It’s not unknown that the times we currently are unprecedented, uncertain, and in no way easy. However, the Clemson Extension Services in Spartanburg County certainly has not stopped serving our Community.
As we continued to get used to what we know as “the new normal,” we could see people being less anxious, the businesses opened their doors, and the economy started improving. Our county offices are open to the public, and we, the EFNEP Nutrition Educators, finally got the approval to start in-person sessions (classes).
As the Nutrition Educator for Spartanburg County, I have gained more confidence in virtually delivering our programming. Online teaching allows me to reach out to more learners. I make my schedule and myself very flexible to offer them the opportunity to fit our classes into their busy schedule, delivering lessons often after regular work hours not to feel the need to drop out.
Although in-person classes are now permitted, we also offer our learners a choice to learn online. I can assure you that we never let our guard down and continued our practices of wearing a face covering, social distancing, washing hands, continually encouraging our clientele to do the same. At the same time, we were promoting the COVID-19 vaccine among current and former learners through Facebook EFNEP Group.
In Spartanburg County, several learners completed and graduated from their Eating Smart ~ Being Active classes throughout this year. Another group, large also, is about to graduate.
It is always rewarding seeing them acquiring knowledge, making better choices; like one of the learners said, “no matter how much you think you know, with the ESBA lessons, you can always learn something new.” It is gratifying hearing their “wows” when learning things that we may take for granted, like reading Nutrition Facts Labels or the amount of fat and sugar present in the foods they eat and amazed by how simple it can be to “Make a Change.”
Although recruiting youth learners during the pandemic was and continues to represent a challenge, knowing that parents and guardians are betting for a healthier lifestyle is somehow a relief because adults oversee grocery shopping and meals preparation. In other words, while the adults are learning, they’re passing on that knowledge to their children, which means the benefit is for the whole family.
Now, with the raising of the COVID cases, a good percentage of Spartanburg County residents hesitates to get vaccinated for COVID-19; Clemson EFNEP in
Spartanburg County is assisting with the Extension COVID Immunization Training and Education (EXCITE) grant. The purpose is to hear the barriers our Hispanic Community finds, the reason not to get vaccinated. Acquiring this information firsthand, directly from them, will help the USDA better understand these challenges and join the fully vaccinated population.
With the arrival of the 2021-2022 school year, EFNEP Nutrition Educator in Spartanburg Co keeps getting back into the school districts to reach the youth. The purpose is to teach our children what is better for them when selecting foods. Choosing nutrient-dense foods instead of empty calories is always a challenge, but we know that “what is learned well is never forgotten”.
We continue not just dreaming but working hard to see the number of COVID-19 cases decrease and wish for a safe world; let’s believe it will be a reality shortly.
I can say I am appreciative of my job’s opportunity to help others by delivering vital information towards a healthier lifestyle.
Finally, I would like to share a quote I find very inspiring. “We don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges.” This past year has undoubtedly made us face challenges, therefore, helped me grow as a person and an educator.
EFNEP Multicultural Nutrition Educator
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