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Published November 21, 2016
Educators with the University of Wyoming Extension’s Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) have been recognized for their efforts to help those who income-qualify eat better for less and to assist the communities in which they live.
Instructors serving Albany, Big Horn, Converse, Natrona, Niobrara and Platte counties received honors during UW Extension’s recent professional development conference in Laramie. CNP is a free cooking and nutrition education program.
Sandra Biller, of Albany County, received the Educator of the Year Award. Those in her CNP classes have saved an average of $66 a month spent on food, says Mindy Meuli, CNP director.
“She is always willing to help out with whatever is asked of her,” Meuli says. “She has helped mentor students, piloted the food pantry assessment, served as chair of the recruiting and marketing committee, and helped with updating the Marty Moose curriculum.”
Marty Moose is the program’s curriculum for children.
Biller is involved in several community groups helping make the community healthier, established an agreement with Feeding Laramie Valley and is active in farmers markets, Meuli says.
Krista Brown, of Casper, was recognized for her efforts to strengthen the program. She received the Linda Melcher Award, named in honor of the person who started the CNP program in Wyoming. She serves Converse, Natrona and Niobrara counties.
“Krista is a real asset to CNP,” Meuli says. “She has helped with training new educators, is a positive leader in the program, is a problem solver and helps guide programming.”
Brown served on multiple committees this past year and divides her time between the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Educator Program.
Brown’s insights and suggestions are sought-after.
“She is often the go-to person before we implement a new idea,” Meuli says.
Kristy Michaels, in Big Horn County, received the Community Impact Award recognizing efforts to make communities healthier, particularly for the low-income audience the program serves.
“Kristy embraced the concept of making environmental changes to help people adopt healthier behaviors,” Meuli says. “She was able to partner with multiple community agencies to make a difference in her county.”
A community garden was established through a community coalition of several agencies working to promote physical activity, prevent youth obesity and improve the overall health of community members.
Meuli says coalition members had working meetings during which they tended the garden. Garden produce was used in commodity distribution and given to the Salvation Army and the local nursing home, providing low-income families and the elderly access to fresh produce.
Mary Evans, of Platte County, was presented the New Educator of the Year Award. Meuli says Evans went above and beyond in her first year as a CNP educator.
“Mary graduated 139 adults and tapped into a new audience in her county by offering lessons to Spanish-speaking participants,” she says.
Those in her classes demonstrated a 92 percent positive change in all food groups and decreased intake of solid fats and added sugars by 184 calories per person, Meuli says.
More about CNP is at www.uwyo.edu/cnp.