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April 8, 2016
Community involvement

How Pepper's Hands-Only CPR training inspired a vision for community outreach

Inspired by the training received through Pepper and partner American Heart Association, Pepper Project Executive LeeAnn McNamara wanted to champion Hands Only CPR training with the McHenry County 4-H Clubs.

"I thought this straight-forward and potentially life-saving strategy could help our 4-H youth become the next generation of life-savers," said LeeAnn.  

4-H is a youth organization whose cornerstone belief is "learning by doing." The foundation for 4-H began in the late 1800s and was geared more for the future of rural youth. It has since blossomed as a community to support leadership, citizenship and life skills in the youth of today - rural, suburban and urban. 

4-H logo
The four Hs stand for Head (managing, thinking), Heart (relating, caring), Hands (giving, working) and Health (being, living).

"I have been a long-time 4-H volunteer, and my kids are fourth generation 4-H-ers," she explained.

Last year, LeeAnn joined the McHenry County 4-H Youth Foundation board where she presented the value of Hands-Only CPR training. The foundation board voted to invest in an American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR school training kit that included the necessary equipment for the training. 

Last month, they held their first two sessions, training nearly 40 individuals including 4-H youth, family and friends. The training sessions consisted of a short AHA introduction video and demonstration by a trained 4-H youth, followed by practicing in small groups (reminiscent of the Pepper safety training groups). It emphasized AHA’s four components of high quality CPR: two-inch deep compressions, full recoil, 100 compressions per minute (Stayin' Alive song) and minimizing interruptions.

The vision is to continue training the county’s approximately 600 4-H Club members, with the larger goal of the 4-H youth becoming trainers/assistants as part of a "pay forward" community service outreach. 

LeeAnn shared the inspiration for her idea: "Last month was just the beginning. Pepper inspired me, and I hope, in turn, our actions inspire others."