OGLESBY - Mary Beth Ponsetti, University of Illinois Extension Community Worker for the Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam Extension Unit, was recently honored with a state award. The “Individual Excellence in Outstanding Programming Award” was presented to Ponsetti at the State Illinois Nutrition Education Program Training, “Connecting & Engaging for Greater Impact” in Champaign on Sept. 27.
Extension County Director, Jill Guynn, highlighted Ponsetti’s outstanding award attributes. “Mary Beth teaches quality educational programming and provides hands-on, skill building education for both youth and adult audiences,” she said. “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.”
In addition, Guynn noted that Ponsetti 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,” she said.
University of Illinois Extension provides vast educational resources and services for local residents. This includes 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.