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:
IMPACTFUL WORKPLACE WELLNESS
Rockdale Extension partnered with Get Active Rockdale, the wellness program for county employees, to offer challenges and resources to reduce health care costs while improving quality of life, well-being and health of the workforce. The most successful program was the Composition Competition, which encouraged participants to increase physical activity, eat better and safely gain muscle mass while losing body fat. Participants were educated on how to use UGA’s online fitness tracking system, Walk Georgia, and were taught the basics in healthy nutrition and realistic goal setting. They were given weekly opportunities for fitness classes, as well as biweekly updates on who was logging the most activity in Walk Georgia. By the end of 12 weeks, employees logged a weekly average of 2.8 hours of activity and lost an average of 2.9 pounds and 4.8 percent body fat. Some participants lost as much as 8 percent body fat! The program was one of the biggest and most diverse challenges the county has seen and has been cited as a contributing factor in dropping insurance increases from 10 percent in 2016 to 3 percent in 2017 (half the national average). These wellness efforts saw a strong return on investment and saved the county several hundred thousand dollars.
The Rockdale County Extension 4-H agent implemented the One Clip at a Time program for the seventh- through 12th-grade 4-H Night participants. One Clip at a Time is an engaging and interactive service-learning program that teaches tolerance to students. The curriculum cites the Holocaust, and is based on a paper clip project completed by Whitwell, Tennessee, middle school students in which the students collected 6 million paper clips, one for each Holocaust victim who perished. The 4-H members had tough discussions and completed activities each month to address the subject of discrimination. A total 87.5 percent of the youth who participated in the program demonstrated knowledge gains in their understanding of the Holocaust and about groups of people who are suppressed because of their race, religion and/or nationality. The youth were asked for the most important thing they learned while participating in the One Clip at a Time program, and some of the responses included, “Don't judge a group of people based on race or religion,” and “We as people should stand together to suppress negative thoughts about each other.” The youth have started planning a Holocaust project of their own for the citizens of Rockdale County in 2017.
GARDENING IMPACT IN ROCKDALE COUNTY
Rockdale County Master Gardener Extension volunteers made a big impact in Rockdale County, providing over 3,000 volunteer hours this year. The Rockdale Plant-a-Row project continues to have a strong impact on the citizens that use the Rockdale Food Bank, with 3,783 pounds of food donated in 2016. Other Master Gardeners volunteered hours planting, weeding, cleaning beds and more for projects around Rockdale County. Total volunteer service is valued at $73,860. Rockdale County was recognized statewide for the Rockdale Gardener blog.