Cent$ible Nutrition Program Educators, Partner Honored for Improving Healthy Food Choices Across Wyoming

At the annual UW Extension conference earlier this month, Wyoming’s Cent$ible Nutrition Program recognized staff that provide exceptional programming to their communities.

“We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of CNP Educators statewide,” says Mindy Meuli, CNP director. “Recognizing those that go above and beyond each year is especially rewarding, due to their commitment and dedication to Wyoming’s families.”

CNP provides nutrition programming to Wyomingites with limited resources and works with local and state partners to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Every year, CNP recognizes a community partner and staff members who exceed their duties to fulfill CNP’s mission.



Terry recognized for contributions to childhood health programming

A woman with long straight black hair that curls at the ends. She has a round face, a nose ring, and somewhat olive skin. She is wearing a black t-shirt.
Cristina Terry

CNP educator Cristina Terry, located in Natrona County, received the CNP Newer Educator of the Year Award. Terry joined CNP in 2022 and instantly began leading partnerships with childcare centers in her area, in addition to delivering strong nutrition education programming. “She has a natural ability to teach and has great rapport with her participants and partners,” says Meuli.

Terry worked with 13 different childcare centers to provide mini-grants with the aim of improving access to nutritious food and physical activity. In addition, Terry served on the CNP committee that spent the last year developing a technical assistance guide for partnering with childcare centers.

Meuli adds, “Cristina has provided valuable insights on training, and helped to develop best practices for working with childcare centers and mini-grant applicants.”



Evans awarded Educator of the Year

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Mary Evans

Platte County CNP educator Mary Evans was named this year’s Educator of the Year in recognition of her excellent programming, outreach, and dedication.

Evans joined CNP in 2016 and has consistently provided strong programming for her counties. This year, all community members who took a class with Evans improved on at least one nutrition practice. Meuli reports that on average, they increased their vegetable intake almost a full cup.

“She is a willing contributor to committee work and piloting new projects,” says Meuli. “Mary is always willing to step up and has been an incredible mentor to newer educators while maintaining her programming.”

Evans also worked with the UW Extension Community Vitality and Health team to provide a wider reach in nutrition education programming. In addition, she has worked with the local high school to establish a food pantry and taught 183 youth, the highest number of youth reached by one educator in the state.



Park County educator cultivates new community partnerships

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Debbie Kelly

Debbie Kelly is this year’s winner of the Community Impact Award. This award goes to a CNP educator that has had a significant impact on their community through outreach.

This summer, Wyoming’s first lady, Jennie Gordon, selected Kelly to be the Wyoming Hunger Initiative Regional Director for the northwest part of the state. In partnership with the Wyoming Hunger Initiative, Kelly has been part of the Park County Grow a Little Extra efforts and has been instrumental in Food From the Field efforts. Over the last several years, she has enriched her local programming by working with the Powell Research and Extension Center on gardening projects, including a hoop house and bean donations.

In addition to her efforts to improve food security in Park County, Kelly has connected with local head start centers and her local library to increase youth physical activity through sidewalk stencils. The stencils encourage active play through games such as hopscotch.
“Debbie is a community player and cultivates positive relationships with her partners and community,” says Meuli.



Person receives CNP’s highest honor

A woman with long straight blonde hair. She looks young and has pale skin. She is wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt.
Jill Person

Laramie County CNP educator Jill Person, recipient of the Linda Melcher award, exemplifies excellence and dedication.  Meuli says, “The Linda Melcher award is given to a CNP educator that provides consistent programming and shows a commitment and compassion toward the audience we serve.”

Since 2009, Person has led many CNP committees. She is the chair of the CNP committee that spent the last year developing a technical assistance guide for partnering with childcare centers.

“Jill’s attention to detail and get it done attitude make her a leader in our program,” says Meuli.

Additionally, Person’s direct programming consistently garners high participation. Ninety-four adults and forty-seven youth graduated from classes she taught this year. On average, adult participants saved $149 a month on groceries, the highest savings achieved by any educator in the state.



Wyoming Hunger Initiative improves food access

This year, the Collective Impact award went to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative (WHI). This award recognizes a Cent$ible Nutrition Program community partner that goes above and beyond to address food security in Wyoming.

“The Wyoming Hunger Initiative has helped raise awareness about food insecurity in Wyoming,” says Meuli. “They have been an incredible partner for leveraging resources and building on the successes already happening around the state.”

Together with CNP, the WHI increased healthy food and fresh produce availability in food pantries; educated consumers about food preparation, storage, and safety; and disseminated information about using produce and wild game.

“We would like to thank the Wyoming’s First Lady, Jennie Gordon, her chief of staff Trista Ostrom, along with the Wyoming Hunger Initiative for their partnership to make a significant collective impact in addressing food access in Wyoming,” says Meuli.

To learn more about CNP, visit uwyocnp.org.

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