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.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Since the early 2000s, the Newton County agricultural community has wanted a place to educate residents about the importance of agriculture.
Farmers, county agents and agricultural teachers, along with organizations like the Newton County Commission, Newton County Farm Bureau and the Piedmont Cattlemen’s Association, worked together to build a first-class agricultural center stationed on the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center in Newton County. The facility, which is nearing completion, is a $5.1 million agricultural center, with nearly half the cost generated from local funds.
The center will have far-reaching programming uses for local residents such as FFA and 4-H competitions including shooting sports and horse and livestock shows. The local Cattlemen’s Association will host field days at the new center. Future impact is unlimited, with a 10,000-square-foot show barn, a 10,000-square-foot stalling barn, and a 35,000-square-foot horse arena, all located on 45 acres.
4-H Youth Development
Newton County 4-H’er CJ Harris not only leads STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming locally, but he also earned state recognition as a mentor in 2018.
At State 4-H Congress, Fulton County 4-H member Buckley Wiley spoke alongside Harris to discuss how Newton’s 3D Hand-a-Thon, centered on making and assembling prosthetics, inspired him.
“CJ inspired me by the way he was teaching other people. I knew I wanted to teach people about 3D printing, but I didn’t know how. He inspired me to start another 3D printing club for 4-H [in Fulton County].”
Harris said, “Buckley is a fine example of why we do what we do. I feel I planted a seed that allowed others to grow with this wonderful E-nable project. I feel so special and accomplished that I achieved one of the goals I set out to do … We hope to continue to plant seeds. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not talented. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because you can. You can plant those seeds and grow however you see fit.”
Family and Consumer Sciences
Project F.R.E.E (Fostering Relationship and Economic Enrichment) promotes healthy relationships for families through UGA Extension. Couples and co-parenting programs are designed to help parents form, improve and sustain healthy relationships. Project F.R.E.E. also provides services to help families make progress toward lasting economic stability.
Project F.R.E.E. has served more than 400 families within the Newton, Walton and Oconee county areas. The classes are designed for singles as well as committed couples with a curriculum taught by qualified professionals. Classes are provided at no charge to participants, and organizers also provide free childcare.
Quotes from participants about the program include,
“My partner and I were contemplating divorce when the Elevate program was recommended to us. We learned to communicate better and agreed that divorce was no longer an option. Project F.R.E.E. is a phenomenal program and we have been recommending it to all of our married friends!”
“Project F.R.E.E. is a great program. The class for singles gave me some pointers for coping with stress and communicating better with my children’s father. I am so glad I attended!”