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:
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
In order to help combat the ongoing issues of unhealthy eating habits and the lack of exercise among county citizens, Heard County 4-H continually offers healthy cooking classes and opportunities for exercise for both adults and youth. Cooking Matters, a series of hands-on cooking classes, teaches youth and families how to plan and prepare nutritious meals and educates them on the importance that exercise plays in healthy living. Shopping trips to the grocery store reinforce skills learned during classes, including how to compare ingredients on food labels, understanding the unit pricing concept and tips for avoiding being influenced by false claims on food packaging. The Clover Kids program was created to offer fun ways for kids to “get up and move” while getting motivated about 4-H.
Since the first Cooking Matters class was taught in October 2014, approximately 52 youth have participated, and 31 families have benefited. Tanner Health Systems has donated over $2,500 worth of cooking supplies, food, cookbooks and other kitchen utensils. Patty Jiles, Heard County human resources director, stated that as a result of Cooking Matters classes, the Heard County Board of Commissioners saw the need to provide more in the area of health and nutrition, thereby approving the construction of an educational kitchen funded with SPLOST money in 2014. Classes are ongoing, and the Cooking Matters program continues to impact the lives of 4-H’ers and families by enabling them to eat healthier meals that are within their budgets. After administering a pre- and post-test at each class, 4-H’ers, families and 4-H parents who were not part of the class commented that their 4-H’ers actually helped in the kitchen more, checked food labels in the grocery store before purchasing and created healthy dishes on their own. Clover Kids was created to bring 4-H’ers together on Saturdays to have fun and play games. All activities require each participant to “get up and move.” Participating 4-H’ers enjoy playing ball and engaging in scavenger hunts, relays and other games while being outdoors. They don’t think of it as physical activity – they’re just having fun while being a part of 4-H!
Heard County 4-H taught over 200 youth during 10 hours of Health Rocks!, which helps youth understand the consequences of tobacco, drug and alcohol use. Four Heard County Teen Leaders were certified as Health Rocks! Action Leaders. The 4-H agent expanded classroom instruction to include fourth-grade students, which reached 106 additional youth. Three Heard County youth were selected as summer camp counselors.Over 175 people were served at Breakfast with Santa, a fundraiser for community service. Extension staff collaborated with the James Stewart Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to serve lunch to over 200 veterans and host a recognition program. Staff established Heard County’s first annual art camp, which had 15 participants, as well as a new archery team, which was created when 17 active members raised over $1,600 to assist with startup costs.