Breckenridge Texan

Stephens County Extension agents present annual report, upcoming plans to County Commissioners

Stephens County Extension agents present annual report, upcoming plans to County Commissioners
March 03
19:56 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

The Stephens County AgriLife Extension office has a busy spring planned with activities ranging from a program on exercise for healthy aging to a car seat safety day.

Stephens County Extension Agents, Jessie Shortes, left, and Sumer Russell, presented their annual report to the commissioners court on Feb. 26. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Local Extension agents Sumer Russell and Jessie Shortes presented their annual report to the Stephens County Commissioners Court on Monday, Feb. 26, and outlined some of their upcoming programs for the Breckenridge community.

Russell explained to the commissioners all of the programs that the Extension service offered last year and talked about some upcoming projects.

“We just finished up a senior citizen wellness class at the hospital,” Russell said. “So we’ve opened up a new partnership with them, and they want us to continue to do this year round. And it’s an exercise program, fall prevention program for our senior citizens. … And we’re going to continue to do that as long as my schedule allows. The senior citizens are loving it. … It’s open for anybody 40 and up. … A lot of our clients in that are widowed. So we’re doing movement, and we’re doing nutrition.

“But what I’ve seen is the community is what they need the most there because we don’t have a senior citizen center,” Russell continued. “And so it’s been it’s been good seeing the … community grow between all these participants.”

Healthy Aging Movement Class

The Extension service will host a free Healthy Aging Movement class every Monday in March.

The class will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m., beginning Monday, March 4, at the O.C. Heairren Annex, located at 1207 E. Williams St. The class is open to all Stephens County residents.

Class attendees will learn how to reduce their risk for disease and engage in a healthy lifestyle. Some of the specific topics will include:

  • Be Independent, Eat Well — Learn which nutrients you need more as you age, how to support cognition through food and more
  • Be Able, Read the Label — Find out how to use the nutrition facts label as a tool to help you maintain a healthy eating pattern
  • Be Safe, Eat Safe — Learn how to keep food safe while shopping, how to interpret dates on food packages, safe food storage practices and more
  • Be Creative, Plan Meals — Find solutions to eating alone and learn how to plan meals for small households
  • Be Fit, Move More — Learn the benefits of physical activity as you age, and ideas to include physical activity in your daily life

Car Seat Safety Day

The Extension service will host a free car seat safety inspection and installation on April 26.

The event will take place in the First Methodist Church parking lot, 419 W. Walker, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Parents can get their childrens’ car seats inspected by certified child passenger safety technicians. Parents need to bring their children, car seats, if possible, the owner’s manual for the vehicle and the instruction booklet for the car seats.

If a car seat is not properly equipped or if you don’t have a car seat, the Extension staff can help you get a free car seat or booster seat, depending on your specific need.

If possible, let the organizers know that you’ll be attending the Car Seat Safety Day by calling 254-559-2313 to register. Drive-ups will also be welcomed.

The Extension agents will need six volunteers to help with the event. If you would like to volunteer, contact Russell at 254-559-2313.

Texas Community Futures Forum

On April 29, the Stephens County Extension Office will host a Texas Community Futures Forum to help identify the needs of the community to help the Extension staff plan programs in the future to meet those needs.

The forum will be a part of a statewide process that the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agency holds about every five years. It allows community members to identify and prioritize issues that are important to their county and the state. The information gathered in the forum will guide the local extension agents for the next several years.

The event will be open to the public and will be held from noon to 1 p.m. April 29 at the Extension office, 2622 U.S. Highway 180 East. Lunch will be provided.

Youth Mindful SELF and Yoga

In June, the Extension office will host a program that combines the Mindful SELF program with yoga.

The Mindful SELF program integrates concepts of social and emotional learning from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning framework. CASEL focuses on five dimensions: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, relationship skills and social awareness. Mindful SELF is a research-based program that is designed to build healthy and resilient youth.

According to information from the Extension office, “Social and emotional development has been shown to improve youth mental health, feelings of connectedness, classroom engagement, youth problem behaviors and academic achievement.”

The program will cost $20 per student. It will be take place June 11, 12, 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Extension office, 2622 U.S. Highway 180 East. At each session, which will be taught by Life Coach specialists, one hour will be dedicated to Mindful SELF, and one hour will focus on youth yoga.

School Programs

In addition to programs hosted by the Extension service for the general public, the local Extension agents also provide programs through the school district.

In April and May, third-graders at South Elementary School will participate in the Learn Grow Eat Go program. They will learn to improve their physical activity and eating behaviors through hands-on gardening and lessons in nutrition and physical activity.

In May, Breckenridge High School seniors will take part in the “It’s Your Money,” a financial education program designed to give teens the opportunity to experience real-world financial experiences without the real-world consequences.

Ag Programs

Shortes updated the commissioners about a variety of ag-related programs that the Extension service offered last fall, including livestock workshops for adults and students.

Upcoming ag-related programs include an after-school garden club that kicks off soon and will include a plant sale on April 6 at the Extension greenhouse.

On April 16, the Extension will host a tree health workshop, and on April 25, a pond/tank management program will be held at the MT7 Ranch.

More details will be available on the ag programs in upcoming weeks.


Cutline, top photo: Stephens County officials listened to the annual report by the Stephens County AgriLife Extension Service agents Jessie Shortes and Sumer Russell at the Feb. 26 county commissioners meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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