The Successful Co-Parenting program is a court-mandated class for divorcing couples with children under the age of 18. The class helps parents understand their child’s perspective and needs during a divorce. Participants learn to: maintain a healthy parent-child relationship through the divorce process; avoid conflict with their co-parent; have healthy communication with their child and their co-parent; and create a stable environment for their child. Approximately 25 parents attended the class in Monroe County in 2016. Participants reported that communication skills were one of the most important things they learned in the class.
In collaboration with the Monroe County juvenile court, OSU Extension provides 4-H CARTEENS, a traffic safety education program for first-time juvenile traffic offenders. The CARTEENS goal is to reduce the number of repeat juvenile traffic offenders. With the aid of an adult, teens 16-19 years of age conduct the three-hour program for teen traffic offenders. The Monroe County CARTEENS program reached 15 juveniles in 2016. These young drivers indicated that as a result of attending the program, they are more aware of risky driving behaviors and the dangers of distracted driving.
OSU Extension – Monroe County is an active partner with the local P-16 Council. Higher Education Learning Partnership (H.E.L.P.) helps identify transition points in education where students may need additional support. The team partnered with more than 30 colleges and trade groups to conduct a College and Career Night for seventh- through 12th-grade students, parents and adult learners. Approximately 200 students and parents were in attendance. As a result, parents indicated they plan to learn more about financial aid, complete the FAFSA, research College Credit Plus courses, and schedule college visits.
Adolescence is a time for young people to learn important skills that will help them be successful in adulthood. 4-H camps provide youth with opportunities for hands-on learning, problem-solving, decision-making, and self-care. Youth learn independence and responsibility in the absence of family members to provide for their needs. In 2016, approximately 95 Monroe County youth in grades 3 through 7 attended residential camp at 4-H Camp Piedmont. At the conclusion of the camp, 93% of campers said they learned something new during camp and 30% claimed to have made a new friend at camp.
Food safety is paramount to animal agriculture, assuring consumer acceptance and confidence in the livestock industry. Furthermore, issues surrounding animal welfare in agricultural livestock production must be addressed at all levels of food animal production, including youth participation in food animal projects. Quality assurance training teaches 4-H members how to use best practices that guarantee producing quality and safe animal products for consumers, as well as responsible animal handling, care and welfare. More than 200 Monroe County 4-H members completed mandatory quality assurance training in 2016.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed): Participants in the USDA-funded SNAP-Ed program learn how to stretch their food dollars through classes offered by OSU Extension. Educators offer interactive classes on diet quality, physical activity, and food resource management. Nearly 780 Monroe County residents participated in one of 65 classes taught by Extension’s SNAP-Ed program.
Statistics show one in six Ohioans is food insecure and lack access to fresh, local, healthy food. Good Agricultural Practices meetings and produce production meetings were held for local growers and those who sell product at the Captina Produce Auction. Twenty-five fruit and vegetable growers participated to learn research information and methods to grow high quality, safe, wholesome food products. Field scouting and observation information provided during grower meetings and on farm visits reduced applications of fungicides and insecticides to, only as needed, to maintain plant health, and reduce crop damage. Growers were able to produce good quantities of healthy, nutritious foods.
Education was provided to clientele growing produce in local community gardens. These activities are part of the "Local Foods Initiative" that addresses critical needs for outreach education around the broad topic of local food systems. While the dollar value of the production from these local gardens may not be tremendous, the social interaction of friends and neighbors who live in the area and maintain the gardens is priceless. One gardener stated “We were amazed at the things our grandson would try eating once he had grown them.” Another said, “It’s wonderful being able to share the Garden’s bounty with others.”
Extension prepared a successful grant application to the Ohio Community Development Block Grant program to fund several projects in Monroe County totaling $575,000 and will benefit approximately 3,233 people. Projects include street repaving, firefighting equipment purchases, and road slip repairs. Projects will start in 2017.
Extension promoted fair housing and civil rights education to the citizens of Monroe County by creating a display for the Monroe County courthouse during April, designated as Fair Housing Month by the federal government. The display was also presented at this year’s Monroe County fair. An informational brochure on fair housing rights was distributed to 25 people.
Extension provided administrative oversight to a project that made improvements to the Sardis Community Center. The project installed a new boiler system, doors, a back-up generator, and air conditioning units to the building. The community center serves as the township’s emergency shelter in times of extended power outages. This project impacted approximately 1,023 people in Monroe County.
Monroe County Master Gardener Volunteers conduct programs and volunteer their time within the community to help others learn information and improve their gardening skills. These Master Gardener Volunteers provide more than 300 hours of volunteer service to the public during year. To calculate an economic value on these volunteer hours, the amount would be more than $8000. While this is considered a good amount of money to a small community, the hands-on, one-to-one instruction time is the most important to the volunteers. Three of the Monroe County Master Gardener Volunteers, each for more than 22 years, have provided service to OSU Extension and community projects. They believe in what we do!
Grazing management workshops and on-farm pasture walks are hosted to provide producers information about pasture management and ways to maintain and improve the environment. In all, 92 percent of the respondents of the grazing management workshop agreed or strongly agreed they would be able to extend their livestock’s grazing season as a result of the workshop. Also, 72 percent said they expected to increase their net profit a minimum of $10 per acre as a result of the grazing workshop. That would total an increase of more than $2,700 per farmer on average.
This year, 26 people attended a cover crops workshop to learn ways to decrease erosion, increase productivity and improve soil health on their farms. More than 80% of the participants returned an after-meeting survey and 90% of those people said they will begin using cover crops as a result of this program. This means more than 2,560 acres of local row crop land will be positively impacted and help decrease erosion.