OSU Extension Empowers Ohio's Families, Consumers

July 18, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Organizations across Ohio that work with Ohio State University Extension indicate a strong need for Extension materials about health, family relations and personal finance.

In a survey of 310 such organizations across the state, the organizations said they particularly would like to offer their clients Extension programs and materials in nutrition education, health and wellness education, issues of parenthood, early childhood development, financial stability, and financial literacy.

The organizations, including school systems, health departments, Head Start programs, community action commissions, Job and Family Services agencies, YMCAs, Family and Children First councils and other agencies, were asked in a survey earlier this year how likely they are to need educational materials on topics offered by Extension's Family and Consumer Sciences educators.

"We wanted to know what they were most interested in, but we also had a second purpose -- we wanted to make sure they knew we offered programs in all of these areas," said Liz Smith, an OSU Extension family and consumer science educator who helped design the survey.

And the strategy was worthwhile: One respondent commented, "Quite frankly, I did not know you even had information on all of these topics."

Not all county offices of OSU Extension have a family and consumer sciences educator -- that's dependent on local priorities and the level of county funding available. But even counties that don't have an educator have access to materials through several outlets, including:

  • Ohioline (http://ohioline.osu.edu), which offers free fact sheets and publications on a variety of topics.
  • eStore (http://estore.osu-extension.org/), which offers for-sale publications from OSU Extension.
  • eXtension (http://www.extension.org), which offers research-based resources from Extension professionals at land-grant universities nationwide, including Ohio State.
  • OSU Extension's "Eat, Save, and Be Healthy" family and consumer sciences blog (http://fcs.osu.edu/blog/), which is geared to help people adopt good nutrition and food safety practices, use their money wisely, and balance the demands of life and work. 

Local organizations, government agencies and businesses are encouraged to contact their county Extension offices to find out what is available in their area. If the county does not have a family and consumer sciences educator on staff, the director of the county Extension office can help determine what is locally available. A directory of county offices is online at http://extension.osu.edu/locate-an-office.

In addition, two OSU Extension field specialists are available statewide to assist with food-related needs: Linnette Goard, field specialist in Food Safety, Selection and Management, goard.1@osu.edu or 330-725-4911, ext. 107; and Dan Remley, field specialist in Food, Nutrition and Wellness, remley.4@osu.edu or 740-289-2071, ext. 241.

OSU Extension offers programs on a wide variety of other topics, including agriculture, natural resources and gardening; 4-H youth development; and community development. But it's often the family and consumer sciences area that hits home with Ohio residents, said Keith Smith, director of OSU Extension and the Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership at Ohio State University.

"Our family and consumer sciences programs help Ohioans learn how to apply research-based information in their daily lives to make informed choices about everything from finances to healthy families to food safety," he said. "OSU Extension's theme is 'Empowerment through Education,' and that's exactly what our programs do for Ohio's families every day."

As part of the nationwide land-grant university system, OSU Extension helps improve lives, businesses and communities with research-based information and targeted programming offered in each county. For information about OSU Extension, see http://extension.osu.edu.

-30-

Author(s): 
Martha Filipic
Source(s): 
Liz Smith