Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Improving Quality of Life in Rural Communities with MU Extension Programs

Written by David Burton

Many University of Missouri Extension programs focus on planting something or raising livestock. However, programs that improve the quality of life in our rural communities are just important to the productivity of agriculture in the Ozarks. Here are three examples.


SkillUp 101 is an MU Extension program for people who receive food stamps. The program is designed to help individuals get a new job or go back to school and improve their life situation.

The goal of the program is to get people off food stamps and to become self-sufficient.

Individuals interested in the program, or who know someone who is interested, should call 855-278-0354 to begin the registration process. Once an individual’s food stamp eligibility is verified, they will be able to enroll in the SkillUp program. 

The following SkillUp transition classes in Greene County are going to be held at the Springfield Botanical Center from 1 to 3 p.m.: July 11 “The importance of maintaining a good attitude,” July 18 “Taking responsibility for your choices,” July 25 “Communication Skills,” Aug. 1 “Problem Solving Skills,” Aug. 8 “Preparing for the Workplace.”

In 2018, 800 people have applied for the SkillUp program across Missouri. Of those, 247 are in training, and 137 are employed and are receiving pay that is above the poverty level, which means that they no longer need food stamps.


Greene County MU Extension has joined forces with sponsors to offer a unique event aimed at addressing challenges and improving the sense of community in Ash Grove.

The Ash Grove Betterment Night will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, July 12 at the Ash Grove Sunshine Center, 310 N Perryman Ave, Ash Grove.

All proceeds from the meal will stay with the Sunshine Center to support their building. Admission is $8 per for a barbeque meal with sides and homemade cobbler and ice cream.

Dr. Amy Patillo, a workforce development specialist with MU Extension, will present “Health Insurance Literacy.” Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health education specialist with MU Extension, will present “Nutrition for Life-Long Health.”

I will be presenting, “Working Together to Create a Better Community.” My presentation will focus on volunteerism and examples of ways for people in Ash Grove to connect with a non-profit with the goal of improving the local quality of life.

Local sponsors have funded the marketing and promotion of this event. Those sponsors include
Integrity Homecare and Hospice, First Baptist Church of Ash Grove and Freeway Ministries, Wilson-Griffin Funeral Homes, Greene County Farm Bureau, Greene County Commission, and the Greene County Commonwealth.

To register for this event, contact Greene County MU Extension by telephone at (417) 881-8909 or online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene.


Individuals wanting to be part of University of Missouri Extension’s EXCEL Leadership Class 2 in western Greene County are encouraged to register soon since there are only 15 seats available in the program.

Participants in the class must be residents of Ash Grove, Bois D’Arc, Republic, Willard, Walnut Grove or the county area around those communities.

The program is free again this year thanks to program funding from sponsors.

The purpose of EXCEL is community development through graduates who network and commit themselves as leaders to improve the lives of residents in their community.

Registration information is online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene.


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