One of Barbour County’s own 4-H volunteers was recently honored at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana as a 4-H Volunteer of the Year.
Receiving one of these first time awards was Lorena Ponce who was honored at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana as one of seven Alabama 4-H Volunteers of the Year. Ponce was also given a beautiful piece of pottery that was hand crafted by 4-H members from Kentucky.
Originally from Chile, Ponce is no stranger to Volunteer awards, having won last year’s Farm City Volunteer of the Year for Barbour County. Ponce holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from LSU and graduated from Leadership Barbour, both of which has come to serve her well as she volunteers with the local 4-H program.
As a 4-H volunteer, she leads community programs within schools and the Boy and Girls Clubs of Lake Eufaula to initiate outdoor classrooms, teaching children about growing vegetables. With her leadership, 300 local third grade students were able to take their gardens from soil to fork at Harvest Day. She also works with 4-H to provide STEM activities for youth at public functions.
“She truly was, and is, the driving force behind our local school gardens,” commented Jill Wachs, 4-H Foundation Regional Extension Agent. Ponce also serves on the 4-H Adult Advisory Council.
Ponce also works with the Barbour County School system as a parent liaison translating for Hispanic parents and showing them how they can learn and practice English. She has assisted in redesigning Eufaula’s Playground of Dreams, volunteering in the city’s community garden and helping plan the city’s new Splash Pad.
“The Barbour County Extension Office is extremely grateful for the hours that Lorena puts toward making Eufaula a better place,” Wachs said.