Family members inspired Jo Ann Carr to get involved with EHC

Editor’s Note: In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, this is the first in a series of stories profiling members from Southeast Arkansas and their contributions to the organization.

When Jo Ann Carr became a charter member of the White Hall Willing Workers Extension Homemakers Club 22 years ago, she was following the example set for her by her mother and grandmother.

Carr’s mother and grandmother were members of the Morrow Freda Home Demonstration Club when she was growing up.

“The club would meet at our home for meetings and to quilt and sew on community service projects. My sister and sister-in-law were also members of that club in later years. Just by knowing members of my family had been involved in the organization helped me to decide to become involved. I wanted to learn new things and become more involved in community projects,” Carr said.

She recalled that in 1989, Jeri Vangilder, who at the time was the home economics leader (now family and consumer sciences agent) with the Jefferson County Extension Service, was trying to get an Extension Homemakers Club started in the White Hall area for women who worked and could only attend meetings in the evening.

Carr not only took a leadership role in her club, becoming its first president, but also has served as president of the Jefferson County Extension Homemakers Council, secretary, scrapbook and Holiday Foods chairman. She is serving her second year as chairman of Curtain Call for the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, a volunteer organization associated with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Curtain Call is a bound collection of instructions for craft projects, and this year features 100 in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Extension Homemakers/Home Demonstration work in Arkansas. These will sold and some of the crafts will be demonstrated at the state meeting, which is June 5 through 7 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. On the evening of June 6, a Gala, including a reception and dinner, is planned. The program will feature representatives of some of the activities and organizations with which the group has been associated during the past 100 years.

Carr’s sister, Patsy Pettit, is president of the Lonoke County Extension Homemakers Council and she has two cousins that are members in Logan County.

“Through Extension, I have made so many new friends over the state and learned so much from the education and leadership program,” Carr said. “I enjoy the fellowship with the members of my club and also the members of the county at our various workshops, meetings, fellowship trips and council meetings. I enjoy working with the state officers at the district rally and also at state meetings.”

Last year, as county education chairman, Carr was in charge of a very successful Fair Judging Workshop held in July with several counties represented. Extension agents and personnel from all over the state were instructors and presenters. “We served a meal and refreshments throughout the day and had lots of compliments and felt it was a very successful workshop,” she said.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary, White Hall Willing Workers members are making 100 caps for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital at Little Rock. They have made 100 plastic canvas cross necklaces for local nursing homes and are collecting Pennies for Friendship, a state project, and hope to have $100 by the time of the state meeting. Members also participated in the parliamentary procedure seminar, which was the county Council’s gift to the community.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.