From the fair to the future

2013-10-09T00:00:00Z From the fair to the futureSpecial to The Times
October 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As 4-H parents, James and Tammie Ringas, of Chesterton, have many stories to tell. Like the model rocket that caught fire before launch, the dog that relieved himself in the performance ring, and the two years they worked together to bring a hopping 45 projects to the Porter County Fair. Each experience helped their four children grow into successful adults.

“4-H has provided so many opportunities for the kids. They’ve learned skills like sewing and aerospace and photography, but they’ve also learned leadership and community service,” Ringas said.

The Ringas family has been involved in Porter County 4-H for nearly two decades. As the nation’s largest youth organization, 4-H offers hands-on educational programs, tapping into the knowledge base of Purdue University and other universities as well as the United States Department of Agriculture. Yet 4-H isn’t just for farm families. Each year, hundreds of families participate in Porter County 4-H and many, like the Ringas family, do not live on a farm.

All four of the Ringas children have been active in 4-H, beginning with Aris, who is now 22 and a recent graduate of Indiana University. One year Aris took 26 projects to the Porter County Fair on her own. She recently landed a job with a high-profile consulting company.

“Her 4-H skills have absolutely helped her succeed in college and her career. She learned organization, presentation skills, and how to take a project from an idea to fruition,” Tammie Ringas said.

Younger sister Britta, 21, was Porter County Fair Queen last year and competed in the state fair queen pageant in Indianapolis. She is pursuing a career in apparel merchandising, which began with sewing projects in 4-H. Sons Colin and Datin have also been active in 4-H and all four got involved in public service as a result of 4-H, helping with the postal service’s food drive annually, donating time at the Ronald McDonald House and lending a hand with town functions as well.

The Ringas family represents many Porter County families who benefit from the services of local nonprofit organizations. To help support the organizations that are helping local youth, the Porter County Community Foundation is sponsoring Porter County GIVE Day, in partnership with The Times Media Company.

Porter County GIVE Day is a one-day giving holiday Nov. 7 that benefits 26 nonprofit organizations that make life better for Porter County youth. ON this day gifts to 26 local organizations will receive matching funds from a pool of more than $50,000 contributed by generous sponsors through the Porter County Community Foundation. so on Nov. 7, a gift can go further and do more in the local community.

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