We just got back in the office on Wednesday, and I managed to forget it was Friday and time for another Friday Feature! But better late than never! Today’s Friday Feature is Sondra Parmer, who works with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System
This is her story:
“I am the Program Manager for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University. This is an obesity prevention and nutrition education initiative designed to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP (formerly food stamps) will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles. I provide program oversight for 33 Extension educators, working in 57 counties providing direct education, and working with agencies, community leaders and members to implement policy, systems and environmental strategies that positively affect nutrition and the food environment for this population. In addition, SNAP-Ed has a large social marketing and social media campaign designed to influence people through marketing and educational messages. My role specifically is to ensure continuation of funding, program and evaluation design and accountability reporting.
There are so many reasons that I continue to love what I do, that isolating one experience is difficult. One area that I am particularly proud of is our large school-based program that reaches 6,000 3rd graders and their parents every year. The feedback we receive from this program is heartwarming. We hear examples of kids who have been bullied because of weight issues who are now eating healthy and feeling better about themselves; of parents who are so thankful for the program because they simply did not know how to feed their families in ways that help their kids be healthy. Being a part of these family’s experiences definitely keeps me motivated and excited about coming to work every day.
Because of our work in the nutrition education realm, I was asked to participate in ECHA.
The networking has been the key benefit for me. What I find so unique about ECHA is the diversity of people/positions participating in the group. I am involved with several statewide groups working to improve nutrition education in Alabama. I tend to see the same people at these meetings. At ECHA, I always meet someone new and that brings many different perspectives and decision makers to the table.”