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.
4-H Youth Development
The Elbert County 4-H Club established the PROUD (Purposefully Reaching Out to a Unique Demographic) Program in 2013 as a way to reach a cohort student group who were not traditional 4-H’ers. With the development of this program, members created their own unique 4-H involvement and participated in traditional 4-H programming. To enhance this diverse group of students’ experience, the 4-H agent planned and executed a cross-cultural study with another 4-H program, which serves a Native American population in North Dakota. During summer 2018, Elbert County PROUD members traveled to Standing Rock Reservation to learn about our country’s indigenous people and the North Dakota Extension program serving the Sioux tribe. The road trip involved many stops, allowing students to see, explore and learn about other regions of the U.S. Historical events, routes and lessons were a major component. Students visited more than ten national parks, historic sites and monuments, multiple state parks and several museums. The group traveled through 17 states and more than 5,314 miles. This trip was truly a life-changing event for the youth who participated.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Elbert County produced more than $181 million in revenue for the Georgia economy in 2018. Poultry, beef cattle, timber and row-crop production are the largest economic contributors. UGA Extension Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) programs in Elbert County reach hundreds of local citizens annually. In 2018, more than 500 site visits were conducted by the Elbert County ANR agent. Multiple programs were offered to provide educational opportunities to several hundred participants and assist private pesticide license holders in acquiring 84 recertification hours. A multicounty Forestry Farm Field Day was coordinated, which provided programming and certification hours for the timber industry. The ANR agent also works closely with local beautification groups on tree planting and landscape construction projects. One such project, funded by the city of Elberton and Elbert County government, was estimated to cost more than $54,000 had it been contracted privately. By utilizing city, county and volunteer resources, the project was installed at a cost of $12,700, saving taxpayers more than $41,000.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Many issues facing our communities can be addressed by Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) programming. In 2018, the Elbert County FACS agent made an impact in three areas. The agent and the Virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers at UGA completed 21 free tax returns with federal refunds totaling $20,363 and state refunds totaling $4,820. More than $6,500 was saved by Elbert County filers in tax preparation fees. Food safety education was offered to food service workers, volunteers and the public. A total of 47 participants attended a ServSafe® Manager Certification course, and 40 successfully passed the ServSafe® Manager exam and received certification. Forty-eight participants attended a ServSafe® Food Handler course. Forty-five participants successfully completed the pre- and post-tests, passed the post-test and received their certificate of completion. Six Cooking for a Lifetime Cancer Prevention Cooking Schools were offered to 87 participants. Evaluation data indicated significant (p < 0.05) improvements in the likelihood of participants engaging in all nutrition and physical activity guidelines following the program.