TULSA, Okla. — The National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) strives to create opportunities for its members to grow, even outside of the show ring. The NJAA has always emphasized community service, and this year a program was created specifically for this cause. The Angus Impact program aims to encourage and facilitate community service initiatives for Angus youth to partake in. Keegan Cassady, 2019-2020 membership chair for the National Junior Angus Board, was the driving force behind bringing this program to existence.
“We wanted to create a program that involved juniors all year long and got them involved in their communities,” said Cassady. “This year our cause is food insecurity, which hits very close to home for our juniors as young agriculturalists.”
At the 2020 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, members were encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food items to be donated to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Together, the juniors were able to collect 175 pounds of donations. Board members Dylan Denny, Tyler Bush and Keegan Cassady had the opportunity to hand-deliver their donation, visiting with staff and learning more about the important role the food bank plays in providing food for eastern Oklahoma.
“The community really is the backbone of what we do here,” said Jenny Berry, media coordinator and graphic designer for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. They serve the 24 eastern counties of Oklahoma through 350 partner agencies, typically providing about 464,000 meals per week. She says that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has increased to about 700,000 meals per week since the beginning of April. Continued donations have been crucial to keeping up with these changes in both supply and demand.
“Having these young people wanting to step up and help make a donation is really inspiring to see,” said Berry.
The NJAA is passionate about the importance of building strong leaders and citizens, rather than just successful showmen. When spearheading this project, the junior board didn’t want it to be a one-time occurrence. It’s their intention that this continues to be a priority for junior associations across the country well into the future. Cassady hopes that juniors will continue to enjoy participating in the Angus Impact program and appreciate its purpose.
“We hope that throughout the years the Angus Impact program will grow,” said Cassady. “We want to make sure juniors are engaged and excited about helping others.”
–Peyton Schmitt, Angus Communications
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