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Family and consumer science educator hits the ground running

Becky McGuire, The Ohio State University Extension of Williams County’s new Family and Consumer Science (FCS) educator, is wasting no time on getting programming started.

McGuire was hired for the position in March after Williams County commissioners dedicated funds to the position for one year while language is changed on a levy for extension that would allow funds to be used for the FCS position.

McGuire has already been busy meeting with community members and groups and identifying needs for the county.

She said OSU Extension wants its FCS programs to address healthy people, healthy relationships and healthy finances for county residents. Based on that, McGuire then found more specific areas within each block to focus.

“For healthy people, I think I need to continue doing nutrition and food budgeting,” McGuire said.

“For healthy relationships, I know there’s some mental health things that we need to do,” she added. “And some family connections, which basically means when I work with the court programs, they’re saying we can do these things with teens, but they go home to their parents, and we eventually need to bridge in some family parenting-type of things.”

However, one of her main focuses in the immediate future will be in the healthy finances area, including job/life skills and workforce preparation.

“This is huge, this is I think what most of my focus is going to be right now,” McGuire said.

She added that includes teaching students life and soft skills, as well as preparation for entering the workforce.

McGuire recently completed a program at CBI through Four County Career Center that taught students focused on budgeting and healthy nutrition options.

Other current programs include a mental wellness group education through New Home Development that meets weekly and a weekly demonstration at Open Hands Caring Hearts food pantry showing people recipes to make use of the food available.

McGuire said it’s important to her to reach out to all parts of Williams County.

“It’s my goal, because we are a county entity, to visit each of the villages and ask them what, ‘What do you think the needs are and how do you think we can best address those needs?’” she said.

She already has future programs getting ready to start, too.

“CCMEP is a teen-based program, and they’re referred to to JFS (Williams County Jobs and Family Services) through the court system and through the schools,” McGuire said. “It’s a group of teens that work to get basically career and life skills.”

She said the group will meet monthly over a year’s time and she will teach them financial literacy, following directions and some basic hygiene and nutrition.

McGuire anticipates that program starting in June.

She will also be working with Williams County Economic Development Corp. to provide adult programming aimed at providing education on time management, budgeting, wellness and life skills. This would be a partnership with area businesses in which WEDCO would offer the service to member businesses for their employees.

“So I’m going to create a menu and they’re going to pick from it and then ideally I would go in during work hours, maybe on a break time, and go over some things with them,” McGuire said, adding WEDCO Executive Director Ashley Epling said five businesses have already expressed interest in the program.

McGuire will also be working with the Juvenile Detention Center, Bryan Municipal Court probation and juvenile court probation.

She also said she is excited to get into the county’s senior centers, which she couldn’t do as SNAP-Ed educator due to criteria limitations for those programs.

“Now, I have more freedom and we want to go and reach more people,” McGuire said.

She stressed the FCS and Extension are education based, however, and not a social service agency.

“So our job is to work with social service agencies, but basically to do a lot more education to go along with that piece,” McGuire said.

There will be a meet and greet event for McGuire as well as Karie MacDonald, new OSU Extension office services coordinator, at the Williams County East Annex building on May 13 from 4-6 p.m. in the conference room.

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