University of Maryland Extension

Creating Opportunities to Reach Underserved Communities: Making Connections via Outreach, Networking, and Partnerships

Maryland is considered “America in miniature.” Like many other states in the country, Maryland represents a very diverse area in terms of landscape, climate, culture and inhabitants. For decades, 4-H has been an organization that has recognized the diversity of not only Maryland but all states and has provided youth development programs that evolve to meet the needs of the ever changing society (Figure 1, Junge 2006). Although deeply rooted in an agricultural foundation, 4-H has broadened its scope in recent years to provide developmental support for youth in non-farm based rural, urban and suburban areas. Historically, these areas have been considered “underserved.” According to Junge (2000), an underserved area is one where 4-H is not currently serving the community. This could be based on demographics, geographic location or resource availability (ex. income, transportation, employment status, etc).. This publication will share strategies that can be used to create opportunities to reach underserved communities using needs based outreach, networks and partnerships.  

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