4-H, the largest youth development program in the nation, is calling on all 4-H alumni to raise their hands to help bring 4-H to 10 million youth by 2025. Currently 4-H empowers nearly 6 million young people in every county across America, including more than 240,800 young people ages 5 to 19 in Virginia.

As part of the “Raise Your Hand” call to action, which will take place through June 30, 4-H is asking the millions of 4‑H alumni across the nation, including 4-H alums in Virginia, to raise their hands to help pay it forward so 4-H can continue to provide the hands-on learning that empowers kids across America.

Raising a hand is easy. Alumni can go online to www.4-h.org/raiseyourhand to fill in their information and see how their state is faring. Each alumni sign-up is a vote toward a $20,000, $10,000, or $5,000 prize that will be awarded to the three states with the most alumni hands raised. Alumni can then support the campaign by tweeting, posting, and sharing their #4HGrown experience, and they can support and tag fellow alumni by asking them to raise their hands for their state.

For more than 100 years, the 4-H impact on young people has been immeasurable. “Having experienced our programs first-hand, our alumni know best what a positive impact 4-H had on them growing up, which is why we’re reaching out to them to support the next generation of true leaders,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of 4-H Youth Development for Virginia Cooperative Extension.

“Whether they’re running Fortune 100 companies, performing for sold-out crowds, leading community programs, or volunteering to empower local youth, 4‑H alumni are the epitome of true leadership,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of the National 4‑H Council. “Our remarkable alumni now have the perfect opportunity to pay it forward, ensuring that the next generation has the opportunity to benefit from the 4‑H experience.”

For information about 4-H programs in your area, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. Virginia Cooperative Extension is an educational outreach program of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and a part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.