Preschool vision screening helps three-, four- and five-year-old children enter school ready to learn. Screening is completed by high school students certified as vision screeners. This year, 173 preschoolers were screened for amblyopia, strabismus and refractive error. As a result, 15 percent of the children screened were referred to their optometrist for a full vision exam. High school students learn about careers in health care, and preschoolers can see their world in a new way.
SNAP-Ed is the nutrition component of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP). In Henry County, SNAP-Ed provided direct educational programming for 352 adults and 436 children. SNAP-Ed educated Napoleon first and second graders, Head Start students, SNAP recipients, low-income housing residents and senior center participants about MyPlate, food shopping, and food safety.
Confident consumer decisions about housing can be obtained through homeownership education and coaching. Five families completed this educational activity and obtained certificates to reduce their costs of becoming a homeowner. This eight-hour course supports the loan process for first-time homebuyers to obtain a mortgage. The completion of this course decreases the probability of foreclosure.
Money management issues abound for Ohioans. OSU Extension fielded questions about foreclosure, budgeting, and insurance, managing credit and understanding net worth. Participants gained an understanding of measuring their income and expenses and learning new ways to manage their bank accounts to optimize their income and protect their future. Personal finance was introduced at our local correctional institute as one more skill that will encourage independent living once released.
Radio and newspaper columns are a regular feature to encourage community participation in Extension programs. Topics range from youth development, foodborne illness, family finances and animal care. Staff supports the work of the university through the creation of new fact sheets and publications. Fact sheets on net worth and reverse mortgages were completed to support the needs of Ohioans.
Newsletters supporting community nutrition and good food choices were provided to more than 1,300 households in Henry County. Government commodity food pick-up sites distribute these newsletters, and more than 50 agencies receive this publication electronically.
Jump into Food and Fitness (JIFF), a summer lunch program, provided lunch and activities in Napoleon through the work of Extension and partner agencies. Celebrating food and fitness, this activity is supported by the Campbell Foundation through physical activities and nutrition. Staff and volunteers work together to encourage youth to feed themselves and lead an active life. JIFF was able to reach 96 children ranging in age from 2-17 years.
Cooking Matters was offered twice in Napoleon to help participants try out new cooking skills, tricks to buy healthy food on a budget, preparation of delicious new recipes in a fun setting and the opportunity to get families excited about healthy eating. This series of programs at Emanuel Lutheran Church included a partnership with the church to provide healthy foods made during the sessions to accompany the weekly ‘Soul Food’ community meal held at the church. This year, 18 people completed and graduated from the Cooking Matters program.
Horticulture questions are fielded through the work of Master Gardener Volunteers and staff. On-site visits are completed and publications and fact sheets are distributed as appropriate to answer the questions at hand. Outcomes are more informed citizens with less reliance on chemicals to maintain flowers and plants.
Evaluations indicated that as a result of training, camp counselors developed leadership, social, emergency preparedness, and organizational skills. These skills enabled the counselors to provide younger 4-H members better learning experiences while at 4-H camp as well as in the community club settings. This year, 50 teens were selected, completed 24 hours of required training and then served as county 4-H camp counselors at “4-H Camp Is Out of This World!” a five day, four night residential camp at 4-H Camp Palmer.
The county 4-H camp program realized a 9 percent increase in participation in 2016. The 228 youth ages 8-18 who attended the county 4-H camp developed social, communication, decision making and problem-solving skills through participation in communal living, large and small group activities, nature and outdoor programming.
This year, 856 4-H members enrolled in 1,293 4-H projects and/or the SKY After-school Program through the Henry County 4-H program. Through their membership, 4-H members learn through a combination of 4-H project work, involvement in their clubs, participation in activities and events and working toward improving their individual personal growth. The individual projects allow members to learn through hands-on activities focusing on making, producing and interviewing; organized activities such as demonstrations, workshops, camps, and judging; and leadership/citizenship activities that emphasizes planning, assisting and informing others.
Through a community partnership with the Henry County United Way, the 4-H program provided the SKY After-school program to 82 elementary students weekly throughout the school year in Napoleon. These students were able to end the school day in a safe, welcoming environment that supported their learning. Homework assistance, educational games and activities, snacks and relationship development were the main features of the program.
The Brain Development of Teenagers presentation on understanding their developmental levels, was requested. At least 80 people wanted to add to their knowledge of teens and how to talk with teens to be understood.
The Henry County fair provides an opportunity for the local Master Gardener Volunteers to bring gardening programs to the community. Topics introduced were “raised bed gardens” and “straw bale gardening.” Participants attend for information and the ability to get their questions about gardening answered by Master Gardener Volunteers.
A total of 383 4-H members learned how to ensure animal and food safety by attending one of four quality assurance education sessions. As a result of participating in this Ohio Department of Agriculture-mandated program, 4-H members were able to identify what good environmental stewardship practices are, put into place proper workplace safety methods, and properly handle and care for their livestock projects.
Food Safety from Field to Tray was the topic for 75 school workers interested in learning more about food safety as vegetables are brought in from school gardens. They examined foodborne illness via soil brought in with food. Outcomes included understanding the need for hand washing when working with food, especially from gardens.
Food safety comes alive when preserving food at home. Food preservation questions continue to be addressed by Extension educators. Equipment testing and measuring devices are reviewed as safe ways to preserve food.
Food safety training and certification is one more reason for community members to come to the OSU Extension – Henry County office. Certification through the Ohio Department of Health was provided for 176 individuals. Participants reported an increase in their knowledge of the causes of foodborne illness, better methods to manage temperatures of hot and cold food, as well as ways to reduce the risk of illness for their patrons.
Volunteers continue to be the foundation for successful community clubs in the Henry County 4-H program. In 2016, 120 volunteers led our 4-H members in their community clubs, through workshops and clinics and special events focusing on family. The financial value of these volunteers is $197,904. Each of these volunteers annually complete the mandatory volunteer training which enables them to work with youth more effectively and within the scope of the university’s Policy 1.50 Activities and Programming with Minors.
Master Gardener Volunteers worked with Holgate School to tour our Native Garden. The Native Garden is a plot of acreage that has been developed by the Master Gardener Volunteers into a prairie habitat with emphasis on wildlife and wildflowers. The students toured the medicinal garden plantings, the dye garden and the tree and shrub line along Van Hyning Creek which is governed by the EPA. Emphasis on pollinators and the mutual benefit received was highlighted.
The Master Gardener Volunteers work with the local Chamber of Commerce on a variety of beautification projects.