One deserving person each month will be chosen and earn the title of "Acadiana's Local Hero".
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Acadiana's Local Hero for June 2014 - AustinX Gaspard
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Hero Name: AustinX Gaspard

About our Acadiana Local Hero!

Why this finalist was deserving of Acadian's Local Hero.  
Vermilion 4-Hunger Awareness is this year’s theme for the Vermilion Parish 4-H Jr. Leader Club’s Service-Learning Project. The teen leadership club, made up of 8th-12th grade 4-H’ers, boasts 150 members. Every year the Vermilion Parish 4-H Jr. Leader Club Officers meet to select their service project for the coming year. After much brainstorming the officers selected hunger awareness as their focus. The officers wanted to select a service project that would provide “hands-on” opportunities and allow members to truly realize the impact they were having on their community. Louisiana ranks number one in hungry children aged 5 years and younger with many children only getting food at school. This statistic had a profound effect on the officers. They decided that monthly meetings should provide an educational component for members and the community, as well as service opportunities for its members. Activities included: Oct. 2013 Members viewed a video about Heifer International and Hunger Awareness Heifer International is a nonprofit organization based in Arkansas working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based holistic community development. Members and local 4-H clubs made donations to the Jr. Leader Club which will be used to purchase animals from Heifer International $2,100 collected Guest Speaker – Deacon Hyde, Christian Service Center Coordinator (Provides food and meals to people in Vermilion Parish) Donation of 15 lbs. of rice (matched by Farm Bureau) to Christian Service Center Nov. 2013 Sponsored food drive in which parish 4-H Clubs participated 14,483 lbs of food collected Club Meeting Activity – Hunger Meal 70 members in attendance at the monthly meeting were randomly divided into groups representing the wealthy, middle class, and poverty group of people. Meals were served based upon their class, with the “wealthy group having lots to eat and the “poverty group” having a meager snack. Members of each class realized the impact that socio-economic class status had on their ability to eat. Dec. 2013 $600 Donation to Heifer International from the club Purchased one heifer, a flock of chicks, honeybees and rabbits Members assembled and donated 110 drawstring backpacks which were distributed to 10 students at every public elementary school in Vermilion Parish to ensure that kids don’t go hungry during the holiday break. Each bag contained nutritious, kid friendly meal and snack items. Members viewed video on hunger statistics. Jan. 2014 Members created and displayed educational exhibit boards on Hunger Awareness at parish 4-H events. Members viewed video on hunger awareness. Feb. 2014 Guest Speaker – Information will be provided by guest speakers regarding Heifer International’s Global Gateways overnight educational program. This simulation program is designed to create awareness about hunger and poverty issues around the world. Activity – opportunity to provide fresh drinking water to communities in need. March – May More activities are planned for the remainder of the year. The club intends to take a trip to Heifer Ranch in Perryville, AR during the Spring. This trip will provide members the opportunity to experience a hands-on, interactive program and activities promoting sustainable solutions to global hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.  

How AustinX's efforts have made a difference in the community for the better.  
The efforts of the Vermilion Parish 4-H Jr. Leader Club have had a profound impact on its members and their community. By providing year long service learning projects members are more dedicated, make a greater impact on their community and are more likely to continue those efforts in the future. By encouraging other 4-H school clubs to be involved in their efforts, more 4-H members are able to share in their experiences. The trip to Heifer Ranch will also have a major impact upon member’s knowledge of hunger and the importance of donation and volunteerism.

How becoming Acadiana's Local Hero will further AustinX's cause.  
Being recognized as Acadiana’s Hero will validate the 4-H Club’s impact on their community. Receiving public recognition is a way to honor the Vermilion Parish 4-H Jr. Leader Club for their efforts and difference they have made in their community. The monetary recognition will help to defray members cost for the educational trip to Heifer Ranch. Heifer Ranch will allow them to experience Global Gateway; an atmosphere which creates an existence in which nothing - shelter, food, water or cooking fuel - can be taken for granted. Participants prepare a meal with limited resources and spend a night in the Global Village.

Please share AustinX's great work with all of your friends and donate to her organization by clicking on the links below.

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