(Note: The headline on this article was changed to correct an original typographic error.)
OBERLIN, Ohio — A freshman at Firelands High School is helping a local women and children’s shelter in a big way.
Genesis House is a domestic violence center helping victims survive acts of violence and obtain physical and mental well-being. The money will likely be used toward keeping the 24-hour contact hotline available, said Marilyn Zeidner, the shelter’s executive director.
“It means a lot to us,” Zeidner said. “4-H and other similar activities are ways that we’re teaching the next generation to volunteer and give back to the community.”
It’s common for 4-H members to donate a percentage of their checks to charitable organizations, but the amount Demi donated and the cause, stand out.
“People are important to me,” said Demi Dovin, adding that Genesis House has the potential to help “babies who could become successful 4-H’ers like us.”
Demi is a member of the Lorain County Steer Club and Wellington Happy Farmers 4-H club. When she’s not busy with schoolwork and her fair projects, she’s usually working on the family’s dairy operation — Dovin Dairy Farms — along state Route 58.
The Dovins milk about 650 head of cows and keep about 1,150 dairy animals total. Demi helps vaccinate and feed calves, and with some book work on the farm.
Demi said she decided on the amount of her donation after visiting Genesis House online, where she learned $1,000 could provide someone shelter for up to one month. Her steers were bought by her dad, John Dovin, and Sunrise Cooperative of Elyria.
Her mother, Jacquie Dovin, said the idea to donate the money to the shelter started with her daughter.
“I think it’s a great thing to give back to the community in whatever way she wants to give back to the community,” she said. “She’s (Demi) a caring kid.”
Demi said one of the biggest things she gets from 4-H is leadership skills. The program provides many “fun things some people would think are really (boring), but I think they are really fun,” she said.
Lorain County has a large junior fair, held in Wellington, and the overall event is billed as the second largest in the state. But, like other counties, the 4-H program is struggling financially to survive.
Voters failed a quarter percent sales tax in November and officials say the 4-H program, which has been around for more than 100 years and currently involves about 2,000 youth county wide, will be in “serious jeopardy” and could dissolve if it suffers additional funding cuts.
Minnie Taylor, 4-H educator for Lorain County, said the community is proud of Demi’s efforts, and other members who help charitable causes.
“That’s part of the philosophy of 4-H, to develop our youth to make wise choices for themselves and their community,” Taylor said.
Taylor said it’s especially rewarding to see these types of donations by youth during tough economic times.
“She’s a perfect example of a great Lorain County 4-H member,” Taylor said.