A Monthly On-Line Newletter for Home*A*Syst Coordinators, Partners and Friends
At Home with the National Office
It's been one year (already!) since I began as the national Home*A*Syst coordinator. In that time a lot has happened: four states have gained coordinators -- Welcome to our newest state, Texas, who came on board last month! New areas of programming have been emphasized: Children's Health...Food Safety...Healthy Homes...to name a few. We have a new web page. Together with states, we've worked on some exciting grant proposals, which will give us a chance to pilot some new strategies for delivering Home*A*Syst. I have certainly learned a lot about the creativity and resourcefulness of states, and the potential for our program.
Given that, I think it is time to sit back, take a look at where we are, and begin looking forward. To help plan this future, I have created a National Steering Committee for Home*A*Syst. Comprised of state coordinators, original authors, and federal agency staff, this Committee will represent all the key partners. We'll meet for a kick-off meeting next month in Greensboro, NC and grapple with a strategy for planning the future. Your input and involvement on these recommendations will be encouraged! Stay tuned for next month's Threshold where I will summarize the Committee's recommendations.
With the help from a strong evaluation effort, Michigan Home*A*Syst is making an impact while also obtaining valuable feedback to make a good program better. Using data collected by a survey bound inside each Home*A*Syst book, evaluators documented common home pollution risks, increased awareness and planned behavioral changes, and offered insights to improve a program that is highly rated by participants.
Results from 1998 show that 16,618 people in Michigan participated in Home*A*Syst: 7,329 children as part of classroom instruction; 6,951 adults who attended groundwater workshops and other group presentations; 1,980 people who received the Michigan Home*A*Syst publication, and 358 adults who were assisted one-on-one. How did they accomplish such an extensive outreach effort? High on this list was state funding through the Groundwater Stewardship program. But even the
little things helped, like publishing a Michigan version of the Home*A*Syst workbook, which kept reproduction costs down.
Results from approximately 250 surveys show that adults learned about Home*A*Syst from the Master Gardener Program, Michigan State University Extension, and AmeriCorps members. Figure 1 shows that nearly 75% of the people received assistance
in completing the assessments. AmeriCorps and state groundwater technicians were the primary providers of assistance. The most common pollution risks identified were household hazardous products (19% of the respondents), improper well management (13.3%), and potential contamination from liquid fuels (12.6%). Nearly 90% indicated that they gained a better understanding of groundwater protection. Over 80% said they planned to make changes in practices that affect groundwater. Many of these changes were low-cost or no-cost items (see Figure 2)
Overall, the surveys confirmed that people had positive reactions to the program. About eight out of ten said Home*A*Syst was worthwhile and would recommend it to friends and neighbors. "These surveys should be required of all new homeowners to increase education and awareness of potential hazards. It would help prevent many problems before they start," said one respondent.
A strength of this evaluation was to point out room for improvement. Programmers in Michigan used insights to improve classroom activities with students, strengthen group presentations and target more urban residents. AmeriCorps members were encouraged to work with students using a newly developed groundwater homework assignment instead of passing out the adult workbooks, which were not making it into the hands of parents. To help AmeriCorps members and others who make group presentations, program staff developed a four page pamphlet called Home*A*Syst Lite. With a simple checklist and quiz, the pamphlet introduces community groups to basic concepts in the short time allotted to these presentations (20-30 minutes). Michigan hopes that this will whet their appetite to learn more about Home*A*Syst. Future plans in Michigan include more of an emphasis on using Home*A*Syst in one-on-one.
For more information on the Home*A*Syst program in Michigan, contact Larry Ruetz at (248) 858-0895, or email@example.com
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $TITLE: ALLIES AGAINST ASTHMA
DEADLINE:Letters of Intent due January 14, 2000
PURPOSE:This national program will provide support to community-based coalitions to develop and implement comprehensive asthma management programs that include improved access to and quality of medical services, education, family and community support, and environmental and policy initiatives.
MORE INFO:See the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation web site, www.rwjf.org. Once at this site, click on "Applying for a Grant", then "List of Open Calls for Proposals".
PAST ISSUES OF THE THRESHOLDAugust 1999 - New York works with EFNEP
September 1999 - Wisconsin HAS and Native American Nation
Produced by the National Home*A*Syst Office, 303 Hiram Smith Hall, 1545 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1289 608.262.0024, firstname.lastname@example.org
URL is http://www.wisc.edu/farmasyst/homeasyst/newsletters/oct99.htm
Comments can be made to Kadi Row, email@example.com
Created by Janice Kepka, firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated Wednesday, 18-Feb-2004 16:22:44 CST.