Warm Fuzzies and Berrien County’s Festival of Families

Simple community service project creates opportunity to promote volunteerism and Michigan State University Extension 4-H Career Preparation resources.

Visitors at the Berrien County Festival of Families created Warm Fuzzies, which will be delivered to a local senior center or nursing home.

Visitors at the Berrien County Festival of Families created Warm Fuzzies, which will be delivered to a local senior center or nursing home.

The third annual Festival of Families was held Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Festival of Families is hosted by Berrien RESA (Regional Education Service Agency).

The intent of the Festival was to provide families of children 0-26 years of age one location with a variety of services and educational resources available throughout Berrien County. Berrien County 4-H was present in full force with Best Friends 4-H Club, We Can Ride 4-H Club, the Life Skills Wheel along with information about the local program, and the materials I provided related to career exploration and workforce preparation resources.

As a part of the four-hour event, I wanted to provide a hands-on activity to help engage visitors. What a hit! I facilitated a simple service project provided by Berrien County 4-H to promote community service and volunteerism as a life skill. More than 100 people visited my table that resulted in the creation of 81 “Warm Fuzzies” that 4-H will soon deliver to a local senior center or nursing home to be used as tray favors to help brighten someone’s day.

It worked very well to draw a variety of individuals including parents and grandparents working alongside their young people. While people put their Warm Fuzzy together, others browsed the resources I brought along and asked questions about our Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development program.

I had the opportunity to meet a mom and daughter that belonged to one of our first therapeutic horseback riding programs more than 30 years ago. A 4-H alumna stopped to visit and later told me that she would be willing to volunteer next year! Two individuals took a Warm Fuzzy with them because they wanted to use the activity with their own organization. All in all, it was an enjoyable and worthwhile way to spend part of a Saturday.

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