NORMAL, Ala. – On Wednesday, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University unveiled the opening of two mobile classrooms.
The labs are an extension of the university meant to reach more communities throughout the state. Their mission is to provide more educational programs that relate to health, nutrition and STEM education.
Each of the mobile units is called Explore with Extension, there’s a mobile nutrition lab that teaches health nutrition, exercise and food safety. As well as a mobile STEM lab that teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The process started as a vision back in 2019, ‘how could the university provide a greater impact across the communities they serve across the state and what would that look like?’.
Allen Malone, Extension Director says while the vision was there, getting the help to do so wasn’t easy, so they started searching throughout Alabama.
“To find a number of people who could custom fit units to provide the educational impacts that we needed,” Malone said.
The university wasn’t able to find many options, but Johnston RV out of Cullman said they would be willing to work with them on this project.
“Young people can sit and learn about various aspects of STEM, they can learn about various aspects of nutrition education and also do some exercises and some things that may help,” Malone told News 19.
Many communities throughout the state face various problems due to poor nutrition Malone says whether it’s obesity or a chronic disease like diabetes.
“We feel that this will be an impactful tool in our tool kit to help those communities fight the various things that are impacting their local communities,” Malone said.
The university’s goal is to work with schools, community centers and various organizations to help provide educational opportunities, now Malone says is to partner with more throughout the community.
Currently, there are 22 counties that the university outreaches to, they say they want to help all 67 in the state.
“Our hope is to reach approximately 8,000 to 10,000 people a year with these units to be able to provide a greater resource,” Malone said.
The full rollout of these mobile units will be in November 2021. If you would like more information on how to get them in your community or would like to partner up, click here.