Urban Wisconsin teacher wins Sav-A-Caf® Youth Impact Award
$2,000 donation will help recipient grow school’s agriculture program
Milk Products, maker of Sav-A-Caf® products, is excited to announce the inaugural Sav-A-Caf® Youth Impact Award recipient: Monica Gahan, animal science pathway teacher and FFA advisor at Vincent High School in Milwaukee, Wis.
The Sav-A-Caf® Youth Impact Award annually recognizes one community leader who inspires youth to be passionate about animal agriculture.
“Gahan’s work of bringing agriculture to the urban classroom is instrumental in helping shape the future of today’s youth. She helps bring experiences with animals and agriculture to inner-city youth who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity,” says Stefanie Fieck, house brands manager for Milk Products. “We are thrilled to present the inaugural award to such a deserving individual.”
Inspirational, compassionate, optimistic, genuine and dynamic – all words Monica Gahan’s nominator used to describe her. Gahan is an animal science pathway teacher and FFA advisor at Vincent High School, set in the heart of Milwaukee. In her role, she strives to inspire urban youth about animal agriculture. Along with Meghan Sawdy who nominated her for the award, Gahan initiated an FFA program at their high school. Because of their work, youth have the opportunity to raise and show animals, manage a business to sell farm fresh products at the school’s market and learn hands-on agriculture science.
“Beyond teaching urban students agriculture skills, Gahan’s biggest impact happens when disruptive students sit peacefully next to a calf or aspire to become an agriculture nutritionist,” says Sawdy. “Though many of these students will not pursue a career in agriculture, Gahan knows her students will be consumers and she wants them to be educated agriculture advocates after high school.”
Gahan’s FFA program will receive a $2,000 donation from Milk Products, in addition to select Sav-A-Caf® branded products for winning the Sav-A-Caf® Youth Impact award.
From an outstanding group of applicants, two runner-ups are also recognized: Marilyn Day of Kahoka, Mo., first runner-up and Richard Peters of Norman, Okla., second runner-up.
First Runner-Up: Marilyn Day, Missouri
Marilyn Day is a 4-H leader actively involved in the beef, swine, sheep and goat projects in Clark County, Mo. She mentors livestock youth by helping them understand the physical and financial needs of raising animals.
“Her passion for agriculture is the cornerstone of many young lives as demonstrated by her commitment, encouragement and pride when involved with livestock members,” says Trudi Baker, nominator. “Day strives to bring innovative approaches to animal agriculture to keep Clark County moving forward.”
Day encourages both young and older members to be involved in the agriculture industry – teaching younger members the industry basics and challenging older members to understand the current issues it faces.
Second Runner-Up: Richard Peters, Oklahoma
Richard Peters is a leader in the Canadian Valley Junior and Open Poultry Club. He works tirelessly to promote the production and exhibition of poultry in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
“Peters is a wealth of information and always willing to help others improve their breeding and show programs,” says Amber Spires, nominator. “He routinely works with youth to help identify their best show birds and is great about answering questions.”
His biggest role in the club is coordinating a chick giveaway every year. Through this event, he works with a network of breeders to donate chicks for youth in the community to start their flock. Peters takes great joy in helping youth raise and show poultry.
“We are thrilled with the quality of applicants to choose from for this year’s award – all making a tremendous impact on youth in their communities,” says Fieck. “We are confident the future of agriculture is in great hands through the efforts of these incredible leaders.”
For more information about Sav-A-Caf®, like My Farm Journey on Facebook.