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Stanly County native Stephen Misenheimer, Jr. has joined the Warren County Cooperative Extension Center staff as assistant extension agent, 4-H.

He grew up in Albemarle and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Wingate University.

Misenheimer’s work with the local 4-H program will allow him to continue his mission to help youth prepare for all aspects of adult life. His dream of giving back to others began to develop in high school.

“When I was in high school, I started to realize that when I got older and became rich, I wanted to give back to the community and help kids,” Misenheimer said.

As time went on, he concluded that he would have to wait for the “get rich” part of his dream to come true. However, he never changed his goal of helping youth.

“When I got older, I realized that you do not have to have all the money in the world to help kids,” Misenheimer said.

He drew upon his love of basketball to serve as a coach in the community for a number of years. Misenheimer played basketball much of his life, through his sophomore year of college. In high school, he helped his team reach the playoffs in his sophomore through senior years.

In college, Misenheimer was active with My Brother’s Keeper, working with young minority boys to help them develop team building and life skills. He helped the youth learn how to express their emotions in positive ways.

“It was amazing to see them blossom, to see them grow,” Misenheimer said.

With My Brother’s Keeper, he assisted elementary and middle school boys. In coaching, he worked with middle and high school students.

Misenheimer joined the Warren County 4-H staff on Nov. 2. He quickly noticed similarities between the local area and his native Stanly County, including small schools, fields and back roads.

“There are a lot of things they have in common,” he said. “It feels like going home.”

In his role with 4-H, Misenheimer will work to develop educational and research-based programs to help youth build life skills. Because 4-H programs are currently being offered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he must plan activities that can be shared via Zoom. In the midst of all of this, Misenheimer is also working on programs to offer once it is safe to meet in person.

As he settles into his new role, Misenheimer feels right at home in Warren County and at Cooperative Extension.

“I’m really happy to be here,” he said. “Everyone has been super nice in welcoming me to Warren County. (Cooperative Extension Director) Crystal Smith and the whole Cooperative Extension team have been helpful. I couldn’t be happier than where I am. I look forward to meeting more Warren County people and building relationships over time.”