Live Well Alabama
Gianna Edmunds didn’t waste any time conducting the Learning About Nutrition through Activities (LANA) program at Central Elementary School in Coosa County this past year. As a SNAP-Ed educator for Coosa and Tallapoosa counties, Edmunds uses the LANA program to engage preschool children with activity-based, hands-on learning. Activities are designed to enable children to make healthier food choices and try new foods.
Edmunds was looking forward to teaching a series of LANA lessons, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the course to be cut short. Before schools closed in March, Edmunds was able to work with the young children to taste kiwi, sweet potato, sugar snap peas, and strawberries.
“I couldn’t believe just how open to trying the foods these kids were,” Edmunds said. “Even to this day, the parents are excited to say that their child loves kiwi now. Nearly all of the children went home and asked their parents to buy kiwis.”
Edmunds recruited parents to participate in new online LANA classes. Some parents who continued to participate in the LANA lessons online during the summer said that their children were excited to try new fruits and vegetables while learning about nutrition.
“My child enjoyed the LANA program at school and can still enjoy the foods and lessons from home,” said Tiffany McCain, the parent of one of Edmund’s preschoolers. “She loves trying new foods and listening to the stories. Lauren also said that she really likes Ms. G because she teaches her about healthy foods.”
Edmunds also conducts Body Quest programs to third graders at Central Elementary. Body Quest is an innovative childhood obesity prevention initiative that empowers third graders and their parents to make healthier choices.
Edmunds also saw the ability to spread SNAP-Ed education by creating a Facebook group for her two counties. She said it’s where she shares information from LiveWellAlabama.com, updates from area schools, and promotes healthy activities and resources throughout the county.
One of those events included the Coosa County Schools Success Day, an event created by the school system for parents to obtain school supplies. Also, the local U S Census team got involved to add a backpack drive. Edmunds joined the backpack drive by including educational resources in the backpacks, such as a powerband and a Live Well Alabama recipe card.
“On the day of the event, I provided Body Quest materials for bags for all third-grade students, and made various other resources available for the other grades,” Edmunds said. “I provided information for 80 Body Quest bags and 300 general information bags. The general bags included tips for healthy eating, a shopping list notepad to encourage planning ahead, and a recipe card.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Edmunds said educators have had to learn to use relationships and resources from all aspects of their job to make an impact.
“Every part of what we do assists in the impact we’ve made during this time,” she said. “We’ve gained relationships and partnerships with those in our counties through the education we provide, and our consistent presence within the communities we serve is a testament to that.”
To find more success stories about SNAP-Ed educators, visit LiveWellAlabama.com.