(FFA) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the country, many schools have turned to e-learning, and after-school activities have come to a halt. What hasn’t ended, however, is FFA members living out the FFA motto – Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
Throughout the country, there are stories of FFA members and alumni reaching out to others in their communities – whether through assisting at food pantries, helping neighbors or continuing to work in essential roles.
The 2019-20 National FFA Officer Team is helping members by connecting via Facebook Live daily. On Fridays, National FFA Secretary Kourtney Lehman shares new things she has learned during this time – and then challenges other FFA members to learn new skills as well. Recently, she learned sign language, modeling part of the FFA motto, Doing to Learn, and the organization’s stance on inclusion. She then challenged other members to learn sign language as well. Her video can be seen below.
And while FFA members continue to learn, they are also continuing to find ways to serve.
“Our youth can play a big role in making things better right now, and those who are healthy and able to volunteer have plenty of opportunities to get involved,” says Stefonie Sebastian, senior service engagement specialist for the National FFA Organization. “No effort is too small; it all counts.”
For example, FFA Life Member Taylor Lee Chambers-Scussel and her family at Fox Field Farm in Branford, Conn., is animal-sitting for Lyman Hall FFA Chapter’s mini jersey and alpacas. Members at Belmond-Klemme FFA in northern Iowa are partnering with True Value and the nonprofit environmental group Trees Forever to provide more than 40 garden starter kits to students willing to help at a time when they’re sitting at home. Each kit will include seeds with soil as well as instructions on how to plant and maintain crops. Eventually, the various crops will be transplanted into the community garden.
There are many ways FFA members can serve during this uncertain time while continuing to practice social distancing protocols or sheltering in place. Here are just a few:
- Support Homebound Community Members
Deliver groceries, prepared meals or supplies to those who are at a higher risk of developing severe complications from contracting COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and people with underlying medical conditions. Additionally, members can walk and feed their animals, pick up and deliver their mail, and complete outdoor tasks like yard work.
- Educate the Younger Population
Since kids are home from school and likely completing their assignments online, it’s the perfect opportunity for FFA members to host virtual tutoring sessions.
- Sew and Scribe to Show Your Appreciation
Those working in health care, law enforcement and service industries need masks for protection. Members can sew a few (or more!) and donate them to local agencies. They can also write thank-you cards for medical professionals, police officers and grocery store employees – or anyone whose work is appreciated.
- Put Ag Skills Into Action
It is also the perfect time for FFA members to plan their garden, plant and donate the harvest to those in need, whether directly or through an organization in the local community.
- Partner With Local Organizations
For those members feeling overwhelmed, it’s suggested that they Reach out to a group in your community – places of worship, food banks and nonprofit organizations, for example – and see if there’s an opportunity to contribute to one of its existing or future efforts.
Members can find more ways to serve and participate in the Living to Serve Challenge, which is now also open to individual FFA members. More information on ways to serve can be found here.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.
Source: National FFA Organization