COLUMBIA, Mo.— Kay Sparks of La Monte wears many hats: rancher, grandmother, former teacher and current MU Extension 4-H youth specialist. For her service as the state 4-H council mentor, Sparks was honored with the Friend of 4-H award at a ceremony on Sept. 21 in Columbia.

“We are grateful for all that Kay does. One of her strengths is guiding youth to fulfill their potential as leaders,” said Morgan Beach of the state 4-H council. “Kay goes beyond her job description. She serves as a great role model and has a heart of gold.”

In addition to her role as 4-H youth specialist for Benton and Pettis counties, Sparks served as state 4-H council mentor from 2010 to 2012. She volunteers at the Missouri State Fair, is a past president of the Missouri Association of Extension 4-H Youth Workers and a former Missouri 4-H Foundation trustee.

“Words cannot tell you how honored I was to receive the Friend of 4-H award,” said Kay Sparks. “These 4-H youth have truly touched my life and made me a better person. I feel blessed to have worked with them.”

The Friend of 4-H award is given to persons or organizations that provide outstanding service and partnership to the state 4-H council.

Celebrating more than 60 years of service to 4-H youth, the Missouri 4-H Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to secure and manage funds for the Missouri 4-H youth development program.

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