SIDNEY — The Shelby County Extension office recently launched a new development fund in honor and memory of two 4-H youth who passed away in the summer of 2019.
Titled the Shelby County 4-H Animal Project Aid Fund (316805), the fund will be used to support Shelby County 4-H members with their livestock projects. Support shall include, but not be limited to, the purchase of livestock, housing, tack, feed, bedding, books and other supplies.
The establishment of the fund was made possible by a generous contribution from the Shank/Caudill families, who unexpectedly lost their sons, Dalton Shank, 14, and Landin Caudill, 10, to injuries sustained in a house fire in June 2019. Heidi and Dan Caudill and Gregory and Tes Shank forwarded funds raised in the boys’ memory during the Shelby County Junior Fair Livestock Sale to the Shelby County 4-H program.
More than 80 buyers bid on Dalton and Landin’s market rabbits, with the final purchase price totaling $6,625.
“These are the moments we live for in 4-H. When communities come together and unapologetically, without a second thought, pay it forward,” said Cassie Dietrich, Shelby County 4-H Youth Development Educator. “I am excited to be a part of this new project. We are forever grateful to both the Shank/Caudill families and the community members who contributed to make this a reality. 4-H projects are not always affordable, but this fund will provide assistance to those who need it so that they, too, can reap the benefits of 4-H.”
The Shelby County 4-H Advisory Board, made up of 10 advisers from various clubs throughout the county, will be the administrative unit for the fund. Applications and information for receiving project aid from the fund can be found at go.osu.edu/shelbyprojectaid. Youth and their parents will fill out an application that is very similar to a bank loan application. They are asked to provide a detailed budget for their project and to describe their level of need for the dollars requested.
“We intentionally set things up so that youth are learning life skills throughout the process,” explained Dietrich.
After the application deadline of April 1, 2020, the Shelby County 4-H Advisory Board will review submissions and determine how funds will be distributed. Those who are selected to receive project aid will be notified by April 15, 2020.
Once project aid recipients have completed their project and, in many cases, sold their animal at the Junior Fair Sale, they will be encouraged to pay it forward by donating back into the fund. The Shelby County 4-H Advisory Board hopes to sustain the life of the fund not only in this way, but also by continually seeking additional gifts into the fund.
“We hope that the community will come to recognize that this fund is a fantastic way to honor or memorialize those 4-H youth, volunteers or supporters who we, sadly, lose year to year. The more we raise, the more we can give back,” said Dietrich.
To give to the fund, individuals, businesses or organizations can visit The Ohio State University’s online giving portal at give.osu.edu and search for fund 316805. Both one-time and reoccurring gifts can be set-up through the giving portal.
For more information about the livestock sale or helping with other 4-H program efforts, contact Dietrich at 937-498-7243.