October 2, 2015 - 11:31am -- young.1414

Summer is officially over now that all the kids are back in school; Friday night high school football games are taking place all across Ohio; and, fall harvest is just around the corner.  Summer has truly come and gone for 2015.  This also means more teens are on our roadways during the school week.  More teens are settling in to the new school year with homework, extracurricular activities, and going to work.  This week I would like to focus my article on teen drivers.  How many of you know what the 4-H CARTEENS program is all about?  The 4-H CARTEENS primary purpose is to decrease the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders by educating them on safe driving habits.  The program is offered here at the OSU Extension office in Butler County. 

The program is a partnership between the Butler County Juvenile Justice Center, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio State University Extension.  The youth participants in this program are first time offenders.  They are mandated by the juvenile justice center to attend the 4-H CARTEENS program.  At the conclusion of the 4-H CARTEENS program, the youth participants leave with a better understanding of  the ramifications of driving under the influence, increased awareness of state traffic laws, better knowledge of how to correct their reckless driving habits and reduce their road rage, and systematically wear their seatbelt while driving.  In addition, youth participants also learn the importance of reducing their speed behind the wheel, recognize the hazards of road conditions due to weather, increase their knowledge of current traffic signs, reduce their  driving inattentiveness while behind the wheel and appreciate the life altering experiences of people who have been ticketed for operating a vehicle impaired.

Parents are mandated to attend the entire program with their child, which includes five educational stations which consists of:

1) Operating a vehicle under the influence,

2) Ohio Traffic Laws and Street Signs,

3) Speeding,

4) Seat Belts, and

5) Driving distractions. 

The peer teens teaching the program are all enrolled in the Butler County 4-H program.  The 4-H members are required to arrive at the program by 5:00 pm.  The peer teen volunteers come in and set up everything for the evening program.  Each 4-H CARTEENS volunteer receives four volunteer credit hours for each program, plus there are outside events that they can earn additional volunteer hours.  The recorded hours are used for completing scholarship applications offered by the 4-H CARTEENS program, job applications and school service learning project evaluations.  Many schools in Butler County require their youth to do some kind of service learning project in their local community.  Youth from Badin High School and Lakota Schools utilize this program to complete their community volunteer service hours.  At the end of the service learning project, the 4-H CARTEENS coordinator completes a brief evaluation for the school the youth attends. 

Service learning benefits numerous parties, from the schools to the agencies to the communities and society (Civic Literacy Project 2002), but overall, it is the students who need and receive the most gain.  Service learning was introduced into schools on the premise the students would evince academic gains from their volunteering efforts.  Current research indicates that much can be derived from using volunteer work for educational purposes.

Youth that complete their service learning at the 4-H CARTEENS program gain a better knowledge of road safety, improved confidence, develop better public speaking skills, learn how to be attentive to the needs of others, and they make some awesome friends for life.  The program also offers scholarships to graduating high school seniors. 

4-H has been around for over 100 years and has a very rich history here in Butler County.  There are a lot of proud 4-H alumni in Butler County.  Adding the 4-H CARTEENS program to a resume or job application will only help you to stand out in the crowd of applicants in today’s job market. 

Program Information

What:  4-H CARTEENS of Butler County

When:  (September 16th, 23rd, 30th), (October 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th), (November 4th, 11th, 18th), (December 2nd, 9th, 16thLook for 2016 dates later this fall.

Where:  1802 Princeton Road, Ste. #400 Hamilton, OH   45011

Program Start and End Time:  6:15 pm until 8:30 pm (Those attending should arrive by 5:45 pm in order to get checked in for the evening program.)

Cost:  $30.00 - CASH ONLY

Note:  (1) A parent is required to participate in the entire program with their teen, and (2) per court order, your child must successfully score a passing grade on the test at the end of the program.

Questions:  Contact Kevin Harris at harris.2184@osu.edu or by phone at (513) 785-6650.

For up-to-date program information, check us out on the web at:  butler.osu.edu.

News Release provided by Kevin Harris.