Smart Choices for Youth Program
The mission of EFNEP is to assist low-income families and youth to improve their health, to have a better quality of life through improved diets and to make better selections when buying foods by managing their food budgets and related resources. Nutrition education was delivered in 17 Physical Education classrooms in Calcasieu Parish. Each lesson consists of using lesson plans, fact sheets, recipe demonstrations and some form of an interactive activity. As a result, 78% now eat a variety of foods, 63% increased knowledge of the essentials of human nutrition, 75% increased their ability to select low-cost nutritious foods and 73% improved practices in food preparation and safety.
“Charting Your Course to Homeownership” is a comprehensive 12 hour course for first-time home buyers taught by the LSU AgCenter. Participants in this 4-part series learn how to navigate their way to homeownership by understanding the buy/sell
agreement used in Louisiana real estate, learning how much home they can afford for their family budget, understanding basic money management skills, learning about terminology used in the mortgage process, and understanding how to maintain their home once it is purchased. Since the AgCenter has been teaching this program in Southwest Louisiana, over 1,400 people have participated in the program. Seventy-five percent reported an improvement in their credit score. Due to strong community support, there is no fee for the class.
Building Stronger Families and Communities
The Family & Consumer Sciences program educates parents on how to promote positive growth and development of youth and families. The LSU AgCenter/SU Ag Center provides a direct and proven pathway of success and more conscious awareness to the interaction between parent and child by conducting parenting classes for families in Calcasieu. Parenting trainings create an awareness and environment for parents or caregivers to be educated in dealing with a family crisis, emergency preparedness, child-care provider trainings, dealing with stress, healthy living, financial management, and other programs that serve as a source of expertise in family and consumer sciences subject matter areas targeted to meet the needs of individuals and families.
Childcare Providers Course
Over the past year, the LSU AgCenter Family & Child Development agent in Jeff Davis Parish has conducted a total of 37 child care provider classes reaching 803 child care providers earning a total of 111 clock hours. Child care providers in Louisiana are required annually, by the Department of Children and Family Services, to earn a total of 12 clock hours of continued education in early child development to maintain state business licensing.
The Smart Bodies program consists of the LSU AgCenter/SU Ag Center faculty conducting trainings for the classroom teachers to implement the curricula. The curricula taught are the "Organ Wise Guys" and "TAKE 10." A school assembly is conducted by AgCenter faculty for the students in the school. Grades K – 5 are the intended grades for the program. The Body Walk is also a component of the program. It is a 35’ X 45’ interactive exhibit which teaches youth about how food interacts with the body. The Smart Bodies program is conducted for a minimum of 12 weeks. As of 2010-2011, a total of 2,091 students have been reached.