The Million Hour Challenge program, a national civic engagement initiative through the National FFA Organization, surpassed its stated goal of 1 million volunteer hours. As of the month of October, 1,048,455 volunteer hours have been recorded for the program. The achievement was recognized October 21, 2010, at the 83rd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
“We’re proud of this achievement by our members,” said National FFA Chief Operating Officer, Dwight Armstrong. “Our members understand the importance of serving a role in the community. This accomplishment represents the premier leadership which FFA members demonstrate every day in their communities.”
The Million Hour Challenge, in its fourth year of operation, is a special initiative of the National FFA Organization designed to unite youth across the country and strengthen communities through civic engagement and community service. Five FFA chapters were recognized during the announcement for their significant contributions to the program in the areas of Environment, Government, Social & Human Service, Healthy Lifestyles, and Education. These chapters were each awarded $2,500 for having the greatest number of eligible community service project hours in their respective category areas this past year.
In the Environmental category, the Rosewood High School FFA from Goldsboro, North Carolina, conducted school and community beautification programs which FFA members designed, organized and maintained. These programs were funded through community fundraisers, which included a three-on-three basketball tournament.
The Wolfe County High School FFA from Campton, Kentucky, was recognized in the Government category. FFA members organized a “Thank a Vet” campaign to help Veterans in their community. Members’ raised more than $59,000 for programs which included job placement assistance and weekly companion activities.
The Ponchatoula High School FFA from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, led the Education category by hosting a career conference where more than 600 students discovered their possible future career choices. The chapter also developed an agricultural outreach program known as AGGIE On the Road. The program promoted agricultural literacy and an appreciation of diversity to use in conjunction with an elementary school mentoring program.
The Greeley West FFA chapter from Greeley, Colorado, was recognized in the Healthy Lifestyles category. Their project titled “Freedom to Cowboy Up” gave FFA members the opportunity to volunteer their time to three different therapeutic riding centers in their community. FFA members also held a Health and Safety Literacy Fair for preschool students.
Perrydale High School FFA from Amity, Oregon, was recognized in the Social & Human Services Category for their ‘Food for All’ program. FFA members collected 211,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables from local farms which were distributed throughout the state of Oregon.
In addition to the category winners, two additional awards of $1,500 were given for significant contributions during the past four years of the initiative. The Blytheville FFA Chapter of Blytheville, Arkansas was recognized as a small chapter that has made a big impact though the Million Hour Challenge. The Louisiana State FFA Association was recognized as having the most active association with chapters contributing more than half a million hours over the past four years of the program.
The Million Hour Challenge awards program is made possible by Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 523,309 student members as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a Federal Charter granted by the 81st United States Congress, and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more information visit www.ffa.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and FFA Nation.