North High School Junior Amanda Deutsch Uses Experience at Heifer International Ranch to Fight Hunger in Her Own Community

When 16 year-old North High School junior Amanda Deutsch attended a retreat at the Heifer International Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, it changed the way she looked at hunger within her community, as well as the world. After returning home, she hatched a plan to educate youth about healthy eating and help provide food packs to children in need. Youth Resources is proud to honor her as Youth of the Month!

Amanda’s interest in hunger-solutions began shortly after a 4-H visit to one of Heifer International Ranch’s Global Villages. The mission of Heifer International Ranch is to end hunger and poverty by teaching sustainable agriculture and farming techniques to communities. The Ranch’s Global Gateway program invites groups to spend a night living in Global Villages to learn first-hand about hunger and poverty. 

“After arriving at Heifer International Ranch, we spent the evening playing games to get acquainted with the rest of the team, and the volunteers at the Ranch started to prepare us for our time in the Global Village the next day,” said Amanda. 

Amanda and other visitors spent that evening sleeping in an open barn on cots with sleeping bags that they brought from home. When they arrived at the Ranch it was sunny and 60 degrees, but the next morning it was heavily raining and 40 degrees.  

“We were only allowed to take a sleeping bag over in a trash bag to the village. They divided us into different experiences, and I drew the wood slums,” she said. “This was a small room under roof with uneven wood slats. This is what I was going to sleep on for the night. While we were in the village the rain continued for total of 2.2 inches. This made preparing dinner difficult to prepare over an open fire. Each group was given limited ingredients to make a meal with.”

Preparing “Fresh Fruit Friday and Protein Power Peanut Butter” take-home bags

“I quickly realized how fortunate I am and this has become my passion to help others in my own community. I knew people in third world countries experienced hunger, but had no idea how many are affected in my own community in Evansville,” Amanda said.

Nominator snd Star 4-H Leader Judi Reininga said Amanda’s time at the Global Village changed the way she saw hunger in the world, and in her own backyard: “The experience she had at Heifer International gave her a real understanding and empathy of those that are in need. She enjoys helping others, and does not shy away from these types of opportunities,” Judi said.

Amanda came home energized to make a difference in the hunger children were facing in her own community. She started teaching a 4 week “Healthy Habits” class at the Evansville Boys & Girls Club. She loved getting to know the kids there, and hearing their stories. However, she was troubled by how many of them relied heavily on snacks provided during their time at the Boys & Girls Club, because they were unsure if they would have dinner at home.

“While researching about food insecurity in Evansville, I realized there are many areas that are in 100% poverty level, including the Fulton Square Boys & Girls Club,” said Amanda.

Amanda helped write and secure a grant to provide “Fresh Fruit Friday and Protein Power Peanut Butter” take-home bags for the summer for times when the Backpack Food Program is not available. In addition to fundraising enough money to provide the summer take-home bags, they were also able to provide lunch sacks for the kids’ Friday field trips.

“Amanda is a true leader in our community. She is a positive role model for younger 4-H members and is always willing to help with community service projects,” said 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, Megan Hoffherr. “She has been involved in so many important projects: packing meals for Feed My Starving Children, buying holiday presents for families in need, and making cards for nursing home residents – just to name a few. She serves as an officer for the Star 4-H club and the Jr. Leader program, has chaired several Jr. Leader committees, and regularly helps ensure 4-H events run smoothly. She is a kind-hearted, enthusiastic leader and truly deserving of Youth of the Month.”

Volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club

At North, Amanda serves on the Student and Class Council and is a member of the Varsity Cheer Team. She is the secretary of Star 4-H Club, Junior Leaders Meeting Coordinator Officer, dances for Kay’s Dance Studio, is a Level 8 gymnast at Elite Gymnastics, and is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church youth group.

“To be named the Youth Resources’ Youth of the Month is such a great honor,” said Amanda. “My involvement in my 4-H Club and Junior Leaders has given me so many opportunities to help others and have fun, too. I love that our ideas are heard and we can help make Evansville the best place to live.” 

To nominate a student ages 5-18 for Youth of the Month, click here.