4-H service projects ‘make the best better’

Nino is shown in Nicaragua.

Two teenage girls are taking the 4-H motto—“to make the best better”—to heart.
Hollister resident Sarah Nino and Gilroy resident Julianna Figone are giving back to the local and international communities all while earning prestigious awards: Emerald Star and All Star patches for the hats of their uniforms.
If they earn both patches, stay active in 4-H and keep their grades up, they’ll have a chance to win a college scholarship through the county 4-H program.
Nino, 17, is working to bring at least 100 handmade dresses to children in Nicaragua as part of a project to earn her Emerald Star. In the past, Nino helped make dresses sent to schools and orphanages in Africa, so she is using the same design to make these ones destined for Central America.
“It was my first thought because we did it last year and I knew I was going to plan on going to Nicaragua this year,” Nino said.
On Feb. 8, Nino gathered with other 4-Hers and their families to make dresses. She also gave away kits so others not at the meeting can put together dresses.
“They’re all really bright and colorful,” said her mom, Tracy Nino. “And the thing is: These kids in Nicaragua have never seen anything new.”
But Sarah Nino isn’t the only one putting the four “H’s” —head, heart, hands and health­­­­—together in the true 4-H fashion. Figone, 15, is also planning a project this spring, which will have her refurbishing more than 50 picnic tables at Bolado Park, the home of the San Benito County Fair, as she works to earn her All-Star patch.
Figone shows at the annual fair each year and uses the R.V. Park, where she often struggles to find a good table.
“These picnic tables have been out there for 40-plus years,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a struggle every year to find a picnic table to put by our trailers that will actually support people.”
Figone will be replacing old boards with new ones and painting the benches to give them a fresher look. Her project was approved by the 33rd Agricultural District—which oversees the Bolado Park property—last week and she even got a few offers for sponsorships.
“I was really happy,” Figone said. “I had talked to the 4-H council and I asked them originally for $5,000, but they only granted me $200 so I’m kind of hoping everything else from here on will work out.”
To find out more about the project at Bolado Park or to learn about sponsoring a bench, email Figone at [email protected]. A $125 donation covers the cost of refurbishing one table and a plaque will be placed on it naming the donors. Make checks payable to the Fairview 4-H Club on 3228 Southside Road, Hollister and include contact information in the letter. To learn more about the sewing project, email Nino at [email protected].

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