Upcoming Events



2017 DeKalb County Grassroots

Grassroots

Our 2017 DeKalb County Grassroots meeting is rapidly approaching. During mid-August, the agents that serve this county, as well as invited stakeholders, will come together to discuss our involvement in the community. Most importantly we will listen to what our community is needing from us. This is your opportunity to have your voice heard, we want to know!

Just follow the link provided below and you will be taken to the grassroots survey. You do not need to answer all questions, just the ones you have opinions on. There will be places for you to include your feedback in your own words as well if you choose to do so.

For a further step than a survey, if you would like to be present for this meeting and have face to face conversations with the agents that serve your county, please give us a call at the office- or stop by and see us anytime!

 

https://auburn.qualtrics.com/jfe1/form/SV_3TMvx7edzB5JMu9

 

DeKalb County Extension

256-845-8595

500 Grand Avenue SW, Suite 300 Fort Payne AL 35971

DeKalb County 4-H Canning Workshop

We are excited to announce the upcoming DeKalb County 4-H Canning Workshop. One of the most popular projects for our 4-H students is baked foods. This workshop is taking that interest in learning to make food items to the next level. One of the charming things about DeKalb County is the number of home gardens countywide. Chances are the youth of today know someone who has a home garden and still preserves some of that food. However, the passing down of the art of canning to the next generation is dwindling down. This is an opportunity to ignite that interest and share that knowledge on how to preserve items grown right from those home gardens! (or grocery store, local farmers market, etc) We encourage you to share this course and encourage the youth to come and learn and have fun while doing so.

Information on the flyer below!

 

Arc Community Gardens, Year Two.

A fortuitous meeting between DeKalb County Extension Coordinator Lori Wheeler and Executive Director of Arc of DeKalb County Christy Wood has grown into a flourishing program that brings together several local organizations to enhance the environment of the residence of Arc community homes. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc of DeKalb County has six group homes where residents are permanently based, as well as the main office that offers daytime activities and enrichment.

“I met Christy Wood at a program we were both working at. After striking up a conversation with her and finding out about the Arc Community, I knew I wanted to find a way for the Extension System to be involved with her program. I reached out to Christy for suggestions and she mentioned several of the residents at the community homes used to garden when they lived with family members and enjoyed it and missed the activity. She suggested the idea of gardens, and it gave me a clear plan of what I wanted to pursue” -Lori Wheeler, DeKalb County Extension Coordinator

With the vision in mind, Lori reached out to fellow Extension Agents, Hunter McBrayer and Eric Shavey and pitched the idea of raised garden beds, they responded with enthusiasm. The Master Gardeners of DeKalb County were enlisted to help with teaching the residents about planting and care for the gardens. Extension Agent Chasity Little jumped on board to help with guidance on teaching about the nutritional value of the produce grown in the garden. Lori began to seek a way to fund the project and she applied for and was awarded a grant from Lowe’s. With a strong group of helping hands and the funding for supplies, the plan was in place and building of the gardens began.

After the completion of the gardens and first interactions with the Arc residents, the Master Gardeners decided they wanted to further their involvement with the gardens and maintain relationships that had begun with the residents. By the end of the summer, all six homes had their gardens. Five of the homes have two raised garden beds, and one has one raised herb garden (which is best suited the environment of the home). Each of the home’s gardens was “adopted” by two Master Gardeners who do routine checks and maintain general upkeep while working with the residents. The project continued on into the winter, where squash and tomatoes were exchanged for broccoli and cabbage and the winter gardens flourished as well.

