Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
FEEDING THE COMMUNITY THROUGH EDUCATION
Fifty-three schools across Cobb County are learning about pollinators, growing your own food, healthy soil, composting and much more. Cobb County Master Gardeners help educate the students and guide and teach the teachers through workshops. Teachers can also request free seeds through a seed bank for their students. Plant A Row for the Hungry is one of five community gardens that is supported by Cobb Master Gardeners through educational activities. Plant A Row produced over 3,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce to be delivered directly to Cobb Family Resources every Wednesday during harvest season. Cobb County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent Rolando Orellana created a four-phase training program: “From the Ground Up,” which educates on raised bed gardens; “What to Plant, When to Plant,” which addresses seasonal planting; “When Bad Things Happen to Good Plants,” which discusses disease management, insects, best watering techniques and fertilization; and “Into the Kitchen,” which provides training on harvesting, food safety, storage and utilization of produce in kitchens.
SELF-MANAGEMENT SKILLS IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE
Cobb County Extension conducts four different self-management programs. All are six to eight weeks in length. The Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program teaches participants practical self-management skills and provides information on how to better control their health conditions. The Diabetes Empowerment Education Program’s objectives are to reduce the risk factors of diabetes, increase knowledge of diabetes and increase self-management skills of the participants. A Matter of Balance is a program that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle for older adults, teaching mobility and flexibility practices that can reduce the fear of falling. Powerful Tools for Care Givers provides family caregivers with tools to increase their self-care and confidence. The following is a poignant example of how self-management programs can be a valuable tool to help improve someone’s quality of life: “When I was first diagnosed with my condition, I was scared, I felt paralyzed and I didn’t know what to do. I basically stopped doing many things. Attending this workshop has really helped me understand my condition better. I feel much more confident. I really appreciate this class; thank you.”
FOOD SAFETY TRAINING HELPS UNEMPLOYED
Approximately 56,000 or 8.1 percent of Cobb County residents are unemployed. Over half are between the ages of 18 and 54. Many seek help in obtaining job skills and/or employment. The restaurant industry provides millions of job opportunities to workers with few formal qualifications in a nonsupervisory capacity. Cobb County Extension and MUST Ministries Employment Services has provided eight food safety trainings for 79 unemployed individuals, some of whom are adults with disabilities. Our goal is to get them “job ready” for employment in the food service industry. The Family and Consumer Sciences agent teaches ServSafe®, a nationally recognized, six-hour, activity-based food handler food safety training. A 25-question pre- and post-test evaluation is given. With a passing score of 75 percent or higher, the participants receive a ServSafe® Certificate of Achievement. A pair of food service safety shoes, one of the costliest items a food service worker will need, is provided by MUST Ministries. Post-evaluation results show that 100 percent of the participants received a score of 75 percent or higher on the post-test and received a ServSafe® Food Handler Certificate of Achievement.