Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Come to the Rail Trail Kick Off Event

After three years of community mapping, research, and getting everything in place, we have our first walking route marked and will hold an event this Saturday.  Thank you to the committee that has worked so hard.  Join us Saturday at the Rail Road Depot and walk in our event.  Walkers may start between 9 and 10 a.m.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Do You Know How Valuable You Are?

Volunteers are vital to Cooperative Extension.  Volunteers help us with most of our programming and the events we host.  In 2015 we track around 10,000 volunteer hours that helped with our various program areas.  The majority were in our 4-H program as we work to grow our future leaders.

Many of you volunteer for a variety of organizations and activities that impact your communities.  do you help out at your kids school, work at church, serve as a volunteer fire fighter or serve on a committee in your community.  Think about the hours you have given.  Are you valuable to the organization.  

For a recent program I gave on volunteering, I looked up the current rate for volunteer time.  The estimated value of volunteer time for 2014 was $23.07 per hour. The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

Did you know how valuable you are to your community or organizations you serve?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Benefits from Volunteering

The benefits of volunteering are enormous to the volunteer.  The right match can help you find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Volunteering can also help protect your mental and physical health.  Here are four personal benefits of volunteering.

Benefits of volunteering #1: Volunteering connects you to others

Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. And volunteering is a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.

Benefits of volunteering #2: Volunteering is good for your mind and body

·         Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
·         Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
·         Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
·         Helping others kindles happiness, as many studies have demonstrated. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were, according to a study in Social Science and Medicine. Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks. Among weekly volunteers, 16% felt very happy.

Benefits of volunteering #3: Volunteering can advance your career

If you’re considering a new career, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. Even if you’re not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization. You might feel more comfortable stretching your wings at work once you’ve honed these skills in a volunteer position first.  Your volunteer work might also expose you to professional organizations or internships that could be of benefit to your career.

Benefits of volunteering #4: Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life

Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Identify the best storm shelter in your home

We do not have tornados often and basements and storm shelters are not common in our area.  So what should you do if you are faced with a storm that may have a potential tornado.  Sheltering in place is the best idea.

Choosing the best place in your home or workplace to shelter from a tornado isn’t always easy. Many newer buildings don’t have a really good shelter area. Use these rules of thumb to find the best tornado shelter possible:
• Stay away from windows and skylights
• Shelter “down and in” - Put as many walls between yourself and the outside as you can (think of the ceiling as a wall)
• Avoid rooms with large ceiling expanses
• Find an area large enough for everyone to stay comfortably for at least 45 minutes

It is recommended that the room be an interior room like a closet or bathroom.  Practice getting into the area and what you might need to take with you.  You may want a radio or flashlight.  A blanket to cover your heads to keep debris off of you.  Pillows to make it more comfortable.  If you have young children, maybe a small toy or comfort item.

Dessert Auction and Candidate Forum Sunday

Join the Wrangler 4-H Club for at Candidate Forum, Dessert Auction and Ice Cream Social on Sunday.  4-Hers will be providing entertainment.  Proceeds will go to help support the 2016 Eastern District Contest that we will be hosting in Tucumcari in June.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tips for Online Shopping

Here are some rules of the road for shopping online that can make the most of the experience, save you money and minimize the hassle.
  1. Enter the type of product in a search engine (8-cup coffee maker). Chances are you will see lots of results, depending on your terms. To narrow your choices, you might use a feature you know you want (8-cup programmable coffee maker), a brand name ("Aroma First 8-cup programmable coffee maker"), or the name of an online merchant or a retailer in your community ("8-cup programmable coffee maker" AND "Full of Beans, Inc."). 
  2. Compare the features and the prices. Read reviews and ratings. Many merchants post consumer feedback next to the description and price of the product.
  3. Feedback on the vendor is also important. Read reviews about a business' reputation for customer service.
  4. Do another search to compare the price of the item among various merchants. Look for coupons and discounts for the item or the vendor, being mindful of the details in the fine print.
  5. Read the terms of the deal on the merchant's website: Is shipping free or must you pay? Who pays to ship it back if the item doesn't measure up? Can you get a refund or store credit if you return the item? Is there a restocking fee if you return the item? Is there a time limit on returns or service? Is the original packaging required for a return? Is there a phone number and physical address for the merchant?
  6. If you're satisfied that it's time to buy, look for the letters 'https' or a symbol for a lock in the address bar. The 's' is for secure; it means the information you are providing is encrypted before it's sent. If you can, pay by credit card, because the law offers protections for you if your transaction doesn't go as planned.
  7. Never enter any personal or financial information unless you see https and never send personal or financial information by email. Email isn't secure unless it is encrypted.