4-H Hosts Special Needs Livestock Show

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The Clarke County Extension Service says resuming its annual special needs 4-H livestock show in 2012 was a highlight of the year. So there was a lot of anticipation for this year's event, which took place Friday in Quitman.

"Well I think they should be able to do everything that we should," said Jesse Miller of Quitman. "I've got a brother that's special needs, and I try to help him as much as I can."

The 4-H youth program is one of the oldest and largest informal educational efforts in public education in the United States.

The mission objectives are to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills, and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of society.

In Quitman, special needs children get the opportunity to work with other young people to participate in the 4-H show.

"They actually get to do something that they want to do and just to help give back to the community," said Colton Lewis of Quitman.

Mayor Eddie Fulton says he's very proud of how the county and parents get involved just to show these special needs children a great time.

"They partner with some of the kids that are showing these pigs, and it gives a chance for special needs to participate," Fulton said. "It's probably one of the greatest things that was ever done; it was initiated here in Clarke County back in '94."

"It lets them see that they don't need to take for granted that they are able-bodied, and they have their health," said Extension coordinator Christy King. "So many things that these kids take for granted everyday they are seeing our special need students and its their opportunity to give back and to be thankful for what they've been given."

4-J leaders say this experience enriches the lives of everyone involved.