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Flying Horses and Kitchen Cupboards

By Teri L. Burgess-Champoux, Program Director — Health and Nutrition Special Projects

Extension work is like a merry-go-round: There are numerous projects of different shapes and sizes always in motion.

A rider of the Flying Horses Carousel carousel reaches for a brass ring.
Read Trish Olson's And the Award Goes to... for more about brass rings.
In my six months with Extension, I have gotten to know several of these projects, as well as those “riding the merry-go-round” with me.

Getting out of my office in Coffey Hall and out in the community visiting educators as they engage in their work has enabled me to meet Extension staff members and see firsthand how they use curricula to teach our diverse target audiences about healthy eating and physical activity. Thank you to Roger, Yoha, Tou, Karen, Alicia, and Cecilia for your willingness to let me observe your classes. Highlights of these visits include playing nutrition bingo with ELL participants and with school-aged children learning about the concept of “variety,” and answering questions about cardiovascular disease and diet and preparing spice blends for women at Transformation House. Each of these experiences reminded me of my early career working with clients in a variety of healthcare settings and fuels my passion for nutrition education.

The diversity of Health and Nutrition projects that I am fortunate to work on excites me as each project has unique challenges and opportunities for me to contribute in meaningful ways. Some of the key projects that I have been involved with include the ICANPD adaptation for Somali and Latino audiences, the Recipe Project, and Serious Game. The Serious Game project focused on the development of an educational game for high-school aged students that promotes behavior modification regarding energy balance-related behaviors. The first module targeted basic nutrition concepts and selecting food options for breakfast in different settings (e.g. home, school, fast food, convenience store). My experiences with Health and Nutrition projects to date have shown me the multiple ways in which Extension’s community-based nutrition education programming enhances the health and overall well-being of Minnesotans.

In my first Family Matters post, I described how my family had started a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a kitchen cupboard over the holidays. Just as my entire family pitched in and worked together to put the puzzle pieces into place, everyone at Extension has jumped aboard the merry-go-round. No one is alone in their work, and I look forward to becoming even better acquainted with more of my colleagues and Extension’s work.
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