Have you ever heard of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Broome County or the programs and services that they provide? Does Taste NY, Farmers Market, Nutrition Education, or 4-H Youth Development ring a bell? These are just a few examples of the amazing programs provided by this organization. CCE, a Community Partner of United Way of Broome County, is a non-profit that teams up with Cornell University’s world-class research and statewide Cooperative Extension network to invest in the lives and well-being of all Broome County residents.

CCE and United Way of Broome County.

In order to paint a picture of how impactful CCE programs are, it is essential to highlight 4-H Youth Development, funded by United Way of Broome County. This program is a long-term investment in our youth and the future of our community. This positive youth development program is recognized as part of Cooperative Extension at a national level to provide the supports and opportunities young people need to thrive in college, careers, and life. The high quality, experiential-based learning opportunities provided through 4-H, help youth grow into competent, caring, contributing members of society.

Clyde Van Dyke, a Tech Wizards mentor for the program in Windsor and active Broome County 4-H member, faced many challenges growing up. At a young age, Clyde lost his mother, “Without 4-H, I would’ve slipped through the cracks. 4-H gave me the motivation and resources I needed to overcome the mindset that I couldn’t succeed,” shares Clyde.

In elementary school, teachers told him most young people with his background were unlikely to succeed.

Clyde lived with a feeling of defeat that led him to put forth little effort in school. But everything changed when a friend invited him to a 4-H Tech Wizards meeting at the Dream Center in Johnson City. Not only did Tech Wizards introduce him to technology, but it also brought a wealth of resources and life skills from 4-H that quite literally changed the trajectory of his life.

Clyde first learned to use geospatial mapping in Tech Wizards and used the technology to chart drug overdoses due to the opioid epidemic in New York. He says he really enjoys educating others how to use geospatial mapping to enact community charge.

Recently, Clyde won the 2019 National 4-H Youth in Action Award for STEM. The Youth in Action awards recognize the contributions of four 4-H’ers in each of 4-H’s pillar areas: agriculture, civic engagement, healthy living, and STEM. As a Youth in Action winner, Clyde won a $5,000 scholarship for college, an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for the National 4-H Council’s Legacy Awards, and recognition as the official national 4-H youth spokesperson for their pillar.

We are thrilled to share that during the National 4-H Council’s Legacy Awards in Washington D.C., Clyde was selected as the overall Youth in Action Award recipient among the four pillar winners. This prestigious award comes with an additional $10,000 higher education scholarship. Clyde will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H at events across the country, throughout 2019. Clyde is an inspiration to the community as a whole and illustrates the power of optimism.

As Clyde explains, “4-H taught me to communicate with others, especially teachers, so I could ask the right questions and get the help I needed. Now, I show other kids the path for success and what they can gain in 4-H, too.” Clyde is now on track to graduate in May 2019 with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from SUNY Broome, thanks to Broome-Tioga BOCES P-TECH program. Clyde plans on attending SUNY Delhi in the fall to study digital forensics, showing us what it means to Live United and anything is possible. And thanks to United Way of Broome County and its donors, this unique form of youth development program helps people in Broome County just like Clyde, every day.

The programs provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, like 4-H, are connecting young people to exciting agriculture and agribusiness careers, inspiring tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs and investing in Broome County’s workforce. United Way of Broome County is a proud supporter of CCE as it works to create a stronger, more vibrant Broome County. 

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