Modesky has been involved in 4-H since 1939, and has volunteered her time, talent and skills to help 4-H thrive. She became a 4H volunteer in 1968 when she organized a 4-H club in her community and led it for 15 years.
While involved in her club, she became a volunteer on the 4-H Advisory Committee and Extension Advisory Committee. She was also a member of the Duval County 4-H Foundation’s Board of Directors for several years, and she held numerous leadership positions, including President. In these roles she influenced policy for Duval County’s overall cooperative extension programs and its 4-H youth development programs. She also raised financial support to help the 4-H program.
Modesky was instrumental in establishing Duval County’s 4-H “My Government Day” which has existed for 16 years. My Government Day is a local 4-H program, which focuses on the role of local government in the community. Each year, different topics are selected for young people to learn about. Past topics include, hurricane preparedness, trials, city council meetings, local elections, and immigration
“The difference she has made and is still making in their lives will last a lifetime,” says Judie Toulouse, who nominated Modesky for membership in the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame. “ She shows youth by her actions that one person can make a difference and can improve the lives of others.
Modesky has served as a chaperone for 4-H youth at State 4-H Marine Science Camp, summer camp at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake, and for district, state and national 4-H programs. “Marge has positively improved the lives of others in this community with her timeless hours of service to both adults and youth,” noted Toulouse.
Teaching youth the value of helping hands is also important to Modesky. She helped 4-H members make shower caddies that were donated to the local rescue mission. Her club has provided books for the statewide 4-H literacy initiative, collected canned food for the needy, and filled Christmas stockings for those less fortunate.
Events like “My Government Day,” don’t just teach youth knowledge, but they also help young people master life skills that can be applied in other areas of their lives. Modesky has always been able to look beyond the topic at hand and to see the underlying principles of youth development. Toulouse said, “She has enabled youth to demonstrate knowledge of group dynamics & processes, improve their public speaking abilities and have a sense of purpose.”
Modesky has volunteered with the First Coast 4-H Fashion Show at the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair since it began. Teaching youth how to sew – whether it’s pajamas, a pillow, or a community service item – was always fun for Modesky, but it also carried a deeper purpose. It also taught young people how to make decisions and set goals. “She certainly has helped our youth to become capable, competent, and caring individuals in our society,” said Toulouse.
Modesky has been recognized for her volunteerism many times, with honors including: the Florida 4-H Volunteer of the Year (1982) and the Duval County 4-H Adult Volunteer Leader Award (1986). She was the first woman to receive the Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award (1997). She received a pin acknowledging her 35 years of service to 4-H in 2005.
Why does she volunteer tirelessly with the 4-H program year after year? Toulouse says, “She believes that anytime you help and support others you enrich your own life and those around you.”
Modesky is a successful homemaker, parent, grandparent and 4-H volunteer. Volunteerism has been her major career serving as an advocate for the 4-H program, said Toulouse. “She has set a high standard for her own personal excellence, and is continually working to be the best she can be!”