Editor’s Note: In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, this is the second in a series of stories profiling members from Southeast Arkansas and their contributions to the organization.
An invitation from a friend brought Karen Bell Fox of the “Y” Community near Rison to the Extension Homemakers Program.
She stayed, she said, because “I enjoy doing projects and the fellowship Extension Homemakers provide. I feel I can give back to the community and also be an example to others.”
And since she joined, she has been actively involved on state, district and club levels. She is the immediate past Ouachita District director, responsible for assisting clubs and county councils in the 25 counties in the district. She now serves as the EIN (Employer Identification Number) chairman for the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, a volunteer organization associated with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Since the Internal Revenue Service started requiring all nonprofits to have EIN numbers and to file tax returns, Fox is charged with the job of assisting clubs and county councils with the intricacies of governmental red tape.
Her state leadership role has taken on new significance this year since the group is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Extension Homemakers/Home Demonstration work in Arkansas. The state meeting is June 5-7 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.
Fox has been involved with the Extension Homemakers program for the past 12 years and served as president of the Cleveland County Extension Homemakers Council and every other office except treasurer. She has twice served as president of the “Y” Extension Homemakers Club and in every other office except treasurer and presently serves as secretary and parliamentarian. She has been chairman of the county Council’s education and community projects committees.
Her earliest memories of Extension Homemakers are of going to community activities provided by the organization when her mother was a member in the 1950s and 1960s.
Her best present-day memories are of “the laughter.”
She said that she is especially proud of the role that Extension Homemakers played in the building of the new fire department building and community building and the annual annual Christmas tree lighting and visit by Santa Clause on the Cleveland County Courthouse square. The “Y” Club obtained donations to purchase a living tree and is responsible for the program each year.
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.