CORVALLIS, Ore. - The 4-H Participatory Evaluation with Youth program at Oregon State University has received the MetLife Foundation Award of Excellence.

The $1,500 award is one of four given by the National 4-H Council to programs that are approved as "Programs of Distinction" through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The OSU program was recognized for excellence in citizenship programming in an after-school/out-of-school environment.

The award money will be used for travel by 4-H teens from Deschutes County who were selected to make a presentation at the national meeting of the American Evaluation Association Nov. 14 in Orlando, Fla. Their presentation is "Youth Participatory Evaluation: The Perspectives of Youth Researchers and Evaluators."

"This marks the first time that youth will be peer-reviewed presenters at the AEA conference," said Mary Arnold, an OSU 4-H youth development specialist. Deschutes County presenters are Madison Mills, Kendal Johnson, Netti Knowles and Anna Shoffner. David White is leader of the team.

The Participatory Evaluation with Youth program was developed by Arnold and Elissa Wells, an OSU 4-H educator in Coos County. The program trains youths and adults to work together to identify community needs and find ways to address them.

The team from Deschutes County is helping students navigate the transition from high school to college or career. Another group created a beautification project for the U.S. Olympic team track and field trials in Eugene. In Newport, young people interviewed employers and shared job information with their peers.

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Mary E. Arnold, 541-737-1315