Prairie View A&M University, Texas

Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Services

How Prairie View A&M University CES is positioned at the national, state, regional, and city levels:

Demographic Categories Texas Statewide
Black/African: 11.99%
Asian: 4.51%
White: 74.62%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 0.09%
Native Alaskan/Native American: 0.48%
Two or more races: 2.56%
Other race: 5.76%
Median age: 34.2
Total Population: 29,087,070

Extension is uniquely positioned to increase impact and outcomes of healthy living programs through its its large network of relationships, both within the land grant system and with public and private agencies. One of PVAMU’s signature programs is “Heroes 4-Health”, a healthy living program, currently funded nationally by the Wal-Mart Foundation through National 4-H Council. The program is extremely successful.

Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension’s Heroes 4-Health program addresses issues of nutrition, physical fitness, obesity and food insecurity among America’s young people. The goal of the program is to empower youth with healthy living practices that they can share with their peers, family and the community. The Heroes 4-Health program utilizes teen ambassadors, ages 14-19, to reach youth ages 6-19. Teens volunteer their time and are trained as ambassadors to educate youth in healthy living practices using the “Choose Health Food Fun and Fitness” curriculum. After they are trained to be ambassadors they collaborate among themselves and their 4-H Agent to coordinate and conduct summer camps and after school programs. Lessons are taught by teen ambassadors in English and in Spanish, depending on the county of implementation.

While working with their 4-H Agent and 4-H volunteers, youth ambassadors take every opportunity to share their message of healthy living, in community events and health fairs. As youth are learning how to live a balanced healthy life, teen ambassadors are learning to be leaders, presenters, role models, and teachers while becoming inspired to work towards a better future.

This program is accomplished through relationship building with community leaders, club managers and volunteers, 4-H State level Specialists and the 4-H County Agent, acting as an example of Extension’s ability to build relationships at not only the national level, but also at state, regional and local levels. County Agents located all across Texas are able to network and share programming ideas, success and challenges, and create regional opportunities for the youth. This multi-level programming impact is also shared at national trainings which further expand the relationship potential.

How Prairie View A&M University CES address the multitude of issues and priorities in their community through educational programming:

1890 Extension programs have an advantage in addressing the multitude of issues and priorities in the city. In addition to using the Texas Community Future Forums and creating relationships with major community stakeholders, County Agents can provide program content that is culturally / racially / ethnically sensitive and appropriate by using lived experiences along with research-based practices to effectively implement programs and create change.

The Heroes 4- Health grant is typically implemented in 10-12 counties each grant cycle. The communities where the program is implemented are underserved communities with low socioeconomic audiences, traditionally Black and Hispanic populations. A portion of the success of the program can be attributed to the fact that the County Agents are all minorities and live in or near the communities that they serve, and can thus relate to their audiences and easily develop trust. The youth can relate to the County Agents and volunteers because they see people that look like them. Additionally, the youth and program participants can relate to the style of interaction of the County Agent and volunteers.

The volunteers are a very important asset. Volunteers have intimate knowledge of youth group dynamics that can be invaluable to the Agent’s program implementation. When possible, the volunteers create a bridge between the youth and the County Agent that allows for smooth initial interaction and acceptance.

How Prairie View A&M University CES attracts, develops, retains, and structures competent talent:

PVAMU Cooperative Extension recruits people with appropriate urban competencies/experiences. Successful Cooperative Extension professionals can connect with others, have a strong desire to help others or be in service to others, and are typically quick thinkers. PVAMU Extension professionals who find high levels of success are flexible in the ever-changing community environment. The Extension environment can be very supportive and intrinsically motivating by seeing lives changed, meeting colleagues in professional settings and accomplishing professional and personal goals. These people come from the communities we serve as volunteers, collaborators, partners, and from mutual acquaintances who spread the word of our programming needs.

How Prairie View A&M University CES collaborates to leverage resources for collective impact:

PVAMU collaborates with agencies and leverages resources for collective impact. One example is locating agencies with a collective audience who have a need for program delivery. This type of collaboration is a win-win for both organizations, and are successful because the deficits of both organizations are fulfilled by the other organization.

In the Heroes 4-Health program, County Agents typically work with schools or community sites that would like to offer programming to its clientele, but lack the programming resources or personnel.

Another type of collaborator is an organization that provides programming opportunities and resources but would like to expand what they can offer – for instance, when PAMU Cooperative Extension partnered with MD Anderson and their collaborator 100 Black Men of Houston.

PVAMU Cooperative Extension and MD Anderson worked together previously on a Cancer Awareness grant, thus establishing a history of trust that could then be utilized to build upon in future projects. As MD Anderson developed the collaboration with 100 Black Men of Houston, they wanted to create a richer program that involved community service and healthy living education to the youth. MD Anderson recommended our Heroes 4-Health Program and hosted a meeting to introduce all of the potential partners.

During the meeting, discussions on expectations, needs, barriers and common goals occurred. The group was able to agree on program delivery, impacts and goals and a successful program was implemented. 100 Black Men of Houston provided the audience and the location, MD Anderson provided additional volunteers for program implementation, and Cooperative Extension provided an educator, a County Agent and a research-based program with the needed supplies and materials. The end result was a collaboration that served the needs of multiple organizations and community groups.