REAP 2014, “Sowing Into Your Future”

August 1, 2014

REAP participantsThe Research Extension Apprentice Program (REAP) has just come to a close after 2 weeks of learning, fun, relationship-building, and skill development. REAP is a program for high school juniors and seniors that are interested in Agriculture and/or Human Sciences. The program is 2 weeks long and provides on-campus room and board for the students along with conducting many fun and educational activities. The goal of the program is to educate students in research and extension related topics in a fun and interactive way, and motivate them to pursue a career in Agriculture or Human Sciences.

From June 15th to June 27th, the students attended a series of workshops and activities that were designed to teach the students skills that can help them be more efficient and maximize their potential and introduce them to some of the basics of Agriculture and Human Sciences. They discussed topics such as, the power of meditation, basic nutrition, the benefits of juicing, the power of forgiveness, and effective time management. The students also attended curriculum oriented seminars conducted by CARC researchers and scientists where they learned the basics of different agriculture and human sciences. They learned about chemistry, different types of soils, natural resources, environmental systems, hydrology, veterinary medicine, growth and development of livestock animals, and more.

The students were also able to visit the George Bush Library in College Station where they toured the museum and learned about former President George H. W. Bush. They also took a trip to Peckerwood Gardens in Hempstead where they were able to observe several different types of rare and uncommon plants.

The program came to an end on June 27th with a closing program for the students, parents, faculty, and staff in which the students were able to give emotional speeches and reflect about their experience in the program. The closing program also featured speeches from faculty and staff members of CEP and CAHS including a motivational speech from Dean of CAHS, Dr. Alton B. Johnson. Some of the students also took turns as Master of Ceremonies, and some entertained the crowd with dance and spoken word performances.

REAP 2014 turned out to be a success, and all the participants enjoyed their experience and their time at PVAMU. They all left with new friends and new skills to help them stay motivated and be successful and attend college, hopefully, at PVAMU CAHS.

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More photos from the REAP 2014 event can be found at the CAHS Facebook and Instagram pages

By Jakari Bates

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Senior Citizens Get Techy With IT!!

April 23, 2014
Participants and Panthers United Members pose for a picture!

Participants and Panthers United Members pose for a picture!

The Waller County Citizens Assistance Coalition (WCCAC) has been conducting computer basics classes at the Waller County Public Library in Hempstead, TX. Participants are a diverse group of residents and have been in attendance at the weekly sessions. These participants have computer experiences ranging from no experience to moderately knowledgeable and owning laptops, tablets and other electronic devices. Computer Basics sessions have been held weekly from March 20th and will continue until the end of April.

As a part of the ‘Senior Tech Initiative’, Panthers United collaborated with WCCAC to assist with providing this much needed senior service. Panthers United is a Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) recognized student organization that is supported by the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences. Panthers United created the ‘Senior Tech Initiative’ as an opportunity for students to bridge generational gaps while supporting Senior Citizens and mature adults in their journey to understand how to conquer the stress of using basic technology.

Students help participant understand how to use Microsoft Word.

Students help participant understand how to use Microsoft Word.

The first ‘Senior Tech’ event was held on April 15, 2014, in the Carden Waller Extension Building at PVAMU. The Senior Tech Subcommittee volunteers provided one on one support to each of the participants in attendance at the Waller County Library as well as at the PVAMU session location. Some of the issues that challenged the seniors were: sharing photos between smart phones, understanding how to organize Apps on the Kindle Fire, exploring the benefits of Groupon App, setting up a Google email account, and connecting email accounts to their smart phones devices, as well as learning a few basic skills related to operating the Microsoft Word office tool.

Panthers United member assists participant with smart phone.

Panthers United member assists participant with smart phone.

 “I truly enjoyed the session. The students were friendly and patient and I learned more than I thought I could. I look forward to future sessions”. ~ Senior Participant

Ms. Danielle Hairston Green, Extension Specialist (FCS) at PVAMU is providing the leadership & service learning projects for the students. If you or someone you know is interested in attending please contact the Waller County Library at (979)732-6281 or Panthers United Senior Tech Initiative at (936)261-5118 or register at Please bring your laptop or tablet computer to the session, if you have one, although this is not a requirement.

Written in collaboration with Mr. LaVaughn Mosley of the Waller County Citizens Assistance Coalition


By Danielle Y. Hairston Green,
Program Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences
Cooperative Extension Program

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Invest In Yourself

September 9, 2013

invest-in-yourself-thumbnailWhat does it take to start a business, live a healthy lifestyle, have a great career, achieve financial peace or gain the skills needed for success? The correct answer is YOU! Believe it or not you are your greatest asset. Merriam-Webster defines an asset as something of value that is owned.  That means that you already have it within you. The term “asset” also includes synonyms such as advantage and resource. The key to maximizing your potential as your own personal asset is to invest in yourself. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. Investing in the stock market is a great opportunity for success, but what about the individuals that do not know whether or not they are facing a bear or bull market? Returns can be uncertain, but the beauty of investing in yourself is that internally you have the aptitude to produce abundant returns in every aspect of your life.

