Local woman receives Friend of Extension Award


Purdue Extension Jackson County recently announced Iveth Vasquez had been named the recipient of the 2020 Friend of Extension Award for the state of Indiana.

The Seymour woman started the Working for Our Dreams 4-H Club that provides a well-rounded 4-H experience for Latino youth. She also serves on the 4-H expansion and review committee and Purdue Extension board and is employed by Purdue Extension Jackson County as a site coordinator for the Juntos 4-H program.

“To be honest, I do not have words to express how I feel. It is too much to explain,” she said. “I feel like Joseph in Egypt. God is putting me in a position that is reserved for only a few people. I am grateful to him first.

“I feel surprised, happy, grateful, humbled, proud to be a part of Jackson County and motivated to keep doing the best for the people in this community regardless of color, race, language and nationality.”

Indiana 4-H has used her help to create Spanish promotional videos for its website.

Vasquez also serves on the Hispanic Task Force for Healthy Jackson County, a collaboration between organizations working to promote and improve healthy living within the county. She has helped in translating and sharing information in Spanish amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally from Honduras, Vasquez was a medical doctor there for six years before finding a home in Seymour for the past 20 years. She is a pastor’s wife and has two daughters, Marcegui and Amelia.

Marcegui is enrolled in her second year at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Amelia is a senior at Seymour High School with plans of studying at Purdue University.

Iveth works as an instructional assistant at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School in Seymour and as a translator for Child Care Network. She also is a volunteer for Schneck Medical Center and the Jackson County Health Dept.

Serving with Jackson County AmeriCorps from 2010 to 2013, she wanted to establish a club in Jackson County to help engage the Latino youth population. She was eventually put in contact with Purdue Extension and learned about 4-H.

In 2013, she was a Governor’s Service Award recipient for AmeriCorps for the state of Indiana.

When conducting research on 4-H, she called the youth program “the perfect fit for our culture.”

“4-H teaches them to love and serve their community,” Vasquez said.

Since the Working for Our Dreams club started in November 2011, Vasquez said all five generations of her high school seniors have finished high school with 95% of them in college, while 85% are 21st Century Scholars or have another kind of scholarship.

All of the kids who have been in her 4-H club, from fifth grade all the way to high school seniors, are involved in community service. Some have had the opportunity to travel outside Seymour to represent Indiana.

Vasquez said two things fascinate her about serving with 4-H.

“First, when you enter 4-H, you already belong to a great family. Second, all 4-H clubs around the world belong to an extension of a university,” she said.

She is thankful for Purdue University’s help in Indiana 4-H.

“In this case, we have the privilege of belonging to Purdue University,” she said. “Therefore, you are not leading the boat along, you have someone who supports you, encourages you to continue serving and helps you develop professionally to make you work more effective.”

Vasquez said she doesn’t think she’ll practice medicine in the United States, but she sees the help that she’s providing through 4-H.

“I am multiplying myself in every kid that belongs to 4-H,” she said. “I am teaching them to live with the 4-H pledge and motto for the rest of their lives to serve the people whenever they live.”

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