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J. Sprain, UF/IFAS Extension, Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL.

Situation: More than 2,000 students in Osceola County are homeless, 25% are English Language Learners (Education Foundation, Osceola County), and more than a quarter of school children are on their own after the school day ends (Afterschool Alliance). All of these factors create a challenging environment for young people to develop life skills and prepare for tomorrow’s workforce in Osceola County. To combat these problems, an afterschool mentoring program, 4-H Tech Wizards, was implemented at a local Title 1 high school to focus on life-skill development.

Methods: The 4-H Tech Wizards program is an afterschool mentoring program that pairs trained adult community mentors and local high school mentees in group style mentoring sessions, while implementing hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based curriculum. Since 2016, thirty-two adult mentors have been trained to support over 288 youth.

Results: The results of the annual 4-H Tech Wizards program pre/posttest survey of program mentees, conducted since 2016, shows that 100% of program participants have developed at least one life skill and have built stronger relationships with those around them. 64% of participants increased how well they worked with others (teamwork). 26% of participants increased the frequency in which they can explain that their decision is a good one (critical-thinking). 62% of participants felt more confident sharing their thoughts and feelings with others (communication). 81% of participants indicated that the frequency that they listened well to others and were respectful of others increased (concern for others). In addition, 78% of mentees can work successfully with adults. 81% have a stronger connection with adults and their friends.

Conclusion: Because of the 4-H Tech Wizards program, over 288 youth have developed life skills and built positive, supportive relationships with peers and adults. These factors help youth to become productive, well-adjusted citizens prepared for the workforce.


  1. WOW! Thanks Jessica, for sharing this successful program…going strong for 3 years!

  2. Thank you for sharing how you have created successful mentoring relationships.

  3. I love Tech Wizards, so great when youth become mentors and trainers of other especially adults.
    Im glad the program had been very well adaptable for FL.

  4. good job, thanks. you got very impressive comment from Laura Cash!

  5. Congratulations on serving youth who really need support.

  6. Are you able to followup on the mentees to see if they go to work or go for more job training, etc?

  7. This is why we do what we do – how impactful!