Established on April 24, 1945, Jasper County HCE (formerly called Home Bureau, Home Extension, & Homemaker's Extension Association) is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which supports the Clay/Effingham/Fayette/Jasper—University of Illinois Extension Unit.

From 1939 until April 1945, women from Jasper County originally were members of the Effingham County Home Bureau; however, as more women became interested in joining, Jasper County made plans to form their own organization.

Our first Executive Board Members (1945) were Vera Hetzer, Dorothy May, Rose Apple, Nita Heady, Lela Ochs, Bernie Zuber, & Lucy Trimble. In the early years, our HCE Board Members met in the Jasper County Farm Bureau on the square in downtown Newton, Illinois, and later at the newly-built Farm Bureau west of Newton on South Hutton Drive.

These ladies worked very hard to pave the way for us all through the years to provide educational lessons and programs, service projects, and social activities to enhance the lives of members and all in the community. In 1945, almost every woman in Jasper County was encouraged and invited to become a member of HCE. Most likely, your mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother was a member!

Today, our Jasper County HCE Board meets monthly in the Sunrise Community Center in Newton. We continue to carry on the spirit of “Home & Community Education” in our county that began many years ago. We focus on the home as well as community outreach, volunteerism, cultural arts, international awareness, and continuing education. The HCE Board for 2019-2020 consists of Martha Allison, Marlene Harris, Kathy Yager, Donna Richards, Amy Tarr, & Judy Millsap.

We extend an invitation to all (women and men) to join HCE. Members are welcome anytime throughout the year. There are 3 groups that meet each month in Jasper County. Two groups meet in the morning—one on the 1st Monday of each month at the Villas of Holly Brook in Newton, IL, and the other on the 1st Thursday of each month at the Senior Citizen Center in Newton, IL— and the third group meets in the evening on the 1st Tuesday of each month in member's homes.

Also, you have the option to be a “Mail Box Member” and receive your newsletters and lessons through the mail or email, allowing you to attend activities as your time allows—no regular or monthly meetings to attend.

The lessons to be covered in 2019-2020 are “Make & Take” Freezer Meals, Cast Iron Cooking, “Tune Up for the New Year—Heart Disease & Thyroid Disease,” All About India, Landscaping Basics, Cooking for One or Two, Mason Jars: Decorating Through the Year, & Gateway to Digestive Health.

In addition, the public is invited to three, “HCE Plus” events during the year (November, February, & May). On Thursday, November 14, 2019, at 6:30 P.M., Dr. Scott Bloomberg will be presenting a program on “Tune Up For the New Year—Heart Disease & Thyroid Disease.” Heart-healthy refreshments will be served. The HCE Plus events are an extension of the monthly lesson available to anyone interested. Everyone receives a lesson, knowledge learned from an expert in the field of study, refreshments, and a chance to win a free HCE membership for the year! Free will donations are accepted at each event.

We not only have fun socializing, sharing information, and learning each month, but we have fun with our Service Projects throughout the year. BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS is our reading/gift project during HCE Week, October 14—18, 2019, for all kindergarten students in Jasper County, and TOYS FOR KIDS is our Christmas gift project in December for children (newborn—age 13) who qualify. In addition, a $500 Scholarship is awarded in April to a member's child/grandchild graduating from NCHS.

Membership dues are $15.00 per year. HCE members are part of the largest volunteer education organization in the world. Members automatically belong to its affiliates: Illinois Association for Home and Community Education, National Volunteer Outreach Network, Inc., Country Women's Council USA, and Associated Country Women of the World. Together, these organizations help members find a better way to a better life through education!

Contact any HCE Board member to join, or call Sarah Clayton at the U of I Extension Office, Sunrise Community Center in Newton, 618-783-2521.