One of the state’s largest volunteer organizations will celebrate more than a century of achievements with a gubernatorial proclamation of May as Extension Homemakers Month.


The proclamation ceremony is set for 10:30 a.m. May 6 at the state Capitol.


“We’re pleased that Gov. Hutchinson is helping us recognize May as EHC month,” said Karen Bell Fox, state president of the organization. “We appreciate his support, not only this month, but also the rest of the year. Our members, men and women, work year-round for the betterment of all Arkansans. Being recognized by our state leadership is a great honor.”


The Arkansas Extension Homemakers began in 1912 as Home Demonstration Clubs. The clubs, organized by the Cooperative Extension Service, were essential for disseminating critical information for managing family resources and food safety at a time when many rural households were isolated by distance, and without modern tools such as electricity, phone service or access to libraries or other sources of life-saving knowledge.


Today, EHC puts a spotlight on community leadership development. It creates opportunities for members to develop leadership skills that increase self-confidence, improve communication, and enable individuals to become more active in community engagement.


Nationally, AEHC is affiliated with the National Volunteer Outreach Network and AEHC will be hosting the national network meeting this year. AEHC also is part of the national Country Women’s Council, USA, and internationally, AEHC is part of the Associated Country Women of the World.


“Arkansas Extension Homemakers has been around for 107 years, and for the organization’s whole history, has quietly worked to improve the lives of all Arkansans today as it has for more than a century,” said Laura Hendrix, associate professor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “The thousands of members of this organization put in hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work every year. We are proud of the contributions they make to their communities and the state as a whole.”


During fiscal 2018-2019, the most recent period for which statistics are available, Arkansas Extension Homemakers reported giving 707,960 hours of volunteer service.


Those at the Capitol will be representing the more than 3,775 members of the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council from 324 clubs.


Since its start in 1912, the Extension Homemakers/Home Demonstration program has been ongoing in Arkansas, providing its members with education and leadership development and service to the communities in which the clubs are located. Through the years, the program has helped victims of the great Mississippi River Flood of 1927, promoted vaccination programs and provided tools to help young children communicate what ails them to health professionals.


The annual meeting of the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council will be held June 4 - 6 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. A variety of educational and heirloom crafts seminars will be presented, along with awards for outstanding local projects and scholarships. County council presidents and milestone members of 50 years and more will be recognized. A memorial service will be held for deceased members.


The Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council is a volunteer organization associated with the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.


To learn more about Extension Homemakers, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit https://www.uaex.edu/ehc.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.


— Mary Hightower is director of Communication Services at the U of A System Division of Agriculture.