Allison Walbrecht, Lancaster County 4-H member, has been recognized with a Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award for giving youth with disabilities the opportunity to show livestock at the county fair.
“Allison’s willingness to ensure that all youth have this opportunity showcases her willingness to give back to youth, the 4-H Program, and the future of Nebraska,” said Dr. Kathleen Lodl, Nebraska State 4-H Program Administrator. “Allison truly is an amazing role model.”
Having grown up on a beef cattle operation, Allison observed a gap between agriculture and people with disabilities. She started the Unified Showing program to bridge this gap. The program provides youth with disabilities the opportunity to show a lamb at the county fair. Showmen are paired with a "buddy" who helps them practice and prepare for the showing throughout the summer.
"Having Claire be part of something again was unbelievable. She loved everything about it!" shared Annie Bruns, parent of a Unified Showing youth member.
“Allison is making a positive difference,” said Tracy Anderson, Lancaster County 4-H Extension Educator. “She is giving young people with disabilities and their buddy a sense of belonging as they learn about and show livestock as members of her Unified Showing 4-H Club.”
Following success in Lancaster County, a new Unified Showing 4-H Club has already been established in Otoe County. Allison hopes to one day expand the program to the Nebraska State Fair.
"Unified Showing's future is very bright," said Allison. "I am excited to continue Unified Showing in the upcoming years."
The Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award celebrates the spirit of service-learning. The program recognizes youth who have made significant and lasting impacts in their community. 4-H members create, coordinate, and implement a service-learning project of lasting impact and significant size or scope.
“Nebraska 4-H Gives Back is an awesome opportunity to celebrate the spirit of service-learning, a pillar of the 4-H experience. We invite youth to submit project proposals that showcase the application of their time and talents in service to their community,” shared Dr. Jill Lingard, Nebraska 4-H Gives Back program coordinator.
For more information about the Nebraska 4-H Gives back Awards program, please visit 4h.unl.edu/ne4h-gives-back.