UGA Extension Office

Our Impact

Making A Difference in Our County

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is working hard for its constituents. The following are examples of Extension’s impact in the county over the past year.


Georgia 4-H has impacted over 2,000 Clayton County students since 2019 through in-school programming, summer camps, specialty clubs, and 4-H- activities like District Project Achievement. Our 4-H participant numbers increased by 300% in the past two years, largely due to offering programs that are not provided to the youth in the city of Clayton County. 4-H provides the youth of Clayton County the access to participate in activities they would have never been introduced to, such as STEM, archery and shooting sports, horse riding, meeting other 4-H'ers from different counties, and outdoor environmental education. 

In 2022, the 4-H program worked its name back into the community. With a new 4-H agent, 4-H in-school programming, we support teacher's lessons with hands-on STEM activities that follow the Georgia Standards of Excellence. Our specialty clubs include but are not limited to Horse Club, Cooking Club, and Book Club. New specialty clubs were added to our Extension Office, including District Project Achievement Club and Garden Club. 4-H'ers have already participated in a few yearly 4-H activities, including 4-H Day at The Capitol and Horse Quiz Bowl.

Our volunteer numbers have also increased because parents and citizens of Clayton County see the importance of 4-H in the community. Some of our volunteers come from the Clayton County School System and the Board of Elections and Registration, showing the community's importance of 4-H. The volunteers provide a safe and wholesome environment for students to express themselves and grow. Establishing those relationships is how we continue to recruit and build great rapport with our 4-H'ers. 

4-H is necessary to the youth of Clayton County by allowing them to gain access to places and things that they have yet to experience.


Georgia celebrates Arbor Day in February because late winter is an ideal time to plant trees in our climate. In 2023, Georgia Arbor Day was on Friday, February 17. On this date, Clayton County Cooperative Extension hosted the Annual Georgia Arbor Day Tree Seedling Giveaway in collaboration with Clayton County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Clayton County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers. The Conservation District donated the tree seedlings, and Mgevs provided research-based information on how to properly plant and take care of tree seedlings. This partnership successfully gave away 700 tree seedlings from different species, such as eastern redbud, flowering dogwood, and persimmon.

Composting with Worms and Beekeeper Short Course were some in-person programs I coordinated in 2023. Composting with worms was taught by Autumn Czander, our new Horticulture Program Assistant, and the beekeeper short course was taught by Mr. Tom Bonnell, president of the Henry County Beekeepers Association.

Ms. Czander demonstrated how to put together a worm-composting bin and taught how to take care of the bin. Additionally, the attendees received their own bin to take home. Mr. Bonnell taught a three-day course focusing on beehive assembly, hive manipulation, swarm extraction, honey extraction, and common issues for new beekeepers.

The cool fall weather is the best for planting fruit trees and ornamental plants in Georgia.  Miss Autumn and I coordinated the 2023 Clayton County Plant Sale Fundraiser. We worked with two Georgia nurseries to secure over 50 varieties of flowering and fruit plants for the public to pre-order and purchase. We also had plants for sale on site that were grown by us and Master Gardener Extension Volunteers. This successful collaboration with Clayton County Master Gardener Extension Volunteers brought in $1,346.40 (or needed funds) to support the UGA Clayton County Cooperative Extension programing for the community. We also provided the citizens with UGA extension publications on how to properly plant and take care of the species the public bought.


According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the United States obesity prevalence was 41.9% in 2017. In 2022, the state of Georgia reported about 33% of the population struggles with adult obesity with 27% of the population reporting a lack of physical activity. Obesity contributes to the development of other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. All of which can lead to death.

Obesity is a prevalent issue in Clayton County, Georgia for both youth and adults. It is reported that 40% of the Clayton County adult population struggles with obesity with 38% reporting lack of physical activity. Although 38% of the population reports a lack of physical activity, 72% of the population is said to have access to exercise opportunities.  According to the CDC, obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Clayton County has a high prevalence of all three of these chronic diseases.

