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:
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
Among working adults, "What’s for dinner tonight?" is a common five o'clock question! Freezer Meals for Busy Families is a class designed to teach healthy meal planning, food safety and time-saving tips. Limited time for cooking and a lack of food preparation skills are both barriers to adopting a healthier diet. Freezer Meals for Busy Families addresses both of these topics by teaching time-saving meal preparation skills. Over 365 youth and adults have participated in this 90-minute course. Audiences include employees of GreyStone Power, family and consumer sciences students at Douglas County High School, garden clubs and Head Start program parents. When employees of GreyStone Power were surveyed to determine what they learned, 88 percent reported gaining significant confidence in organizing and making freezer meals, and 84 percent reported gaining significant knowledge in the benefits of freezer meal planning. One program participant commented, "I know to use special freezer containers to keep my food safe and tasty." Program participants report making the featured recipe, "Grandma’s Healthier Chicken Pot Pie," and using their new knowledge to make healthy freezer meals at home.
THE GROW BAG EXPERIENCE
Just shy of 200 Douglas County children learned about food gardening and tried their hands at growing a pepper or a cabbage plant in a grow bag. Events took place at the local school health fairs, with parents and children sharing the experience. Schools participating were in food deserts and low-income pockets of the county. These families are at higher risk for obesity, have a hard time getting enough healthy, fresh foods and can benefit from learning to grow their own food. Each family was given instructions on planting, maintaining, harvesting and using their vegetables prior to the hands-on part of the event. The families also tasted apple cabbage slaw and creamy garden salsa, recipes that used new and different vegetables. Participants took home their own newly planted vegetable for future harvest and use. A follow-up evaluation revealed that the families did eat their homegrown vegetables and planned to plant a small garden in the future.
Douglas 4-H'ers are "life smart." For the second year, Douglas 4-H'ers are learning about and sharing consumer issues that impact their everyday lives. LifeSmarts is an educational opportunity for students in sixth to 12th grades. They learn to manage finances, make smart consumer choices, understand technology, stay healthy and improve the environment. This unique online and face-to-face competition prepares students to enter the real world as smart adult consumers. The Douglas County state-winning high school team of five advanced to the national competition in Colorado.
The Douglas County 4-H Home School Club is learning to earn and spend money in a microeconomy. The 4-H AmeriCorps leader established Clover Town, a town with a population of 27. Each youth is a citizen of Clover Town, has a job and receives a salary, plus a bonus for outstanding work in the past month. Jobs include bankers, police officers and recyclers. The objective is to make 4-H’ers key members of an economic system who are contributing as producers, earners, investors and consumers. Each member is learning how to pay bills, invest and save money. Some have even moved from renting to home ownership.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of our impact in the county over the past year.