New agent takes over extension service

PARKERSBURG – Gwen Crum, former nutrition outreach instructor for Wood County, has assumed new duties as the families and health agent with the West Virginia University Extension Service.

Crum, who replaces Paula Strawder, started her new job on Aug. 22. She served in her former post for 7 1/2 years.

“I’m very excited, this is a unique opportunity to move into a new job while still working with some of the people I knew before through the nutrition outreach program,” Crum said.

Crum has a bachelor’s in psychology from Ohio Valley University and a master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication from West Virginia University. She previously worked in social services and with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“This is an opportunity to continue to work with those individuals in a different capacity and I’m moving from a part-time position to full-time. The overall goal is to improve the lives of all families in Wood County through healthier living,” she said.

Crum will be working with the Community Educational Outreach Service Clubs and the CEOS community service projects which include fundraising and education for breast cancer awareness, and women’s heart health as well as a number of local groups and charities. The clubs annually sponsor a fall Creative Camp which includes teaching and sharing heritage arts and new crafts.

She will also be working in collaboration with the 4-H program and extension agent Jodi Smith as well as agricultural agent J.J. Barrett in conjunction with the Master Gardener’s program.

Crum will be providing diabetes education, time/management skills training, conflict resolution, working with families on healthier eating habits, and working in conjunction with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department and its healthier living, eating-nutrition programs.

“CEOS has changed a lot over the years, it started out as Farm Women’s clubs then became the Homemaker’s Clubs mostly serving stay-at-home moms. Now most women are in the workforce and the mission and clubs have changed to meet the changing needs and lifestyles of the blended families we have now. They are changing their image to try and appeal to the new, younger generation, while still preserving the heritage crafts,” Crum said. “I’m looking forward to working with these women in the CEOS clubs and learning from them.”

Crum said she also hopes to offer some technology workshops to help individuals interested in facebook, texting, email and other computer-related activities.

A former member of the Parkersburg Choral Society, Crum is married and she and her husband, Wes, have a daughter, Anna. Crum said she loves music and she and her daughter are currently learning how to knit.

For information about the CEOS clubs, or Families and Health offered through WVU Extension, contact Crum at 304-424-1969. The local extension office is located in Suite 408, on the fourth floor of the Wood County Courthouse with office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The CEOS clubs will sponsor their annual Breast Cancer Survivors luncheon on Sept. 9 at the Emmanual Baptist Church, at noon. Contact Crum for more information on that event.