Writer: Justin Bannister, (575) 646-5981, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) has recognized Bertha Silva, a nutrition educator for the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, for her work in Dona Ana County to help those in need. Silva received the highest score out of 72 applicants across the nation.
"I like to be the spark that starts a lifestyle change," Silva said. "We work with low-income families and teach them how to use their limited resources more wisely and connect them with people who can provide additional resources."
In New Mexico, the EFNEP program is known as ICAN, Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition. Silva was recognized during the EFNEP 40th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.
According to the USDA and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, obesity, poor nutrition and limited physical activity are significant health concerns. Poor health disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations.
As part of ICAN, Silva and others in the Dona Ana County Extension Office travel throughout the county, meeting those most in need and teaching them how to live healthier lives. Recently, Silva's group gave pedometers to children in Berino, N.M., to measure how many steps they took during a walk-a-thon. She also brought an agronomy and horticulture agent into a preschool class, teaching the students how to grow sprouts and use them to make sandwiches for the students and their families.
Silva is currently studying family and consumer sciences at NMSU and has worked for the Dona Ana County Extension Office for the last five years.
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