National EFNEP Visits Bay Area
Since 1969, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has worked with paraprofessional educators to influence nutrition and physical activity behaviors of low-income families with young children. Under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), EFNEP currently operates through Land-Grant Universities in every state, the District of Columbia, and the six U.S. territories.
California EFNEP hosted National EFNEP Program Leader, Dr. Helen Chipman, and National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) Program Specialist, Alex Alford for a three-day site visit. Along with California EFNEP Program Coordinator, Katie Panarella, they were able to visit 5 Adult and Youth classes in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Sutter Counties.
Elizabeth Gong (EFNEP Supervisor), Jenny Lam (EFNEP Educator), Helen Chipman (National EFNEP Program Leader) Alex Alford (NIFA Program Specialist), Katie Panarella (California EFNEP Program Coordinator), and Wei-ting Chen (NFCS Advisor & Acting County Director) sample spa water from“Make A Change’” lesson.
In San Francisco, the site visit was at Kai Ming Head Start, Sunset. Adult Educator Jenny Lam facilitated the “Make A Change” class in Chinese, attended by 8 parents.
Our County EFNEP classes have been challenged in the past couple of years. The Adult Program is funded to partner in the community and in schools to deliver a series of 8-9 lessons. The difficulty of retaining a consistent group over 8-9 weeks, as well as the current political climate facing many California immigrants, have impacted our class size, as well as our enrollment and graduation numbers. National EFNEP welcomed our communication about these challenges and appreciated the visit to San Francisco and its contribution to help paint a picture of what EFNEP looks like across the state.
National and State EFNEP leaders congratulated us for having many hands-on activities and participant interaction. National EFNEP also provided general feedback, including continually working on reinforcing hands-on food preparation, seeking new audiences, and being more strategic in who we serve at the local level.
State EFNEP Program Coordinator Katie Panarella expressed gratitude and congratulations for a wonderful site visit and that “overall it was an incredibly positive visit.” She added, “I’m very proud of our entire EFNEP team (the 2ndlargest program in the country). Kudos to all of you!”