June 1997 // Volume 35 // Number 3

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page

Feature Articles

Examining Community Needs Through A Capacity Assessment
Nieto, Ruben D. Schaffner, Dona Henderson, Janet L.
Examining community needs through a capacity assessment. The main purpose of the study was to determine the emerging issues and concerns in Defiance County, Ohio as perceived by community citizens. Data were collected through a series of focus group interviews and a county-wide mail survey. Community leaders are using the findings of the study to avoid duplication of efforts and to design programs that address the most critical issues and concerns of the community. This participatory approach to a capacity assessment resulted in a synergistic effort that provided a more accurate picture of community issues and concerns.

Family Life Program Accountability Norms: How Do Your Results Compare?
Fetsch, Robert J.
Within Cooperative Extension Consumer and Family Education Family Living programs, there has been no way to accurately assess parenting and child development program impacts and aggregate and compare results for local, state, and national stakeholders. The purpose of this article is to report benchmark norms from CEPES (Cooperative Extension Program Evaluation Surveys) from 916 Cooperative Extension family life program respondents from four states on family strains, family coherence/coping, quality of life, self-esteem, stress and depression levels, and tax dollar support. Family living agents and specialists can now compare their local and state program impact results with norms from almost 1,000 family living program respondents.

Research in Brief

Dealing with Tobacco Use Among Youth: What Can Extension Family and Youth Professionals Do?
Radhakrishna, Rama B. Snider, B. Alan
Tobacco use among teenagers is rising. A survey was conducted to assess the extent of tobacco use among 13,196 7th, 9th and 12th graders in six Pennsylvania counties. Findings indicated that overall 22% of those surveyed currently smoke cigarettes. Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to dislike school and expect a lower grade point average. In addition, smokers are more likely than non-smokers to agree that it is OK to sell tobacco to minors and don't mind being around people who smoke. Extension professions should develop educational programs relative to youth tobacco use. Potential exists for Extension professionals to work with teachers, families, schools, and other agencies at the local level to address youth tobacco use issues.

Ideas at Work

Agent In-Service Alternative Provides Multiple Benefits
Smith, Joyce A. Wolford, Marjorie
A self-study provided an alternative agent in-service format while updating county reference materials. Agents enrolled received a current reference text and two mailings of case studies or assignments designed to enhance knowledge of and use of the reference. The first mailing indicated pages to find answers/information to complete the assignments as well as to familiarize agents with the reference. The self-study approach was evaluated as an effective format in terms of agent training and resource allocation. Participants reported use of reference to help clientele and to enhance current knowledge of topics covered.

The Decisions For Health Initiative -- Successful Implementation Strategies
Williams, Doris K.
This articles describes a number of programming approaches for the the Decisions for Health Initiative. In each case, the activity or project can be carried out with resources at hand or for little or no additional funds. The focus of these Idaho projects is community development and health. While there are other directions projects can take (for example, nutrition and health), Idaho made a conscious decision to take the community development approach. The projects described here can easily be planned and implemented by other states.

Major Customer Turnoffs: Implications for Extension
Culp III, Ken
This article compares the twelve "Major Customer Turnoffs", as identified by Sanders (1995) as barriers to customer satisfaction in business and service with parallel "Turnoffs" to customers in Extension. These barriers challenge Extension professionals to consider their role in the community, and to understand what drives customers away. Once Extension agents/educators are aware of and understand these "turnoffs", progress can be made toward developing a more appreciative and supportive clientele by fully serving and meeting their needs.

Tools of the Trade

The Challenge of Reaching a Culturally Diverse Audience
Woodson, Joyce M. Sgamma, Leslie C.
The purpose of this project was to provide nutrition education to WIC's neediest Hispanic clients in Clark County. The objectives were: (a) to increase collaboration between Cooperative Extension and WIC, and (b) to help participants acquire knowledge, skills, and behaviors contributing to a sound diet and a healthy lifestyle. A home visitor program utilized bilingual and bicultural staff. Data for this study were obtained using pre/post-test questionnaires, food recalls, and surveys. Preliminary findings indicated significant improvement in nutrition, food safety, and resource management practices among participants.

Coalition Intelligence
Conone, Ruth M. Smith, Penne L.
Individuals who have developed both interpersonal intelligence, the ability to work well with people, and a mastery of information are more likely to be successful coalition members than persons whose mastery is information only.