6 ways to Invest In Yourself

  1. Gain Experience: If you are thinking about starting a business or changing careers the best way to invest in yourself is to gain experience in your field. It is much easier to obtain business financing for a new business if you have “skin in the game.” If you are thinking about one day opening a bakery try working at a local bakery so that you can get experience in the field and also learn the ends and outs of owning a bakery. Gaining experience beforehand also helps you to understand what pitfalls to avoid.
  2. Ask Questions: Research the type of business that you would like to own. Getting information on permits and prices on starting a daycare will be of course hard to get from a local daycare owner. However, scheduling a visit with a daycare 75 miles up the road that is not your competition will prove to be very insightful. You will be surprised at how much help other small business owners are willing to give if you just ask. They may even decide to be your mentor.
  3. Go to class: This phrase is not just for students it’s for adults too! Whatever you are most passionate about it could be cooking, decorating or makeup. Check out local organizations such as community colleges that offer classes in courses that you are interested in. If you are thinking about starting a business or have a struggling business your local community college may offer a 3 hour class such as marketing or accounting that will be beneficial. Starting a small business involves money and time, investing in either requires an understanding of where they are going now and in the future. Many organizations such as Texas A & M AgriLife Extension provide classes at little to no cost on various topics such as agriculture, healthy eating, childcare, and small business development.
  4. Relax and Workout: It is so easy to get caught in everyday life that we fail to sit down and take care of ourselves. Working out can reduce a lot of stress. Activities such as Yoga or a brisk 30 minute walk can not only help alleviate stress, but help to avoid an increase in weight and the health consequences that come along with it.
  5. Set goals: If you have dreams of owning your own business or house within the next few years write it down as a long term goal and then put under it the short term goals need to get there.
  6. Save now: Everything from back to school shopping, to a family vacation or opening a business involves savings. Many banks and credit unions offer vacation and Christmas savings accounts that allow you to save up for those expenses so you won’t be stressed out about it at the last minute. A good idea is to complete a 52 week challenge. The 52 week challenge involves putting $1 on week one in a savings account, $2 in week w and so forth. By the end of 52 weeks you will have saved $1,378.

If you would like more information on how you can get started in investing in yourself or if you know of a class that you feel will benefit your community Contact Winnefred Jackson. She can be reached by email at or by the office phone (936)334-3230. Winnefred Jackson is the new Community and Economic Development Prairie View Cooperative Extension Program (A Division of Texas AgriLife Extension) County Extension Agent for Liberty County. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Prairie View A & M University and a Bachelors of Business Administration from Baylor University.

WinnefredJackson By Winnefred Jackson,
Liberty County Extension Agent, Community and Economic Development
Cooperative Extension Program

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Hard Work Has Its Privileges

April 30, 2013

VidalSanezEveryone has a hero and for land grant universities, such as Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, the unsung heroes are county agents. Extension is the mode for progressive change, but the budgetary environmental restrictions moved extension to economic stagnation. But that stagnation did not hinder Vidal Saenz, who was recognized by administration and peers for his community involvement, leadership and financial prudence.

The optimistic mindset is the life of a county agent, built with a commitment to serve residents through long work hours and a variety of programs. Thus, Saenz embeds that life as he strategically developed the Small Farm Outreach Training and Technical Assistance Program. Mainly catering to agricultural producers, small business owners, and other members of the public, his dedication to assist is a welcoming relief to the entire community.

His commitment to the Rio Grande Valley community is so much a part of his identity that Saenz garnered nearly five million dollars in loan assistance for over 45 producers. Everything he does, someway, somehow, positively touches the lives of his clients. For instance, he saves producers over $135,000.00, acts as a liaison between producers, USDA and other loan agencies while training the youth on financial literacy. He spearheaded countless workshops for ranchers, farmers, master gardeners and other professions based on need assessment.

Because he represents the entire community in his efforts, he has the reputation as the community resource. As such, he has put his knowledge to paper and published articles for the Rio Grande Valley newspapers and regional magazines, The Gulf Coast Cattlemen and AgriLife Today, respectively.

It does not matter if he receives a call from a 4-H youth that needs help with a livestock project, gardeners that need an expert’s advice, a frustrated rancher with a noxious weed problem or a thousand other issues, Saenz is there to help. His guidance and leadership has helped many learn valuable lessons and achieve success.

Saenz truly enhances the quality of life for residents in the counties he serves and brings a wealth of knowledge of the university to local communities. PVAMU CEP agents help diverse populations of Texas adapt to rapid societal changes and improve their lives and communities with educational activities that uses science based knowledge.