The Arc Gardens, Phase II

residents standing behind their raised garden bed

Now in the summer of 2017, DeKalb County Extension has received a second grant from Lowe’s and preparations are underway to begin planting the summer gardens. Reflecting on the first year of this project it has been more than a success for all involved. Seeing the joy of the residents who enjoy the Extension Agents and Master Gardener visits as much as they do the gardens is contagious. The workers involved have found gratification not only from the relationships developed but also from recognition on a professional level, as their work with the gardens has resulted in awards for all involved:

  • Lori Wheeler, DeKalb County Extension Coordinator was awarded the NEAFCS Mary W. Wells Diversity Award. She also was the 2nd place Southern Regional winner at the national level.
  • Hunter McBrayer and Eric Schavey, both Regional Extension Agents in home grounds and garden, won the AACAAS Search For Excellence Award in Horticulture. They were also a finalist for this award at the national level.
  • The DeKalb County Master Gardeners were awarded the Alabama Master Gardener Association Search for Excellence.
  • DeKalb County Extension Office was awarded the DeKalb County Governor’s Committee on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities Collaboration Award.

We look forward to another successful year with our friends at the Arc of DeKalb Resident Homes!

TFTF Program: What’s it all about?

You may have heard about the new program, unique to DeKalb County, called Teens For Their Future (TFTF) and want to know what is it all about? After the first year with the program in place, we are excited to report where we stand with involvement and enrollment.

Teens For Their Future (TFTF) is an abstinence education program (formerly known as TGIF) for 6th grade. Teen Leaders are an integral part of the program as well.  They are juniors and seniors from DeKalb County high schools who are referred by administration and faculty, apply, and interview to be selected as Teen Leaders. Once selected, they undergo training that enables them to assist the TFTF Agent, Andrea Christenberry, in the classroom. The Teen Leaders serve as “the picture” of healthy life choices that preteens can relate to and bring authenticity to the abstinence message. Teen Leaders promote and establish peer-mentor relationships in which preteens greatly benefit from and enjoy!

TFTF teaches the importance of saving sexual activity for marriage and the consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage including STD’s, teen pregnancy, altered life plans, and emotional toll. TFTF utilizes a curriculum derived from Relationships Under Construction that addresses character development, goal setting, and recognizing healthy and unhealthy relationships. It teaches the refusal skills and assertiveness techniques for saying no (to any risky behavior, not just sex) and dealing with peer pressure. Sixth graders are also taught the (distorted) role sex in the media has in forming their opinions and how it affects their choices and behavior.

We are proud to report that after its inaugural year the TFTF program has been welcomed into every school in DeKalb County with enrollment numbers totaling 461 6th grade students and 83 Teen Leaders. The total hours spent in Teen Leader training was 1,328 and with the 6th graders over the year was 2,305.  We have been so proud of the hard work the Teen Leaders have shown in training and assisting in educating the 6th-grade students, and also with establishing relationships that have grown into further mentor opportunities. It is enriching for both students and Teen Leaders.

As a parent, abstinence education for your child can raise questions however, we welcome and encourage you to look into the program so that you feel confident about what your child is and is not being taught. This program has been developed to be age appropriate and is designed to empower today’s youth to think for themselves while giving them the tools they need to avoid risky behaviors and make healthy choices in the short-term that will benefit them in the long-term.

For more information please contact:

Andrea R. Christenberry, S.R.A.S. 
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
TEENS FOR THEIR FUTURE Agent Assistant
DeKalb County Office
500 Grand Ave SW
Fort Payne, AL  35967
Office: 256-845-8595
achristenberry@auburn.edu

4-H Summer Camp

DeKalb4hsummercamp

DeKalb County had 5 youth attend 4-H Summer Camp at the 4-H Center in Columbiana, AL with 1 serving as a Counselor in Training. Youth participated in Outdoor Recreation activities including Canoeing, Rock Climbing, Giant Swing, Archery, Swimming, and Alabama Wildlife Education to name just a few. Registration for 2016 4-H Summer Camp will begin in January.

Fort Payne Farmers Market is well underway!

farmers-market

Fort Payne Farmers Market is well underway! The DeKalb County Extension office has issued Growers Permits to over 60 farmers, and the market is open every Tuesday and Friday 3:00pm- 7:00pm throughout the summer. The Farmers Market is located at VFW Fairgrounds, 151 18th St NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967.