Home and Community Education groups to celebrate OHCE Week
For nearly 80 years the Oklahoma Home and Community Education groups in Oklahoma County have been hard at work serving the communities where they live. That’s one reason May 5 to 11 has been declared OHCE Week throughout Oklahoma County and across the state.
“We have a long history of community service in Oklahoma,” said Lisa Hamblin, Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences educator and advisor to the OHCE program. “For years we were known as the OSU Extension Home Demonstration clubs and are proud to have been serving our communities for nearly as long as we have been a state.”
Thousands of OHCE members serve in more than 300 groups across the state. Every year, members donate more than a 500,000 community service hours toward helping people and programs in need.
In Oklahoma County, 13 Home and Community Education groups meet all over the county and are involved in a number of projects year-round. OHCE groups work year-round to provide service for patients in the Oklahoma Veterans Medical Center and within the Oklahoma County Mental Health Association network. They also donate time to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren organization, the Oklahoma Philharmonic Society, Literacy Link, the Edmond Hope Center, Mobile Meals, Christmas Connection and the Salvation Army.
Oklahoma County OHCE groups donated more than 20,000 hours to community service in 2012.
In addition, OHCE awards more than $110,000 in scholarships to Oklahoma students and is responsible for pouring more than $166,000 into communities throughout the state in the last two years.
“Offering continuing education in all areas of home and community life continues to be an important focus of OHCE,” Hamblin said. “Our members live in the communities they serve, which allows them to identify important issues and work effectively to address them.”
Statewide, the OHCE organization focus for this year is a “Raising Young Readers” initiative for preschoolers and the international “Water for All” campaign. Every year, Oklahoma OHCE funds the drilling of at least two new wells for citizens living in third-world nations.
Oklahoma County OHCE groups also provide members with social and learning opportunities, as well as positive outlets for community service and development.
“Our state OHCE week is a wonderful opportunity for us to open up our groups to new members,” Hamblin said. “Anyone who wants to get involved in community service, but isn’t really sure how, can join one of our groups and get started making a unique contribution.”