Volunteers Make the World a Better Place

Lee Ann Fields, Judd, Cathy S.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines volunteer, a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service. The LSU AgCenter relies on volunteers to assist with programs, activities, and events. We are grateful volunteers help us reach more youth and adults. We are grateful they share their talents and expertise. Many share their muscles, blood, sweat and tears! The learning experiences would not be possible without the commitment of our volunteers!

I want to thank our Lincoln Parish school teachers who took on more work this year to give their students the school garden experience. This year Mrs. Futch’ s third grade students at Choudrant Elementary School planted and harvested Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, and potatoes. Mrs. Sharon Younse, lunchroom manager, steamed cabbage with a little bacon for the students to sample. The students came back for more until the cabbage was gone. Thank you to Courtney Hammons, Louisiana Tech University student, for helping with a nutrition program at Choudrant Elementary.

At Ruston Elementary School, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Shaffer, and Mrs. Till planted potatoes with their third grade students. Students got to sample potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, snap peas, celery, and kale smoothies. I had fun times going into the classroom to teach garden skills and prepare taste tests with vegetables planted from the gardens.

In Jackson Parish Mrs. Tolar’s fourth grade students at Jonesboro Hodge Elementary planted mustard, lettuce, snap peas, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and cabbage. The school garden has been a great experience for all youth. Students have hands-on experiences planting, weeding, harvesting and sampling recipes made from the food they grew.

Lincoln Preparatory School has two gardens. This year the school gardens were not in operation because the school moved to another location. The school gardens stayed at other campus. This next school year, thanks to Gamma Psi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, students will have the school garden experience again! Fifteen Kappa Alpha Psi members, along with Mr. Wright, Mr. Lee and Damien Ford, moved the garden to its new location. Sixty cinder blocks were picked up and moved. Sixty cinder blocks were placed and stacked to rebuild the garden in its new location!. Master Gardener Rozetta Smith can’t wait to get back to gardening with the students. Thank you Kappa Alpha Psi!!

Thank you volunteers for attending a garden training to learn more about school gardens. Thank you for implementing what you learned with your students. We will have another garden training session soon.

If gardening is your area of expertise and you would like to share gardening tips and skill with youth, please give me a call. We need you!

The “Cooking with Kids” workshop could not happen without the assistance of our volunteers. This workshop teaches youth about cooking skills, safety, meal preparation and much more. I want to thank Julie Stockton, Wanda Shelby, Lori and Lauren Theis, Felicia Dunbar, Maggie Trull, Lauren Smith, Rachel Pipes, Lexie Smith, and Eric Brazzel for making the cooking workshop a great success. These volunteers helped twenty-four students with food preparation. They kept students safe when they were learning knife skills. Volunteers assist the children step-by-step through recipes. Volunteers set up, cleaned up, and washed a lot of dishes. Mr. Brazzel shared his expertise to teach the students about fire safety, kitchen safety and what to do when there is an emergency. These hands-on skills will last the youth a lifetime! We have a “Cooking with Kids” workshop scheduled for June 26, 27, and 28 at Trinity United Methodist Church. We have nine volunteers ready to assist with this workshop!

Grambling Healthy Community is a coalition that has been working in the Grambling community to help residents make healthy choices. This year with the help of Grambling State University students Kira Hutcherson and Antionette Thompson, Tammy Wagner, Sharday Parker, Celeste Holland, LaCresha Earley, Kamie Samuel, Genevra Wesley, Kirk James and Jordan Bailey, they taught Family Nutrition Night. Family Nutrition Night is six interactive nutrition sessions: “Start your Day the Right Way,” “Re-Size Your Portions,” “The Low Down on Snacks,” “Re-Think Your Drink,” “Let’s Get Active” and "Healthy Assessment" was done by medical staff from Primary Healthy Services Center. Grambling Healthy Community members along with Grambling State University professors assisted with registration, ordering meals, set up, presentations and making sure all ran smoothly. We had a dance performance by “Young at Heart Sisters.” Grambling Healthy Community member Doris Marzett presented with me, “Cooking for One or Two.” Phyllis Miller and Alisa Greene present programs for the Grambling Housing Authority summer program. A walking program was started by the Healthy Community Coalition. Garnet Wagner, personal training, taught us how to walk to prevent injuries. On June 18, the Grambling Healthy Community will present a workshop on “Live Long, Live Strong.” Three speakers will present Exercising for a Longer Life, Short Cuts in the Kitchen, and Hydroponics, cutting-edge technology for homegrown plants. The program will begin at 10 a.m. at the Grambling Community Center. Please call our office at 251-5134 to sign up.

This year and every year we have volunteers to help with the AgMagic event at the State Fair of Louisiana. Thank you all for your time you share to assist with fair entries, cooking contest, judging, setting up and breaking down educational areas, and for volunteering to be in the building to greet visitors and keep the building clean.

There are so many more volunteers! Thank you all for expanding our programs. Thank you for sharing your expertise. Thank you for networking! Thank you for making a difference! If you would like to volunteer to assist with any of our programs, please call me at 318-251-5134.

“If you have a disability which requires special assistance for your participation in the meeting or activities, please call your local Parish Office (318-251-5134)) at least two weeks prior to the event."
5/17/2019 4:25:14 PM
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