OGLESBY — Mary Beth Ponsetti, University of Illinois Extension community worker, for the Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam Extension Unit, was honored with a state award, “Individual Excellence in Outstanding Programming Award,” at the state Illinois Nutrition Education Program Training, “Connecting & Engaging for Greater Impact,” in Champaign on Sept. 27.
Jill Guynn, Extension county director, highlighted Ponsetti’s outstanding award attributes by saying “Mary Beth teaches quality educational programming and provides hands-on, skill building education for both youth and adult audiences. She coordinates with community partners to ensure that programming is delivered in many settings including eligible schools, early childhood programs, food pantries, health departments, and park districts. Mary Beth also teamed with 4-H to deliver Extension’s summer Junior Chefs Cooking Schools, teaching youth, ages 8-12, basic cooking skills and recipes focusing on healthy options for easy snacks and meals. Mary Beth provides leadership in Unit team strategic planning and in outreach efforts to ensure that educational goals are met and targeted programs are extended to benefit local families and youth. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated, caring and talented individual delivering these key programs.”
University of Illinois Extension provides vast educational resources and services for local residents. Extension provides the Illinois Nutrition Education Program which focuses on nutrition education for individuals on a limited budget. Programs are conducted locally including nutrition and cooking classes, interactive displays, and resources. Extension’s trained staff provide knowledge and teach the skills necessary to participants in order to help them make healthier meals, spend their food budgets effectively, and make healthy living a natural part of their day. Extension staff work with community partners including schools, not-for-profit agencies and organizations, park districts, early childhood centers, and more, to provide evidence-based, learner-centered education and skill building.