• 36°

Extension agent speaks to Danville Rotary

By DAVE FAIRCHILD

Danville Rotary

Alethea Price gave Rotarians an overview of the broad range of services provided by the Boyle County office of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. The Boyle County Cooperative Extension is part of the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University off-campus information network. They deliver information, education, and solutions to hopefully generate ideas that lead to better communities, stronger local economies, and healthier lives.

Price is chair of the Early Childhood Council and co-chair of the United Human Services for Boyle County. In addition, she serves on the Board of the Senior Citizens Center and the Boyle County Library District Board. Price holds a bachelor’s of science in child and family studies and a master’s of science in public health, both from Eastern Kentucky University. As a family and consumer science agent, Price deals with everything from how to get mold out of your basement and how to clean your wood floors, to parenting skills and creating healthy meals for your family, to professional development. She also works with the Munchkin & Me program at the Community Arts Center, through LEAP — the Literacy, Eating and Activity Program. She reads a book to children, usually involving nutrition or hygiene.

Photo by Dave Fairchild
Alethea Price, center, speaks with Melanie Thornberry and Sam Pollom, during Friday’s Danville Rotary luncheon.

Price began by identifying the four areas of service available to county residents and the agents responsible for each: Horticulture (Alexis Amorese); Agriculture and Natural Resources (Jerry W. Little; 4-H Youth Development (Kimberly Ragland); and Family and Consumer Science (Price). Price highlighted the 4-H program, headed by Dr. Kimberly Ragland, for its outstanding achievements, e.g., a group of students traveled to New Orleans to help with people still suffering from the effects of hurricane Katrina.

Price leads family and consumer sciences, which covers home economics and life skills. The program coverage spans from parenting and child development to family resource management, which covers budgeting and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. She indicated that cooking classes are probably her most attended classes. Cooking classes teach everything from basic cooking skills to choosing fresh vegetables and canning. The facility has a “wonderful” teaching kitchen, which is planning an expansion next year.  She hopes to see a “doubling” of the meeting room and office space too. “I am optimistic about next year, because the plans are complete and we’ve got an architect on board.”

Asked about services for senior citizens, Price said: “In family and consumer sciences we have seven initiatives, one of those is embracing life as we age, e.g., fall prevention.”

Asked about family planning and the drug treatment, Price shared that: “There are specialists at UK that provide us with information to help us give aid to our communities.  Most recently they hired someone who is developing programming to help families who are dealing with addiction.”

When asked what help was available to under-privileged students, Price said: “I go into the schools sometimes to help them with life skills programming, e.g., we’ve done cooking classes. Boyle County has two teachers doing lots of things, but Danville’s coverage is limited, so I try and fill gaps as needed. It would be nice if we had a way to access preschool age kids.”

Ask about what added service she would most like to see in the future, Price said: “Affordable child care in Boyle County because obviously it affects the workforce. People need to have somewhere that they trust their children will be safe and get a good education.”

Later asked how many children are not receiving needed aid, Price said: “That’s a really great question. We actually have just partnered with Centre College to do a needs assessment survey to determine how many kids need structured care with educational opportunities.”

To a question about being willing to travel to other locations, Price said: “I’ll take my programming wherever all there is a table and some chairs and people in those chairs.”

To the question about her first priority, Price said: “I don’t prioritize any one area.  All seven initiatives are addressed at some point during the year, and everything we do is free.”