Helping Hands

Posted: February 13, 2020

Volunteers gather to prepare for Ag in the Classroom.

Brooklyn Botterman with Genoa-Kingston FFA shows the corn and soybean seeds planted during the AITC training night.

Presenting over 100 Ag in the Classroom (AITC) lessons takes a lot of preparation, time, and helping hands.

Every February, DeKalb County 1st-4th grade students can experience agriculture-themed presentations given by local farmers and agribusiness professionals. But before the lessons come to life within the classroom, hundreds of materials must be organized and dozens of volunteers trained.

Ag Literacy Committee has their hands full.

The Ag Literacy Committee gathers in January for an evening of AITC material preparation. They count cups, measure sugar, collate papers and so much more. Doing this work ahead of time ensures that busy classroom volunteers can focus more on the lessons and less on gathering resources. This year, committee members spent several hours organizing supplies.

Volunteers try their hand at presenting.

Ag Literacy Committee members (clockwise from left) Jolene Ward, Eric Lawler, Dean Johnson, and Joe Bybee give a hand to prepare supplies during a meeting in January.

Practice makes perfect. Training is a key component in equipping volunteers to deliver their presentations. In January, volunteers attend an annual training event for AITC presenters. The workshop covers all four grade level lessons including some of the trickier hands-on features like dissecting corn kernels and making ice cream. Over 25 volunteers from a variety of backgrounds including FFA students, farmers, and crop specialists gathered for the training event this year.

After the Ag Literacy Committee prepares supplies and the volunteers are trained, presentations are ready. With the help of these generous volunteers, Ag in the Classroom presentations are in good hands.