The Community Development Educator has been involved with the Interagency Networking Group that meets once a month at Cameron Memorial Hospital. There are over a dozen non-profit and community service groups that are represented at the monthly meetings and more are welcome to join! The Educator has begun facilitating the meetings which usually consist of a 15-20 minute presentation from a local non-profit, business, or government organization. The rest of the meeting is used for a round table discussion where each represented party may share with the group what services they offer and special programs that are coming up. By being able to bring these resources together once a month the groups identify needs and assets with in the community and what services are available to them and their clients so they do not duplicate efforts or may work together on such efforts. There are a lot of “ah-ha” moments within these short monthly meetings. Many participants learned at a recent meeting that the Red Cross only has one volunteer in Steuben County certified in disaster relief to help families with arrangements when there is a house fire.
The Master Gardener Program is one way that the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service puts knowledge to work and helps people grow throughout Indiana. The Master Gardener Program helps gardeners grow by providing them with intensive training in horticultural principles. Participants, in turn, share their knowledge by providing volunteer leadership and service to their communities. There are over 70 Master Gardeners at work within Steuben County. You may see these individuals giving seasonal presentations at the Fremont and Carnegie Public Libraries, selling plants that they have cultivated at the Steuben County Farmers’ Market, helping coordinate the Pleasant Township Community Garden, teaching 3rd and 4th grade students at Prairie Heights Elementary School, preparing the garden for Eat Your Way to Better Health at Carlin Park, and many other places.
The Purdue Extension Master Gardeners of Steuben County were honored this year with receiving 2nd place in the Purdue Master Gardener Search for Excellence for their Young Sprouts program at Prairie Heights. The after school program allows Master Gardeners from LaGrange and Steuben Counties to teach the children pruning, planting, insect and disease diagnosis and then allow the children to use the knowledge they gained in the gardens surrounding the school.