University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources

UCCE Client Stories - Health and Nutrition

"Power Play" teaches activity, good nutrition to thousands in Alameda County

Proper nutrition is critical to children’s health, but nutrition education is not a part of California’s standard school curriculum. To teach kids how to stay healthy, UCCE Alameda County nutrition advisor Lucrecia Farfan-Ramirez has been working with educators to teach 9- to 11-year-olds about the benefits of nutrition and physical activity using the Power Play campaign. Power Play encourages kids to eat 3 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables and participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. So far, the campaign’s message has reached 31 Alameda County schools, 23,136 children, and 2,220 parents.

EFNEP lessons benefit Head Start families; staff, too!

Lake Elsinore Head Start provides early childhood services for low-income families. With a childhood obesity rate of 38.2% in the area, Head Start workers recognized a clear need for nutrition education. They reached out to the local UCCE Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). UCCE nutrition educator Myriam Acevedo partnered with the group to teach an 8-week course for parents on how to eat healthier and encourage family members to keep active. Participants learn how to choose healthy foods, prepare low-cost meals, and stretch their food budget. According to the parent coordinator at Head Start, “the mommies loved it, and I learned a lot just listening from my office!”

EFNEP teaches stability for food, nutrition as mom strives to rebuild her family, life

Wendy*, a mother of three, is currently in a recovery program and struggling to make ends meet and feed her family. UCCE Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) works in partnership with the recovery program and sent a coordinator to teach an 8-week class on how to eat healthier and stay active. Wendy was one of the 50 participants in her session. By the end of the class, she had started using a shopping list, planning meals, buying healthier food, and providing fruit and vegetable snacks in place of junk food. In doing so, Wendy is teaching her children healthier habits and teaching herself to economize. Now she has money left over at the end of each month instead of the other way around.

Fruit trees in Woodland parks yield free, healthy food, thanks to grant-funded 4-H project

Food insecurity is a big concern for many residents of Woodland, California. The harmful effects of hunger trickle down into everything else—physical and mental health, education, child development, and more. Knowing that the local government had made a priority of identifying ways to address the hunger problem, the young members of a local 4-H Club decided to take action. With guidance from Marcel Horowitz, their UC Cooperative Extension 4-H advisor, the youth applied for and were awarded a “Revolution of Responsibility” grant from California 4-H. The grant funds enabled them to purchase fruit trees that they planted at local parks and community gardens, ensuring continuing, free public access to the nutritious food they produce. This was the first time fruit trees had been planted in the area’s public parks.

Head Start teacher takes UCCE finance and savings lessons to heart

Sharon, a family service worker with the Head Start program in Ridgecrest, has been trained to teach UCCE’s “Making Every Dollar Count” curriculum to her client families. Recognizing the good sense found in the lessons she was teaching, she applied those same ideas to her own financial life and was able to build up $2,000 in a savings account. Later, a fire broke out at the center where she worked and she found herself out of work for two months while the center was being repaired. Sharon credits her UCCE financial literacy training with saving her family from financial hardship during that time.

Spanish translator for EFNEP session can't resist the good-sense message

Svetlana* works at a Preschool Readiness Program. When the local UCCE Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) nutrition educator began giving classes at the preschool, Svetlana translated the presentations for Spanish-speaking parents. She was surprised, though, at how much she got out of the class herself! She was so impressed that when the teacher of her early child development nutrition class at the community college asked everyone to tell about an organization at the Health Fair, she chose UCCE. “This program encompasses so much more than nutrition, physical activity, and cooking. It was able to address the family’s needs as well as help support our site’s guidelines. I am sure there will be many requests for more EFNEP classes at the different sites throughout Sacramento.”

Staying Healthy for Seniors: More than just a good idea

Fred*, a senior citizen in Alameda County, is concerned about his health. That’s why he chose to join the Staying Healthy for Seniors program, a partnership between the Alameda County Social Services Agency and UC Cooperative Extension. Through the program, UCCE advisor Mary Blackburn provides nutrition education at six low-income senior housing facilities throughout the county. Farmers markets provide fresh produce at each class site. “Staying Healthy for Seniors has motivated me to eat healthy, use small plates, drink more water, eat more vegetables and fruits, use portion control, and exercise,” says Fred.

UCCE advice helps single mom and son make better food choices

Shelly is a single mother studying to become a medical assistant. When she first met with her UCCE nutrition advisor, Shelly was in the habit of having an energy drink every day at lunch and her son had just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. With the help of the nutrition advisor, both Shelly and her son are learning to read nutrition labels more carefully and have found affordable, healthy lunchtime alternatives that help keep their energy level high all day long.

Here's to another 100 years of science and service!

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