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Juntos 4-H program is creating a brighter future for Latinx students  

Fortunately, the high school dropout rate is declining. However, Latinx youth continue to have a higher dropout rate compared to other ethnic groups. Community assessments show that Latinx families need support to help their children academically succeed by focusing on college and career readiness. Northwest Farm Credit is proud to support the Juntos 4-H program in fulfilling this need. 

Juntos 4-H program group

Juntos translates to “together” in English, and bringing people together is what the University of Idaho’s 4-H Youth Development Juntos program is doing. Originally developed by North Carolina State University, the Juntos 4-H program unites community partners to provide 8-12 grade Latinx students and their parents with information, skills and resources to reach high school graduation and pursue higher education.  

Family engagement is fundamental 

The program consists of four main components:    4-H clubs, one-on-one success coaching, summer programming and family engagement. As one of the most impactful components, family engagement is fundamental to the success of the students and the program. Family engagement workshops help build student-parent communication and confidence and make education a family goal. 

family of Juntos 4-H program student

Many of the program’s students are first-generation high school students, and many parents aren’t English-speaking. Learning the U.S. education system to support their children’s education can be frustrating. Through relationships formed in the Juntos 4-H program, parents gain a sense of belonging, connection and support in their child’s school. “This is a very good program that helps better the future of our kids,” says one parent. “This way our kids can have successful futures and help other youth by motivating them to go on and have a better future for themselves.”  

Success in the schools 

Currently, Juntos 4-H reaches youth and families at six sites located in central, southwest and northern Idaho. In Jerome County alone, the program serves 70 Latinx students, and a bilingual program coordinator and assistant program coordinator are located in Jerome High School. The Juntos 4-H clubs are offered as five elective classes for credit during the school day. This is the first program in the country to provide this in-school access to the Juntos program. 

Teachers for Juntos 4-H program

The program’s success is undeniable, with students reporting a greater sense of belonging and confidence in their futures. “Juntos 4-H has impacted my life by bringing more opportunities to learn new things to help me in the future,” said Melana, Juntos 4-H Jerome County Club Secretary. 

Students enrolled in the program can make a more significant impact on their community. Sheila, for example, has been a very active participant in the program and recently explored an interest in becoming a teacher while working with students in the Jerome Migrant Summer School program. She taught cooking basics like measuring, food safety and knife skills. 

The program (and its success) grows 

Several other schools across Idaho have observed Juntos 4-H’s success and are interested in implementing the program. Northwest Farm Credit’s support will help the program expand to an additional site in northern Idaho and support existing sites with youth and families on their waitlists.

Juntos 4-H program group talking