With an office in every county, K-State is a trusted, reliable resource to meet the needs of communities. Local education efforts begin with local residents, organizations and agencies who bring forth ideas and needs to agents and specialists.
PHOTO: When a tornado hit the small town of Reading, Kan., on May 22, 2011, the K-State Research and Extension office in Emporia became the central location to manage donations and volunteers.
Working With Communities Toward Common Goals
When there is an emergency in a county, who steps up to coordinate efforts?
When a local group wants to bring people together for a community project, who has the expertise to organize the volunteers?
When local, state, and federal agencies need to distribute timely information, who has the statewide network and research-based information to share?
With an office in every county, K-State is a trusted, reliable resource to meet the needs of communities.
"Many of our educational efforts come from contacts with individuals, organizations, or agencies because we work with all people in the community to fulfill their needs," said Phil Sloderbeck, director for the K-State Research and Extension southwest area office. "Our program development committees (PDCs) are community people who bring forth ideas and needs to our agents and specialists."
Chuckie Hessong was a member of the Crawford County extension board for several years before the Wildcat District (Crawford, Labette, and Montgomery counties) was formed. She now serves on the district board.
"I think working with the agents and staff is essential to ensure that the programs they provide reflect the needs of our population," Hessong said. "In addition to district-wide meetings, we meet on a regular basis with PDCs for each area.
"I chair the family and consumer sciences PDC and have been amazed at the wonderful input provided by our members. Recently, we discussed the need for an information sheet on preparing items that come in a typical food basket from organizations such as the Salvation Army. Our agents created a handout with safety information and recipes that will be passed out to hundreds of basket recipients in our district."
Here are a few examples of other projects across the state -- many funded by grants written by K-State agents and specialists:
- Agents collect weekly crop data for the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service.
- Wichita, Seward, and Finney counties work with Russell Child Development Services to present nutrition programs for child-care providers.
- Several private agriculture companies asked northwest area agronomists to offer training on crop management practices.
- Shawnee County’s Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods Coalition teamed with the National Children, Youth and Families at Risk Program, and Common Ground — a local community gardening organization — to teach eighth-grade students how to improve their eating and physical activity habits through a program called Choice, Control, and Change.
- Morton, Stevens, and Seward counties responded to a request from the governor’s office to organize a summer tour of drought-stricken areas.
- Grant County’s Health Coalition pulled the community together to create a five-year health and wellness plan. During the process, citizens were able to revise and approve the local projects.
- Kiowa County agents Carmen Stauth and Pamela Muntz have been involved with recovery and rebuilding efforts in Greensburg since the May 2007 tornado.