By Johanna Hicks, Family & Community Health AgriLife Agent for Hopkins County, [email protected]
As we gear up for the new year, I wanted to share another Extension component that has reached thousands of people – the Hopkins County Master Wellness Volunteer initiative. But first, here’s a brief description:
Primary program areas for Family & Community (FCH) agents are health, nutrition, family well-being, and food safety. There are numerous programs available for implementing at the county level. However, there is a limit to the amount of programming one person can implement. Volunteers contribute greatly to the FCH program and can further extend education into the community.
A group of trained volunteers serve as advocates for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and substantially increase the scope and impact of the FCH program. The Master Wellness Volunteer program provides volunteers with 40 hours of health and nutrition education. In return, volunteers give back 40 hours of service during the first year and 10 or more hours each year thereafter.
- Seven planning meetings
- Eight issues of Volunteer Connection newsletter
- Professional development opportunities provided
- Three recognition events given to honor Master Wellness Volunteers
- Nine trained volunteers contributed 796.25 hours in 2021, reaching 4,854 individuals
Master Wellness Volunteers served as presenters in the following:
- Summer Youth Day Camp session
- Head Start Walk & Talk Nutrition sessions
- Annual Christmas Joys Holiday program
- Leadership Advisory Board meeting reports for MWV’s
- Retired Teachers program
- Walk Across Texas (served as team captains)
- Walk Through Texas History (served as team captains)
Planning meetings and assistance:
- Hopkins County Fall Festival Creative Arts Contest
- Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes series (registration, survey distribution, refreshments)
- Cooking Well with Diabetes series (tray preparations/assistance, registration survey distribution)
- Marketing for programs
- 4-H Foods Project meetings
- 4-H Clothing project meetings
- Food Drives
- Summer youth day camp
- Dress a Girl Around the World
- Stitchin’ Heaven
- Senior Citizen’s Meal-a-Day
- Covered front Extension lobby in absence of secretary
- Researched ideas for youth camp programs
Value of volunteer hours: $22,746.38
The 2022 Master Wellness Volunteer Training cohort being offered state-wide will be held in Hopkins County. Plans are to hold the first and last meetings face-to-face, and obtain frequent contact with participants throughout the training series. Upon passing the certification exam, they will be notified of opportunities to provide service.
If you or someone you know would like to participate in the 2022 training, please call my office at 903-885-3443 and I’ll provide the registration information. The first face-to-face training day is Jan. 18, at the Extension Office.
Contact Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family & Community Health Agent for Hopkins County, may contacted at P.O. Box 518, 1200-B West Houston St., Sulphur Springs, TX 75483; at 903-885-3443; or at [email protected].