Daily Point of Light # 2422 May 19, 2003

Shannon Mitchell has volunteered with Hancock County 4-H for the past eight years. Being a 4-H member taught her the value of community service and developed a desire to become an active volunteer. She chose to incorporate her volunteer efforts into her selection of 4-H projects. The largest of her volunteer projects is raising and training pilot puppies to be future Guide Dogs for the Blind. She receives each pilot puppy at 7-8 weeks old. She trains proper guide dog behavior and basic obedience. Shannon trains them not to chase balls, cars, children, other animals, and not to jump or bark. When she completes all of the training requirements she returns the pilot puppy to Pilot Dogs Inc. This is a nonprofit organization that supplies Guide Dogs to the Blind at no cost.

Learning that individuals are in need of Guide Dogs, but unable to afford them due to the high cost is why she decided to become involved. The cost of a Guide Dog is approximately $5,600.00. Shannon started raising her first pilot puppy October 15,2001. She spent 12 months training her pilot puppy before returning it September 27, 2002. At that time she received her second pilot puppy. Shannon will train her current puppy until approximately September 2003. She supplies food, grooming, obedience training, and the equipment needed for raising each puppy. She spends $350.00 to $450.00 on each pilot puppy. To cover this cost she does odd jobs and collects coupons for the dog food.

In the past year she has volunteered within 4-H in many ways. She attended the Ohio Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century where she voted on actions to enhance 4-H at the State Level, represented Hancock County at the Ohio 4-H Volunteer Conference, and State 4-H Pet Pals Expo. She completed 40 hours of volunteering with elderly at local nursing homes as part of the 2002 Power of the Youth Champaign.

Shannon also volunteered more than 20 hours mentoring first year 4-H members, supervised several 4-H contests, roller-skating parties, and registered members at 4-H Fun Matches and Skillathons. She has led members at the Old Fashion Round-Up, taught a craft workshop, pioneer study workshop, and gave instructions on canoe safety. Shannon severed on the Hancock County 4-H committee voting on local issues and volunteered as a Camp Counselor at Camp Ohio. Shannon represents 4-H as secretary for the Junior Leaders Club and the Hancock County Junior Fair Board. In addition, she volunteered more than 300 hours last year to enhance Hancock County 4-H programs working with young children and conducting educational sessions at 4-H Camp.

Shannon volunteers with 4-H programs so young children can have fun learning experiences and activities. Shannon’s involvement in 4-H provides leadership, friendship, and a positive role model for young members. Shannon demonstrates to 4-H members the impact they can have in their community and encourages them to become involved.