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Extension > Family Matters > For Community Action, a Community Approach

Friday, May 1, 2015

For Community Action, a Community Approach

By Bonnie Christiansen, Regional Coordinator — Health & Nutrition, and Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

“Imagine living in a poverty-free community,” the Western Community Action (WCA) website invites visitors. “Imagine living in a place where no child grows up poor or hungry or living in unsafe conditions.”

WCA works to make this a reality in the southwest region of Minnesota, and we are proud to be one of their partners.

WCA has supported multiple classes over their six-year partnership with Health and Nutrition. Whenever a SNAP-Ed educator approaches WCA staff with a new education opportunity, they are fully supportive. They have supported three I CAN Prevent Diabetes classes (Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes®) and our first Cooking Matters® Minnesota class in the southwest region. They not only provide space, food, and volunteer help, but also actively recruit participants for us.

SNAP-Ed Educator Darlyce Rangaard (second from left)
leads a multi-generational community cooking class at Western Community Action.

Because of the I CAN Prevent Diabetes classes SNAP-Ed Educator Darlyce Rangaard has held at WCA, the staff as a community has committed to a more healthy workplace. They formed a wellness committee and asked for guidance from Darlyce. They changed the snacks available in their breakroom to fresh fruits and vegetables. Staff are even walking in the halls of the building during breaks!

Community members also benefit from the I CAN Prevent Diabetes classes. Darlyce tells the story of a senior who came to help herself and her grown son. After losing his job, her son moved back home, became depressed, and gained a lot weight. Since coming to Darlyce’s classes, she has lost many pounds and improved her health conditions. Furthermore, her son has lost 40 pounds and has a job interview! The classes and Darlyce’s lifestyle coaching changed both of their lives.

And more collaborative work is to come. SNAP-Ed educators are partnering with both WCA and the Salvation Army to hold a series of classes around slow-cookers this summer in Marshall and Tracy, Minnesota. The Salvation Army provided the slow-cookers that will be presented at the final class.

For more about WCA, visit their website at www.wcainc.org. For more about our collaborative approach, read: SNAP-Ed: Our Expanded Focus.

You could be part of our signature programs! Learn more by visiting the Partner With Us page or contact a regional staff member today: Where to Find Us.

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