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August 26, 2011

by Jo Ann Carr, Jefferson County

(Picture shows Jo Ann judging Photography at a County Fair)

I have known about Extension Homemakers (formerly Home Demonstration Clubs) all my life.  I remember my mother having her club members over to our house and quilting in our living room while I played under the quilt.  This was in the middle to late 1940’s.  When they were through quilting for the day, she would pull the quilt up to the ceiling.  They made quilts for the children of club members when they graduated from high school and I still have the one I received.  It was a ship pattern with the members putting their names on their block. 

My mother, grandmother, sister-in-law and sister were all members of the Morrow-Ferda Home Demonstration Club.   In the middle 1950’s their main project was making garments for the Jacksonville Children’s Convalescent Home.  My mother served as President and Community Service Chairman.  Her club would meet at our home and sew the garments. 

My sister and I were members of the Plum Bayou 4-H Club while growing up and my sister, Patsy Pettit, is now the new President of the Lonoke County Extension Homemakers Council.   In 1954 my family was a nominee and competed in the Farm Family of the Year Program.  In 1958, I was Miss Morrow- Ferda at the District Fair in Pine Bluff.  In  1989,  Mrs. Schaun Brown, Associate Home Economist with the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service and Mrs. Jeri Vangilder, County Extension Agent-Home Economics, held an information meeting at White Hall for the purpose of starting an Extension club in that area.  I went to that meeting and was hooked.  I was the first president of our club, The White Hall Willing Workers Extension Homemakers Club. 

I have learned so much from all the interesting programs we have had over the years and made so many friends from all over the state.  Our club has just finished making 100 cancer caps and is in the process of making dresses to be sent to Africa.  The leadership programs have helped me so much in being able to speak in front of  a group.  Every year our county (Jefferson County) sponsors a Holiday Foods Workshop.  When it was started the agent presented the program with members working behind the scene.  One of our past Agents suggested that EHC members should be presenters since this was our program. This has helped me and our members in gaining confidence and being able to speak before an audience.  I have served four years as our County Council President, served as How-To Classes Chairman for the State Meeting Planning Committee, Associate District Director for the Delta District and am presently Curtain Call Chairman for the State Meeting Planning Committee.  I am also Continuing Education Chairman for our county.  I thoroughly enjoy working for Extension Homemakers on the club, county and state level,  and I would like to thank all the Agents and members of our county and the other counties that helped make our recent Fair Judging Workshop a success.

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