District 13 Family and Consumer Sciences Programs

Posted: June 23, 2014

Family and Consumer Science Program Team provides information about healthy lifestyles to residents of District 13.

Healthy Lifestyles


StrongWomen is a safe, simple, and highly effective weight bearing physical activity program that includes food and nutrition education. Each class meets 24 times, plus an orientation meeting for new members and a physical assessment to measure program effectiveness. Site leaders are required to complete certification training from Tufts University, the home of the StrongWomen program, developed by Dr. Miriam Nelson.

The first ever StrongWomen classes in Juniata and Mifflin Counties were started in March 2014, with the educator serving as site leader. Start up costs and advertising are supported by a USDA grant to expand the program into rural communities. In Juniata County the classes were hosted by Messiah Lutheran Church with five enrollees, and Mifflin County’s class was held at the Lewistown Center with 11 enrollees.

Another series of 12 weeks will begin at the end of June 2014, with two sessions at the Lewistown Center; noon and late afternoon.

The Next step is to recruit site leaders so the program can grow and expand.

The educator has been invited to present a professional paper describing the program impacts at the annual meeting for the National Council on Family Relations in Baltimore, MD, in November.

Dining with Diabetes

Weekly classes offer food demonstrations and tastings, physical activity, ideas to take home, and discussions regarding important information to help program participants manage diabetes.

A class was started on April 1st at the Walker Grange in Mexico, PA, with eight participants. Joan Yoder assisted with the food preparation. The final follow-up class will be held on July 1. Initial impacts show that family members who met “pre-diabetic” levels had the largest behavior changes as a result of attending the classes.

Food Safety


ServSafe is a food safety training program with certification for food service professionals. The program includes two sessions, with a total of nine hours of formal instruction provided by the extension educator who is certified in food safety education. A certification exam is administered after the second session, adhering strictly to the guidelines determined by the National Restaurant Association. Pennsylvania law requires all eating establishments to have at least one individual certified in food safety accessible during business hours.

Thirty food service employees have completed the course and have taken the certification exam thus far in 2014. Re-testing is available for those who fail the exam.

Alternatively, TAP Series is a food safety certification eLearning program where participants complete the educational component on-line, and are proctored by the extension educator while they take the ServSafe certification exam. The exam is scheduled monthly at the Lewistown Center. Two food service employees have completed the course and passed their certification exam.

Cooking for Crowds

"A Volunteer’s Guide to Safe Food Handling" is a three hour workshop geared to volunteers preparing food for events such as church fund raisers, fire company barbecues, booster club food sales and the many other types of events were food is served to the public. Participants learn up-to-date methods for safely handling and preparing food for large groups, and can receive a certificate of completion after attending the program.

So far, 14 volunteers have completed the course held in Lewistown and Mifflintown.

ServSafe is a registered trademark of The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation NON-PROFIT CORPORATION ILLINOIS.