Family and Consumer Sciences programs improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities, and support economic self-sufficiency and family stability and emphasize appropriate and safe food and nutrition choices, encourage physical activity, and improve health literacy.

The family unit is the cornerstone of a healthy community. Virginia Cooperative Extension strives to improve the well-being of Virginia families through programs that help put research-based knowledge to work in people's lives. Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) educators help Virginians learn to make good choices for themselves and their families. This, in turn, strengthens their communities and the commonwealth.

A Vision for a Stronger Commonwealth

Our Extension agents teach Virginians how to improve their quality of life by giving them the skills to:

  • Prevent chronic disease with a healthy diet and physical activity
  • Identify quality childcare
  • Plan for home ownership
  • Make good parenting decisions
  • Handle food safely
  • Be a wise grocery shopper
  • Handle credit wisely
  • Plan for elder care needs
  • Manage finances successfully
  • Prepare for and cope with disasters
  • Manage home-based businesses

FCS programs reach tens of thousands of families across the commonwealth each year. We work with other state and local agencies for many of our programs, and through these partnerships we maximize the impact and quality of our resources.  Our staff and trained volunteers help build and strengthen these collaborations and extend our resources to more Virginians.

Developing Life Skills

We help Virginians develop wellness life skills in our three pillar program areas:

  • Food, nutrition, and health
  • Family financial management
  • Family and human development

Whether preventing chronic disease with a healthy diet, purchasing a family home, or identifying quality childcare, Virginians benefit from the comprehensive education in these three FCS areas.

Programs Offered

Related Links

Recipes

Nutritional Resources

Giving to FCS

You can make a difference by contributing to the Virginia FCS Foundation Fund.

4-H is the comprehensive youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Youth between the ages of 5 and 18 engage in hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of adult or teen 4-H volunteers trained by 4-H agents. 4-H programs use experiential learning opportunities to teach the latest research-based subject matter knowledge and to foster skill development in effective citizenship, leadership, and other life skills. The 10 areas of 4-H curriculum focus are: Animal Sciences; Communications and Expressive Arts; Environmental Education and Natural Resources; Jobs, Careers and Economics; Plant and Soil Sciences; Citizenship; Family and Consumer Sciences; Health, Nutrition and Wellness; Leadership and Personal Development; and Science and Technology.

Youth also participate in educational experiences at six 4-H educational centers. 4-H has both a school-based and a community-based delivery model, so maximum access to Virginia's youth is provided. The specific learning experiences a 4-H member participates in are shaped locally and supported at the state and national levels. 4-H members learn how to: make decisions, manage resources, work with others, and utilize effective communication skills. 4-H serves as an effective prevention educational program. Involvement in 4-H reduces the potential for dysfunctional involvement in the community by youth. The mission of 4-H is to develop youth and adults working with those youth to realize their full potential--becoming effective, contributing citizens through participation in research-based, informal, hands-on educational experiences.

Please send us your 4-H youth development questions using our Ask the Expert System. Thank you for your interest in Virginia 4-H and I look forward to hearing from you.

4-H Enrollment Forms

Engaging with Communities

Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists in community viability work with Extension agents, campus-based faculty, organizational partners, communities, and individuals to further opportunity and build capacity in five program areas:   

Examples of our work include training county elected officials, educating entrepreneurs, facilitating collaborative projects, supporting the growth of community food systems and local economies, enhancing agent skills and community capacity in facilitation and leadership, conducting problem-driven research, and creating publications and tools that address critical community needs.

Do you have a question about Community Viability?

Perhaps one of the Community Viability specialists below can help you. Contact a Community Viability specialist or direct a question to them using our Ask an Expertsystem. 

Community Viability Specialists