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Retired teachers, Farm to You program volunteers, earn award

Retired educators who are also volunteers in Stephens County got some state-level recognition recently.

The Stephens County Chapter of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association won the OREA's top community service project award for the chapter's ongoing support of the Farm to You program.

Farm to You, created nearly a decade ago by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, is a popular road show that visits schools across Oklahoma. State Coordinator Brandon Miller said it's meant to help youngsters make important connections between farming and what they eat and how agriculture is important to their bodies and health.

Miller said Farm to You is provided free to schools, but it relies on local volunteers to help everything run smoothly.

Daisy Lawler, past president of the Stephens County Retired Educators, said a number of retired teachers have volunteered over the years to take part in the program. Last year, they manned learning stations during Farm to You visits set up by school counselor Judy Latimer at Plato and Horace Mann elementary schools in Duncan.They also helped to set exhibits up and to guide kids in their learning.

"We've volunteered in almost every school in Duncan, Comanche and Empire," Lawler said. "We have a group that's pretty good about volunteering. They enjoy reading to the kids and interacting with them, so I think they're always happy to help."

Farm to You features nine learning stations in a 1,600-square-foot enclosed walk-through exhibit. It's designed especially for children in kindergarten through the sixth grade. Miller said they learn how farms provide food for good health, how they can choose foods that will be the healthiest for them, how their bodies need and use healthy food, and how eating right can help them to stay physically active and have fun.

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