Lanier County residents are living healthier and smarter one University of Georgia Extension program at a time.
Rachel Hubbard's job as Lanier County's family and consumer sciences (FACS) agent is to engage with area residents and teach them about topics like food safety or financial capability through educational programs. Hubbard has proven to be a valuable asset since arriving in Lanier County in 2004.
"Not only does Rachel provide excellent administration as the Lanier County Extension coordinator, but she also mentors new agents and strengthens Extension outreach across all program areas," said Southwest District FACS Program Development Coordinator Andrea Scarrow. "She is an expert in family and consumer sciences subject matter, including food safety, financial capability and nutrition."
Hubbard not only teaches programs, she develops them. She helped create a nationally recognized financial youth curriculum, called "Your Money, Your Future." Extension agents in multiple states are now implementing the program.
"We want to help people that are already in dire situations, but we really try to start educating at young ages so they will develop good habits, whether it be eating right, exercising or managing their money or savings, so they have those habits established. When they become adults, they are less likely to be in negative situations," Hubbard said.
Included in the money-saving curriculum is a lesson designed to teach sixth-graders how to manage money and how to start saving money. The goal is to teach students Â when they're young so that good financial habits start early.
Hubbard said sixth-graders have been receptive to her "Savings Makes Cents" program. They enjoy seeing how money grows over time and they learn the value of money.
Teaching Lanier County residents about chronic disease and how to maintain good health is also high on Hubbard's priority list.
"We're always working with people who are trying to be healthy or someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes or other chronic diseases," she said. "They just want guidance to change how they eat so they can manage those health issues."
Hubbard also conducts multiple food safety trainings with Lanier County restaurant managers, school nutrition employees and the general public. She answers their cooking-related questions: What's the right temperature to cook a certain food? What's safe to eat if your freezer stops working?
Hubbard graduated from UGA with a master's degree in food science and technology. While most of her fellow graduates sought employment with food companies and in industry-related fields, Hubbard followed the UGA Extension route. It was a path that suited Hubbard, who prefers teaching and helping people.
"I knew about Extension a little bit," Hubbard said. "My background in school was centered around food safety. When I was getting ready to graduate and look at jobs, I found Extension. It just seemed really interesting."
Hubbard has proven to be a difference-maker in a little more than a decade of service to Extension. In the future, she plans to implement new programs in her county.
"I am interested in doing a little more in the area of housing and healthy homes. I think when we talk about people that live in poverty and have health issues, where they live and their environment can play a big factor in their health," Hubbard said. "Money also ties into that. What's affordable for them? That's something I would like to be able to do more programming with in the future."
Visit the UGA Extension Lanier County website for more information about local programs.
Published June 1, 2015
Jennifer Rachel Hubbard
Family and Consumer Sciences
"We want to help people that are already in dire situations, but we really try to start educating at young ages so they will develop good habits, whether it be eating right, exercising or managing their money or savings, so they have those habits established. When they become adults, they are less likely to be in negative situations.'"
- Rachel Hubbard, Lanier County FACS Agent