By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon

Planning for Disasters and Emergencies is Focus of Cooperative Extension Summit

September 9, 2011

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – The recent occurrences of Hurricane Irene and the
earthquake that shook several sections of the United States East Coast
were part of the discussions centering around the theme of Cooperative
Extension*s 2nd Annual Emergency Preparations and Disaster
Summit-Evacuation: Plan to Stay or Get Away, held August 30 at Prairie
View A&M University.

Waller County Judge, Glenn Beckendorff, receives appreciation award from Jimmy Henry, coordinator of the Cooperative Extension Community & Economic Development Program, LaRachelle Smith, program specialist, Community & Economic Development, and Dr. Richard W. Griffin, acting dean, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at PVAMU.

*The purpose of this summit, which was first held in August, 2010, is
to bring together local government officials and first responders in
Waller and surrounding counties to collaborate on the best methods and
resources to use when preparing citizens for real life emergency
situations,* said Jimmy Henry, coordinator of the Cooperative
Extension Community and Economic Development Program.

The Summit focused on topics including Infrastructure Recovery, the
PVAMU SCAN/Weather Station, Application of GIS Technology and
Agriculture Business Continuity.  Participants also had the opportunity
to engage in conversation with the speakers asking questions or raising
issues that were of concern to them about emergency preparedness.

Participants were reminded about the necessity of having a 72 Hours
Essential Kit ready in the event of an evacuation. This kit should
consist of non-perishable food, water, essential clothing, tools, first
aid, medication, personal hygiene items, flashlight, batteries, fully
charged cell phone, important documents, battery operated and weather
radio and cash. Vehicle fuel tanks should also be filled.

Keynote speaker for the Summit, Waller County Judge, Glenn Beckendorff,
told the audience to make sure they know about their local community*s
Emergency Management Plan. *My hope is to meet with the mayors,
superintendents of schools, police chiefs, sheriff*s department and
other Waller County officials quarterly or at least twice a year to keep
everyone updated on Waller County*s Emergency Management Plan. *

Don Elder, Jr., Mayor, City of Katy, addresses Emergency Preparations Summit audience.

Don Elder, Jr., Mayor, City of Katy, echoed Judge Beckendorff*s
thoughts about planning for disasters and emergencies saying that
*Communication is the key when having a successful emergency
management plan in order to keep citizens safe.*

LaRachelle Smith, program specialist, Community & Economic Development, standing, moderates Emergency Preparations Summit Panel, which consists of, from left, Noel Estwick, information specialist at PVAMU, Dr. Richard W. Griffin, acting dean, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at PVAMU, Waller County Judge Glenn Beckendorff, Dr. Gbenga Ojumu, instructor, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at PVAMU and LtCol (Ret.) Keith Stephens, director, Corps Cadets Center at Texas A&M University.

Co-chair of the Summit, LaRachelle Smith, program specialist, Community
and Economic Development, said that she hopes to continue and build on
the momentum created from this year*s event so that the 2012 Summit
will continue to provide a place for collaborative solutions and
awareness of resources available for emergency and disaster

For more information about the Emergency Preparations Summit, visit

Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications

Disaster Preparedness Seminar to be Held May 13th at Prairie View A&M University

April 26, 2010

Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program Disaster PreparationPRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Evacuation measures are put in place for citizens to act upon when natural or man-made emergencies occur, but how often are they taken seriously or do individuals really know what to do during these situations? These questions and others will be answered at Cooperative Extension’s Monthly Seminar Series on May 13th. Are you Ready for the Next Disaster is the topic to be addressed at the event that will start at 12:00 noon in the Carden-Waller Cooperative Extension Building auditorium, on the campus of Prairie View A&M University.

“Our goal for this seminar is to arm local residents in the Prairie View, Waller, Hempstead and surrounding areas with information on how to prepare for weather related or other emergency conditions, give them steps to take to evacuate their counties and outline contingency plans to survive an emergency,” said Jimmy Henry, field counselor, Community and Economic Development, Cooperative Extension Program.  “We also want Prairie View A&M University faculty, staff and students to join us for this seminar.”

Planned topic discussions for the seminar include: Emergency Preparedness, County Evacuation and Future Contingency Focused Workshops. This seminar will be the third in a series of monthly seminars that Cooperative Extension is hosting.  Seminars in June will focus on Summer Fun Programs for Youth and Teaching Your Child Money Management Techniques.

Interested persons can contact Jimmy Henry for more information about disaster preparedness at 936/261-5115, or visit the CEP website at

About the Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program
The Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) is the outreach and service unit of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences and the university’s educational component that provides practical and research based information to primarily limited resource families, youth, small farm producers and communities in Texas to help them raise their standards of living. The CEP educational workshops and programs focus on health and nutrition, financial money management, sustainable agriculture, economic development, community revitalization, 4-H and youth development, civic engagement and beef cattle production, to name a few.

Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications, Cooperative Extension Program