AgrAbility PA recognized three FFA chapters from the mid-state – Cumberland Valley, Central Columbia, and Columbia-Montour A.V.T.S. – as winners in its inaugural Bridging Horizons PA Contest.
The contest provided an opportunity for any Pennsylvania FFA Association chapter to make a positive impact in their community by enhancing independence or promoting success for farmers and their families with disabilities.
Entry categories included three options: completing a service project, developing an assistive technology tabletop demo, or creating a video presentation. The Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters split $400 as they collaborated on a service project. The Cumberland County FFA received $400 for an assistive technology tabletop demo.
Student representatives from each chapter accepted certificates on June 14 during a General Session event at the Bryce Jordan Center as part of Pennsylvania FFA’s 88th State Convention & Activities Week at Penn State. AgrAbility PA Project Director and Penn State Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education Dr. Connie Baggett presented the awards on stage to Nina, Nick, and Kennedy.
“We are pleased to recognize these students, in conjunction with their FFA chapter, whom exemplify not only the core principles of the Pennsylvania FFA – Purpose, Passion, and Potential – but also for their leadership to serve their communities at large with their time and talents,” said Dr. Baggett.
Mike Brammer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania FFA, thanked AgrAbility PA for offering the Bridging Horizons PA Contest to FFA chapters as a way to support school-based agricultural education.
Students from the Central Columbia FFA and Columbia-Montour AVTS FFA chapters worked collaboratively at the Eos Therapeutic Riding Center in Bloomsburg, Pa. The center provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons for mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged children and adults. The students worked over the course of a year to assist with facility needs, riding equipment needs, and rider needs.
A student with the Cumberland Valley FFA chapter developed a myoelectric prosthetic hand. This assistive technology developed out of an agriscience research project conducted by a student with an interest in robotics and prosthetics. The student started by creating models of hands from drinking straws and emerged into creating a function model out of lumber. The project evolved after a model of a hand was 3-D printed and programmed to operate from an electrical stimulus.
AgrAbility PA assists farmers and agricultural workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions by linking them with potential resources and by providing support they need to live independently and continue working in or return to production agriculture.
Information about next year’s Bridging Horizons Contest will be available on September 1, 2017 at http://www.bridginghorizonspa.org.
AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).