partnership with Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, promotes college as an attainable goal for high school youths. This extensive college orientation program includes mentoring, campus visits and a college orientation conference on the MU campus. As a similar option in a shorter time frame, the 4-H Youth Futures Special Interest Club provides a condensed six-week program that helps youths and their families learn about higher education options, the steps to enroll in college and exploring majors and career options.

On My Own is a youth financial education simulation designed by the University of Tennessee Extension. During the simulation, students ages 13-18 become the major income providers for their households, which may include a spouse and children. Using a hypothetical occupation and income, students work through a month of expenses, including housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, food, child care, clothing, entertainment and unexpected events. The program is delivered by 4-H youth specialists, youth program associates and classroom teachers.

About Missouri 4-H

Missouri 4-H grows today’s youth and prepares tomorrow’s leaders. With a blend of time-tested traditions and innovative hands-on learning, Missouri youth explore and find their spark in programs ranging from agriculture and conservation to aerospace and career development. Through clubs, programs, camps, in-school and after-school experiences, University of Missouri Extension faculty, staff and thousands of volunteers guide youth in developing essential skills, building confidence and fostering connections. Together, they inspire young people to make a real difference in their communities, their country and the world. To learn more about Missouri 4-H, visit

About the Patterson Family Foundation

The Patterson Family Foundation, based in Kansas City, Missouri, is a family-led foundation that extends the legacy of Neal and Jeanne Patterson. It was established to improve rural communities through health care, education, economic opportunity and beyond. The foundation is geographically focused on Kansas and northwestern Missouri counties with fewer than 50,000 residents.