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.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Family Consumer Science teachers in Houston County requested a collaboration with community organizations to provide educational classes to meet state guidelines. The classes were offered at the high schools for students in the early childhood education career pathway program. The students received new innovative ways to learn material. The school was able to offer supplemental classes at no cost, meet state program guidelines and develop a new collaborative partnership with Houston County Extension.
The University of Georgia’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is working to alleviate health disparities imposed by socioeconomic status by providing low-income Georgians with the knowledge, skills and resources to improve nutrition practices and increase physical activity. Participants in Southwest Georgia improved their diet quality, physical activity, food safety practices and food resource management skills during 2019. Peer educators in Dougherty, Houston, Colquitt and Sumter counties were led by the Houston County FACS agent to impact households representing 2,152 individuals.
4-H Youth Development
n 2019, the Houston County 4-H program enrolled 589 youth from fourth through 12th grade as active members in our clubs. Members were exposed to monthly educational meetings, monthly specialty club meetings, and multiple leadership conferences and community service activities. Though 4-H, 24 youth exhibited livestock, 87 youth attended 4-H summer camp, 20 youth participated in project achievement, 124 youth participated in day camp activities and 22 attended leadership conferences and events.All of the programmatic efforts would not be possible or successful without the staff in Houston County Extension or the stewards of the program, Houston County 4-H volunteers. In the 2019 programmatic year, volunteers served more than 1,200 hours, leading youth in areas of agriculture, leadership and communications. The volunteers are vital to our program and the offerings.
Houston County 4-H will continue to grow and positively impact youth, who represent our future.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Ag Aware programs in Houston County are being utilized to increase agricultural literacy in youth through in-school programs, after-school programs and collaboration with the local libraries. The age for the programs ranges from pre-K through middle school. Through these programs, we are increasing physical activity and healthy living, making better environmental stewards and promoting leaders. The goal of these programs is to increase young people’s awareness and understanding of the value of agriculture and horticulture to the Georgia economy. Through a variety of Ag Aware programs being implemented in Houston County, youth are becoming more aware of how their food makes it from the farm to the grocery store, are more willing to try foods they have not experienced before, and some have taken an interest in gardening. For the 2018-2019 school year, Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEVs) logged 493 hours for a value of $11,380 through the Junior Master Gardener program. They also made 712 contacts. Since the Master Gardener Sprouts program was started in 2016, MGEVs have logged more than 64 hours for a value of $1,488. They have made 1,760 contacts through this program. These programs also allow us to reach adults through adult participation with the pre-K activities, as well as take-home information the children are encouraged to share with their parents.