Tri River Area CSU Extension - To provide information, education and to encourage the application of research-based knowledge to the communities of Delta, Mesa, Montrose, and Ouray Counties.

Dec 10th ~ Why Home Economics?

Soap Box Time!

One of the things I think that we’ve lost in public education is the Home Economics training that so many young people need to function properly as adults. When I was in school, we were taught how to cook and clean, how to mend things rather than toss them away, and how to balance a check book. Today in our ‘test score %’ society, it’s hard to find that old fashion education in any of the curriculum books. And I find that really disturbing since it’s many of these basic skills that we depend upon daily to function.

However, thankfully I’m not the only one this concerns. Many educators still offer such classes and learning opportunities for youth to gain these skills.

One such group is located in Delta, Colorado. Two Tuesday afternoons a month, a group of middle and high school girls get together with their 3 head instructors for what they call Life Skills training. From the creation of their squad, they have covered a plethora of topics including meal planning, budgets, couponing, health and beauty, cooking, cottage foods business planning, family care, resume building, knitting, and much much more!

The other fascinating thing about this group is that it is primarily made up of Karen-Burmese American young ladies, with some “just” Americans mixed in.

Practicing their Knitting Skills!

The Karen are a people group from the country formally known as Burma. Because of their Christian faith, the government has been persecuting them and moving families into refugee camps throughout the country and even into Thailand. Whole families have lost property, jobs, friends, freedom, and even some their lives, all because they stand by their faith.

Well in the early 2010’s, compassionate countries started taking action to help the refugees find new homes and new lives. Many of these people were brought to our country and placed in big cities like Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Denver. Great right? Well one problem, many of the displaced families were farmers/jungle people. Now they faced the challenges of a new country, limited english skills, no higher education/career pursuits, and, well, just being foreigners.

Enter Delta, Colorado…and many other little agricultural communities like it across the nation. In 2012, Delta finished the construction of agricultural workers low income housing units – approximately 40 of them. A community group had already been formed largely by clergy, agricultural producers, and placement workers to help move and settle many Karen families out of Denver and into our town. They would begin working in Ag jobs like the orchards, Foster Farms, dairys, and others.

In 2013 the first Karen families arrived and settled in. Since then, over 50 families have moved into that community, many of the first settlers have now purchased homes/vehicles, passed ESL courses, and their children have even been 1st generation collegians!

Fathers Day

Soooooooooo, what does my long rant about the history of Karen people in Delta County have to do with Home Economics? EVERYTHING!

By attending Life Skills courses, all of these young ladies (Karen-American, and American) have learned many skills they can use for years to come. Are their instructors professional PH’d carrying specialists? Nope, just three caring adult women with the joint knowledge that comes from years of wisdom and experience willing to meet with and educate these ladies; our future!

Arts and Crafts

So is Home Economics lost merely because it’s not on the class selection drop down? Nay I say, it simply is finding other avenues by which it can be taught in a fun and educational way!

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