Michigan 4-H China Art Exchange has positive impact in 2016

The Michigan 4-H China Art Exchange has positively impacted many youth in Michigan for 2016 including students from the Shandong Province.

Menominee County 4-Hers working with students from Shandong Province. Photo: Julie Simmons.

Menominee County 4-Hers working with students from Shandong Province. Photo: Julie Simmons.

The Michigan 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China had a record 2016 year, with 6,380 program participants – an increase of over 400 participants from 2015! These participants were from 17 participating counties including 21 schools, two after school programs, one tribe, one academy and seven 4-H clubs. The challenge for the 14 (eight from China to translate) selection committee volunteers was narrowing the selection down, as we cannot send all of these “visual letters” to China.

The selection committee was comprised of 4-H volunteers and MSU Extension staff, as well as volunteers from the Michigan State University Asian Studies Center, LATTICE (Linking All Types of Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education) and MSU Visiting International Professional Program. From the close to 400 submitted pieces, the selection committee could only choose just over 100 pieces of Michigan children’s artwork to be sent to China and be featured on the Michigan 4-H Youth Development website. The 4-H Michigan’s Children’s Art Exchange with China selected annual artwork is online to enjoy at the Michigan 4-H China Project website.

The Michigan 4-H China Art Exchange has positively impacted many youth in Michigan during 2016, including students from the Shandong Province studying at University of Wisconsin (UW) Marinette. There are currently eight students from the Shandong Province and a total of 40 studying at UW Marinette. UW Marinette is currently offering an English as a Second Language (ESL) program and most students wanting to study ESL will be attending in 2017 as well. These Chinese students were excited to work with Michigan 4-Hers from Menominee County doing the China Art project, as well as viewing the 4-H China Art Dance kit and artwork that was from their Shandong Province.

The Menominee County 4-H Art Club and 4-H Growing Gardens Together Club met in May 2016 with the Chinese students. 4-H leader Julie Simmons commented, “It makes me even more excited to be a small part of this important organization that is impacting future leaders and, more importantly, our youth right now.”

The collected evaluation percentages are always high in the increase of knowledge, awareness, understanding and desire to learn more because of participation in the Michigan 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China.

Some 2016 comments:

  • “This is a great program and I’ll continue to use it as long as we can. My students gain so much from this and still remember it years later. My eight grade students still talk about when we learned about China and making their own letter.”
  • “My students really enjoyed learning about the children and people of China, their lives, families and interest. The lesson and materials provided were great and we love the artwork!”
  • “I enjoy doing this exchange with the children. It gives them an opportunity to learn about another geographic locale and culture, plus they are able to hone their artistic skills.”
  • “The children really enjoyed the experience! They were impressed with the art from China and that it told a story. The ribbon dance project was one of their favorites from the whole summer! Thank you!”

Elementary students with their certificates

Sandy Knoll Elementary students with their special “Artwork Going to China” certificates. Photo: Liana Graves.

In the 2015 article, Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China: Impactful! Part 1,” the history was shared about the Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange. More information about the project is highlighted in “Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China: Impactful! Part 2.”

Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China has been positively impacting youth for close to 30 years and will continue for more years to come. Other global educational opportunities can also be found on the MSU Extension Global and Cultural Education website. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program helps to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas. To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth leadership, civic engagement, citizenship and global/cultural programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.”

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