In Clayton County, we are offer many chronic diseases prevention programs and workshops including, but not limited to, the following:


In March, Clayton County Extension launched its 2023 Walk-a-Weigh program.  This was an eight week, one-hour series held in partnership with Clayton County Human Resources Wellness Department.  Each week consisted of a lesson, a sample of a recipe, and walking. The lessons taught provided tips and tools on how to eat and live healthy. Lessons included how to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet, how to get rid of negative food and physical cues, healthy eating out, and how to love your body. The participants were also able to sample delicious recipes like baked chicken nuggets, turkey chili, and egg muffin cups..  We had over 25 registrants filling up within the first few hours' registration was open.  Seventeen (17) participants regularly attended classes with many reporting they lost a few dress sizes, and others reporting they lost at least 5 to 7 pounds. One participant even reported losing 13 pounds.  Participants agreed that participating in this 8-week program gave them the tools to change their behaviors with food and physical activity, challenging participants read nutrition labels when making food choices and be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day five (5) days a week. At the end of the 8 weeks, there was a 63.2% increase in the number of participants who intended to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, five (5) days a week and a 33.1% increase in participants reading nutrition labels when making food choices. One participant stated that “the Walk-a-Weigh program was really fun – we laughed and ate a lot of great food.”


Obesity, poor nutrition, and limited physical activity are significant health concerns, which often lead to chronic disease. Poor health disproportionately affects minority and low‐income populations. Clayton County has a high prevalence of food insecurity (9%), poverty (14%), and adult obesity (39%). On average, 76,217 residents received SNAP benefits each month in Clayton County in 2022. These individuals have low access to healthy foods, physical activity facilities, and healthcare services, all of which suggest an increased need for evidence-based, culturally appropriate nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions.  

UGA SNAP-Ed offers Food Talk classes, consisting of either four or six learner-centered classes to enhance healthy eating behaviors, including food resource management, food safety, food preparation, healthy weight management, and physical activity. Food Talk and Food Talk: Better U programs are delivered face-to-face or virtually by trained paraprofessionals, following the peer-educator model. Classes are delivered in low-income areas, therefore reaching a primarily low-income and minority population with a higher level of obesity, chronic disease, and other health disparities.  In 2023, 112 low-income participants enrolled in the UGA SNAP-Ed Food Talk/Food Talk: Better U programs while 454 participants enrolled in Food Talk: Farmers Market program. 34 (30%) of the Food Talk/Food Talk: Better U participants completed the course. In total, participants completed 639 hours of classes.

Produce Powerhouse Party

We also continued our Produce Powerhouse Party (PPP). PPP is a program geared at providing nutrition education, recipe demonstrations and tasting, and free produce to members of the Clayton County community. In 2019, Clayton County Georgia was reported as having 32,810 individuals struggling with food insecurity (12% of the population). In 2020, 76% percent of the population are SNAP-ED eligible compared to the state average of 65%. According to Feeding America, “food insecurity is defined by the USDA as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life”. Food insecurity has been prevalent in Clayton County, Georgia for many years, and although we have seen a decrease of those struggling (in 2017 it was reported 57, 790 were struggling) there is still much work that needs to be done. The Produce Powerhouse Party consisted of a 30-minute SNAP-ED Farmer’s Market lesson and recipe demonstration, and recipe tasting. The SNAP-Ed team held two Produce Powerhouse Party sessions at 10:00am and at 3:00pm in the Clayton County Extension parking lot. Once attendees completed the class and the necessary paperwork, they received a bag of produce and an incentive (e.g. veggie brushes, measuring cups and spoons, and more). In our initial launch, we saw over 80 individuals and provided over 90 bags of produce. In the Summer of 2023, we continued Produce Powerhouse Party, hosting classes every Tuesday, for the months of July and August. Over the 8 -week period, we welcomed over 160 individuals to the Powerhouse Produce Party and passed out close to 500 pounds of produce. Since our launch, attendees have been extremely pleased with our Produce Powerhouse Party stating, “great information” and another stating that “the class was very engaging”. One attendee was so thrilled with the classes they even brought flowers on the last day to share their appreciation to our program assistants.

Virtual Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

This year, Clayton County FACS participated in its fourth Virtual Income Tax Assistance season. Clayton County is a south metro Atlanta county with an unemployment rate of 6.5% (the state of Georgia’s is 3.9%). Those who are employed, have a median household income at $51,400 ($15,000 less than the state of Georgia) with 84% of children who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. This tax year we were able to assist 66 individuals with their taxes and helped them to secure $40,774 worth of refunds. Providing them with funds to pour back into their families and the Clayton County community.


Download Our Annual Report (pdf)