Chronic diseases are largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle involving a balanced diet and regular physical activity. In 2012, an estimated 1.8 million Ohioans lived in poverty. In an effort to reduce this disparity and improve the health and well-being of Ohioans, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), funded by USDA-NIFA, teaches an eight-lesson nutrition education series to low-income families with children.
In 2016, 203 adults participated in EFNEP, with a total reach of 801 family members. The 136 graduates improved nutrition practices (93 percent), food resource management practices (88 percent), and food safety practices (60 percent), resulting in 46 percent of graduates running out of food less often each month. At least 28 percent of graduates increased their physical activity levels, 24 percent improved fruit consumption, and 38 percent improved vegetable consumption
Scioto County SNAP-Ed partnered with Scioto County Juvenile courts to teach life skills and the importance of good nutrition to juvenile offenders. These programs have helped them understand better eating habits and have allowed them to try foods they haven’t eaten before. One participant commented, “I would have never tried yogurt on my own because my friends don’t like it but now I eat it every morning for breakfast. Thanks for bringing it for us.”
In addition, SNAP-Ed conducted a total of 834 nutrition classes with 9,639 participants. Behavior analysis shows that adult participants are using My Plate more often to make healthy choices. They are also more confident about cooking skills and worry less about running out of food before the next paycheck.
SNAP-Ed has also increased the number of preschools visited. Preschool students learn about the value of fruit and vegetables. Students are also given the opportunity to sample various healthy foods in hopes of developing a new eating pattern. This coming year Scioto County SNAP-Ed is seeking to expand its reach into the more rural areas of the county.
Bed bugs are being reported throughout Scioto County in businesses and libraries. In general, multi-unit housing facilities are a more common place for a bed bug infestation. Places such as hotels, dorm rooms, shelters and apartments are at a higher risk of infestation. While any resident can be affected by bed bugs, the greatest impact is often felt by people with the least resources to deal with the problem, which can take a lot of time and money. A bed bug education program was held with the goal of preventing bed bug infestations through education and to serve as a resource for those struggling with an infestation.
OSU Extension partnered with Shawnee State University (SSU) to teach financial literacy to all freshmen (about 800 students) at SSU through the first-year experience classes. Student loans, credit cards, credit scores, budgeting, and spending wisely were the topics discussed. OSU Extension educators guest-lectured a total of 46 classes.
“Figure out my wants and needs, start budgeting my money better, spend less,” was one quote from an SSU freshman, from completed evaluations. The lectures were enlightening to most students with requests to have more financial related lectures available on campus.
The county has 1,203 youth participating in 52 community clubs where the youth work and learn life skills through the 5,240 projects in which they were enrolled. These clubs are led by 244 trained volunteers who contribute a minimum 35 hours annually. The value of that service is estimated at $201,202.
Through a $20,500 grant from National 4-H Council and the Department of Juvenile Justice, Scioto County was able to provide mentoring and STEM training to 30 fourth and fifth graders in New Boston, with 10 trained adult and teen mentors. Evaluations and interviews show youth have an increased understanding of science and technology concepts, as well as stronger belief in themselves and their ability to succeed in the future.
Teachers and students in 10 school districts acquired additional science proficiency through hands-on classes and demonstrations at Shawnee State Park, Ag Adventures Day and in the classroom.
A total of 204 parents getting a divorce or dissolution in Scioto County participated in the Successful Co-Parenting class. As a result, 89 percent of the participants learned new information and 97 percent plan to make changes including “focus on continuing to build a relationship with my daughter,” “communicate better without fighting” and “going to work on my physical and mental health.” This program is offered in partnership with Scioto County Domestic Relations Court.
In partnership with Scioto County Juvenile Court, a total of 42 parents attended parent education sessions focusing on helping improve communication skills, dealing with misbehavior, and using logical consequences. Evaluations indicate 64 percent of participants learned new information and 55 percent plan to make changes including wanting to “be more respective to my children so they will learn to do it as well” and to “strengthen the bond between my children and I by setting appropriate boundaries.”
“I learned how important it is to go to school and have positive relationships with friends and families. I am a better person and can make better choices than before this class” are two quotes from students who completed one of three in a series of character education classes in 2016, in conjunction with Scioto County Juvenile Court.
The 33 people who attended the classes that emphasized how important good choices are in living a better life. Self-esteem, family, friends, school, dating and addictions were discussed in a casual classroom atmosphere. Of those who responded to the evaluation, 88 percent planned to take steps to make positive changes in their lives.
Scioto County had 452 youth attend species-specific clinics where they also received credit for quality assurance. The program teaches 4-H members how to use best practices that guarantee producing quality and safe animal products for consumers
A community gardening program was conducted monthly in-season horticulture training for the community gardeners throughout Portsmouth partnering with Scioto County Highland Headstart, Portsmouth Public Library, Southern Ohio Medical Center and Scioto County Community Gardens. Participants reported learning best management practices to properly manage garden pests, how to extend the harvest season through succession and companion planting techniques and financial savings in produce purchases.
As a part of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant for a Crop Protection and Pest Management for $20,000 an in-season fruit and vegetable integrated pest management scouting, monitoring and education program was established for Scioto County in partnership with OSU Extension – Pike and Ross counties. Twelve farms representing more than 500 acres of crops reported reducing better managing pesticide applications and an increased awareness of pest management scouting practices.
Through Junior Fair Board, 4-H camp counselor training, the camp ambassador program and teen leaders, 62 teens helped plan activities and help run the 4-H program. They received training in leadership, speaking, program-planning, mentoring, conflict management, community service, and communications. These youth each contributed more than 75 hours of volunteer service, valued at $109,554.