Estella (Stella) Almeida of Eatontown, New Jersey was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on October 7 for her lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. Honored by the New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program, Almeida was one of 16 people inducted during the ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) or 4-H National Headquarters/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.
“We are proud to acknowledge Stella Almeida for her passion, dedication, vision and leadership she’s shown toward our young people during her many years of service to 4-H,” says Jeannette Rea Keywood, National 4-H Hall of Fame Committee Chair.
Almeida became involved in the Monmouth County 4-H Youth Development Program when her children joined 4-H in 1980 and now 36 years later exemplifies outstanding citizenship in her attention to the needs and concerns of other. Stella Almeida is a motivated and committed 4-H volunteer who has embraced the program at is core and contributed on the county, state, national and international levels.
Almeida began as a dedicated 4-H horse club leader, but over the years has also chaperoned state delegations to national 4-H events, assisted with county advisory councils and planned major equine events including the State 4-H Horse Show. Even after her children aged out of the 4-H program, Almeida has continued her service and dedication to the 4-H mission and positive youth development and has been heard saying “It’s not about the project it’s about the program; it’s about the kids.”
Almeida has developed and led many programs, both at the county and state levels. She developed the county 4-H presentation curriculum, has been a state public presentation contest judge, a state 4-H Equine Presentations team coach, and is currently the national chair of the Eastern Regional National 4-H Round Up Equine Presentations program. For more than 30 years, she served as the coordinator for the Monmouth County and Tri-County 4-H Horse Shows. She has chaired the State 4-H Horse Show for 25 years and has been chair of the New Jersey 4-H Horse Project Advisory Council several times and has served as its Vice Chair and Secretary.
In addition to the equine program, she has supported the state 4-H program in the civic and citizenship areas for the state delegation trips to Citizenship Washington Focus and the International Japanese Exchange. Almeida was on the planning committee for Northeast Regional 4-H Leaders’ Forum as she recognized the importance of educating and supporting other 4-H volunteers.
In addition to her life-long service to 4-H, Almeida has coordinated benefit horse shows to raise money for St Jude’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House for several years. Her club has been recognized with a Community Service award for writing letters to active duty military members and for providing donations for military packs. She has developed a 4-H partnership with local VFW and Veteran Organizations and has provided opportunities for 4-H members to participate in Armed Forces Day at Monmouth County military bases—Ft. Monmouth and Earle Naval Weapons Station. Outside of 4-H, she has contributed as a citizen in her community by helping needy families and supporting Veterans groups with her husband Manny, who is an active member of the State and Local Veterans organizations.
Stella has been recognized for her contributions with the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents Volunteer of the Year award in 2001; the 2002 NJ Agricultural Experiment Station/Rutgers Cooperative Extension Volunteer of the Year Award; and the Eastern National Round-Up Outstanding Service Award in 2014.
Stella is not only an excellent role model for 4-H members, but she provides support and encouragement to 4-H leaders and inspires them to be active and step up when help is needed. She always goes well beyond what is expected and the standards in her 4-H life and personal life are a beacon for all who know her.
Honorees were presented with a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque and memory book during the ceremony. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of the NAE4-HA in partnership with National 4-H Council and NIFA-USDA. For more information about the National 4-H Hall of Fame event and past recipients, visit www.nae4ha.com/hof