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 PROGRAM FUNDING SUCCESS
Paulding County is one of the fastest growing counties in Metro Atlanta and is the 12th-largest school district in Georgia. As the population and school enrollment in Paulding increases, so does the need for 4-H program funding. To help offset the cost for local families and 4-H students, Paulding 4-H has initiated and maintained donations from United Way, Kroge, and Amazon Smile and community support from Paulding Meadows, Rotary Club of Paulding, Dallas Rotary Club and the Paulding Chamber of Commerce. Additional grants have been awarded from both Cobb EMC and Carrol EMC.
Fundraising opportunities have provided Paulding 4-H with $11,955 for the operational budget. These supplemental funds are necessary to provide engaging and impactful experiences for our students and were essential to providing partial camp scholarships totaling $2,424 to 16 first-time campers provided, 79 participants attended District Project Achievement at no charge, and $2,000 was allocated to a foundation account for future program needs including scholarships, transportation and program supplies.
AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY
Paulding County sits at the intersection of suburban and rural landscapes. Most residents live in suburban settings disconnected from agricultural production, while farms are just on the other side of the county. In an effort to increase agricultural and environmental literacy, the ANR agent worked Paulding Farm Bureau and the Paulding County School District to implement agriculture in the classroom through Family and Consumer Sciences and STEM Teacher Training initiatives. Nine middle grades Family and Consumer Sciences teachers received education on incorporating gardening into their curriculum, including food safety education for school gardens. All nine have implemented indoor gardening projects with students. Sixteen elementary school teachers and administrators received school gardening instruction. Seven elementary schools in Paulding County have begun organizing school gardens centered on food production, pollinator habitat, sensory gardens and other interdisciplinary themes. One teacher observed, “(There was) great student and parent engagement in the Georgia Pollinator Census and student engagement through an after-school STEM Club with a gardening focus. I have also used the information to help apply for two school gardening grants.”
HEALTHY EATING WITH FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
In partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Douglas County Extension Family and Consumer Science agent presented the Cooking for a Lifetime Cancer Cooking School. Participants learned how to reduce their risk for cancer through healthy food selection and preparation and about the recommended screening guidelines for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.
After the cancer prevention cooking school, there were statistically significant increases in likelihood of achieving a healthy weight, eating more fruits and vegetables, and choosing more whole grains, with 65% of the attendees responding that they would follow these practices. This program is motivating people in Paulding County to consider getting cancer screenings. Earlier detection through screening can contribute to reduced health care costs, as well as improved survival from these cancers.