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:
HEALTH FAIR SAVES LIVES
Health care costs continue to increase and individuals are finding themselves without health insurance. In Pike County, 20 percent of the population under age 65 has no health insurance coverage. Over the past 10 years, the UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent has organized the local health fair. Last year, the agent collaborated with Upson Regional Medical Center to provide reduced-cost blood and EKG screenings and recruited between 26 and 32 other medical care organizations to provide free health screenings at the health fair. The health fairs have reached 3,000 citizens with free or reduced-cost health screenings. At one health fair, two people recorded very high blood pressures and were immediately transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Another year, 289 blood draws were taken with 238 abnormal results. On recent participant evaluations, 177 respondents indicated that they do not have health insurance. The blood work for these individuals would total $106,200 at a health care facility. A total of 912 exhibitors have manned the various exhibit stations, providing 3,664 hours of educating citizens about health.
BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Unhealthy relationships between caregiver and child, and high levels of parental or caregiver stress, among many other things, may contribute to higher rates of child maltreatment. Pike County is ranked 75th out of all the counties in the state for child abuse and neglect and is above the state average. The Family and Consumer Sciences agent coordinated and co-taught “Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training: Improving the Lives of Children through Healthy Couple Relationships and Stable Homes.” The training targeted community partners (the Division of Family and Children Services, foster parents and employees of parenting education organizations) to improve relationships and marriages through education and provided them with a useful, practical, research-based toolkit to help strengthen their clients’ couple, co-parenting and/or marital relationships. The agent also created and published a bimonthly newsletter, “Parent Tips.” Ten community partners completed 6.5 core hours in the training, and eight have used the toolkit in their parenting classes, reaching 50 parents with the information. Five “Parent Tips” newsletters were written and distributed to an after-school outreach program and were received by 25 families.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Pike County 4-H’ers were offered an assortment of programs, and 1,404 members were involved in club meetings, leadership activities, citizenship projects, contests, summer camps, judging teams, conferences, Georgia 4-H Clovers & Company and Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education). Thirty-five certified volunteers assisted in local programs’ various activities. One 4-H’er was elected to serve on the Georgia 4-H board of directors. Two members received Georgia 4-H Foundation college scholarships. Thirteen participated in Project Achievement and two Senior members participated at 4-H State Congress.
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The Extension office provides access to the most up-to-date information from UGA when assisting farmers and homeowners in matters relating to soil fertility, gardening, water quality and usage, and crop and pasture management. Diagnostic testing was done for citizens to increase crop yield, grow healthier plants and test drinking water or pond quality. A total of 148 samples were sent to UGA’s diagnostic labs.