AAFCS Spring Conference Ends

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

18056180_10155310397618331_8243399567819334696_oProfessional and student members of the Arkansas affiliate of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and related professionals in education, service, medical and business settings from across the state were at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for the AAFCS spring conference. The theme was “Working Together through Local and Global Connections.”

The first session was on food waste. It has doubled since 1970, said Rachel Schichtl, assistant professor at the University of Central Arkansas. Wasted food is defined as discarded edible food. The average American family of four wastes 21 pounds of food valued at $190 per month. This is not acceptable in a country where 48 million people report being food insecure, she said, and it’s a waste of the resources used to grow that food. She offered tips to reduce waste and urged the audience to include eliminating food waste as part of their educational programs. She recommended www.stilltasty.com, a shelf life guide website, as a reliable source for storing food safely.

After a recitation of “I Got Flowers Today” by the Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) Club and a dramatic fashion presentation by Twisted Kreations dedicated to battered women, participants went on a community walk to the UAPB Bell Tower where they released purple balloons and checked out displays by groups helping those battling domestic abuse.

Conferees heard the domestic violence survivor’s story of Cathy Young, an author, artist and UAPB student. The author of poetry, books, screen plays and children’s books credited UAPB with having “done so much for me.” She said that writing gives you a voice beyond your own voice.” To find time to be as prolific as she is, she said she has reduced her work week to two days a week. Her books are available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.

“So many authors nowadays must do a lot of self-promotion,” she said. Young, who was a teenage mom, was married at age 18 to a man nearly twice her age who was very “controlling.”

Megan Golliver, a Harding University student from St. Louis, is a different survivor. After undergoing many extensive surgeries because of a severe automobile accident, she used her leadership class assignment to incorporate one’s major into a positive leadership role to regain her identity. She thought of the many children who have never had a chance to have an identity because of life threatening illnesses. After going on rounds with doctors at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, she designed a clothing line for children as an alternative to hospital gowns.

Eleanor Wheeler, Arkansas Advocates for Children, and Dr. Marilyn Bailey-Jefferson, UAPB Child Development Center-Early Head Start executive director, discussed the role of advocacy to insure that children reach their full potential and the dangers of using state averages. Arkansas enjoys a low unemployment rate, less than 5 percent, yet many counties have a rate of 10 percent. The national child poverty rate in the U.S. is 22 percent; in Arkansas, 26 percent; yet in some counties it is as high as 50 percent. Both agreed there is a connection between education and economics.

Through a slide presentation, Yunru Shen, a UAPB fashion instructor, showed the influence that European, Asian and African fashion designers have on the clothes we see not only on runways but that we wear.

Teki Hunt Winston, UAPB director of 4-H programs and School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Humans Sciences recruitment, will become state president of the Arkansas affiliate on

June 1. She will be followed by president-elect Dr. Marilyn Bailey-Jefferson. Rachel Luckett received a $1,000 education scholarship. Dr. Beth Wilson and Rebecca Teague received certificates of recognition for their years of service to Harding University.

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