07/26/20: In Lee County, the Empowering Youth and Families Program (EYFP) has been working with Lee County Schools in the hopes of assisting students with learning habits for a healthier lifestyle. The program Lee County EYFP partnered with is called Project Lift-Off, and their goal is to teach youth about personal health, SMART goals, nutrition, and physical activity. During each day of the program, staff of EYFP and Lee County Schools spent 30 minutes with students to teach them about the different services and experiences offered through Extension. On the last day, students were able to demonstrate what they had learned by teaching their teachers about what they learned and how the program helped them. It is through collaborating with programs such as Project Lift-Off that Lee County EYFP is able help empower the youth of their community.
Yancey County EYFP also knows the power of strong community partnerships. Niki Maness, Program Assistant (PA) for Yancey County EYFP, reflects on one of their valuable “partners,” a former intern named Britney Stines. Britney was attending East Tennessee State University, pursuing her B.S. degree in Human Services, when she joined Yancey County EYFP in Spring 2019. As an intern, she performed various tasks such as making copies, helping prep materials and meals for the sessions, and even stepping in a few times to help with childcare. Niki recalls that Britney was, “someone who is excited about helping people, is an awesome team player, and is always willing to share their thoughts and ideas.” When her internship concluded, Britney actually came back to work as an EYFP facilitator in the following fall, as she liked working so much with the program and staff as an intern. As a facilitator, she was able to help as Yancey County EYFP switched over to the Powerful Families, Powerful Communities curriculum. Britney assisted with both caregivers and youth during EYFP sessions, but working with youth is admittedly her favorite. When asked about why she chose to work with this program, Britney replied, “I help with EYFP because I want to see families grow in their relationships with each other and further develop the strengths they already have. It is important for families to be able to communicate and I think EYFP does a great job of helping families communicate better.” Britney has been a tremendous asset to Yancey County EYFP, and they are grateful to have her on their team.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented counties everywhere with new challenges to face, and Pender County is no exception. Their EYFP families, however, have remained strong in the wake of all the new and sometimes frustrating changes. The families of Pender are finding ways to be creative and put their surplus of downtime to good use. Indoors and outdoors, families are trying all manner of activities such as camping, traveling, embryology, husbandry, art, and gardening. Many families have taken the time to expand their knowledge and learn new skills. Others are simply enjoying more time to be together as a family. Pender County EYFP feels blessed to have a strong community of empowered individuals, and families who are creative, strong, and resilient. Of course like most they are looking forward to a time when life can resume as normal, but, in the meantime, they will keep thriving as best they can.