Last year, Community Nutrition Education Programs (CNEP) provided long-term nutrition education to 4,785 low-income families and 23,332 youth, directly affecting the lives of more than 50,000 Oklahomans in 44 Counties.
Working through Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES) county offices, teaching paraprofessionals known as Nutrition Education Assistants (NEAs) coach participants during weekly lessons to build skills that enable them to stretch their family food dollars, plan and prepare more nutritious meals and increase physical activity.
The research-based lessons involve hands-on learning experiences and can take place in the participant’s home or in small group settings.
CNEP is also active in elementary school classrooms by offering a series of classroom-based lessons on healthy food choices and safe food practices to third grade and fourth grade students.
Additionally, CNEP has joined OCES, university, community and commodity partners to fund the Farm to You exhibit, a 40’ by 40’ enclosed traveling interactive adventure for elementary school children that follows food from the farm to the market and through the body to explore the relationships between agriculture, food and health. This provides a unique supplement to the classroom curriculum and specifically addresses the nutrition, health and agricultural education needs of Oklahoma youth.
Making a Difference
Oklahoma’s statistics on hunger and food insecurity are startling. However, by serving the state’s limited-income populations, CNEP is working to improve the conditions of those most in need.
How is CNEP making a difference?
• 39% of participating families ran out of food less often before the end of the month.
• 38% of CNEP graduates reported their children ate breakfast more often.
• About 96% of participants demonstrated a positive change toward a healthy diet.
Who are CNEP participants?
• Serving those most in need, 64% of participating families are at least 50% below the poverty level.
• 43% of CNEP participants are ethnic minorities. In Oklahoma, CNEP reaches a more ethnically diverse population than the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Why is CNEP so effective?
• CNEP works in partnership with WIC, local schools, food stamp offices and emergency food services to help families in need while avoiding duplication of services.
• Graduates of the program received an average of 12 lessons.
CNEP employs and educates individuals within the community to serve as teaching paraprofessionals known as Nutrition Education Assistants (NEAs).
CNEP promotes the basic premise of employing people that are indigenous to the community. Some of the NEAs have experience with public assistance programs. The personal experience of needing some type of assistance provides a bridge between the NEA and the families they teach.
Quality CNEP in-service education helps NEAs become effective teachers as well as knowledgeable about basic nutrition, money management skills, food safety and food preparation expertise. With experience, NEAs become excellent teachers as they hone their nutrition knowledge.
Other agencies find NEAs to be excellent candidates for positions within their organization and actively recruit them. CNEP considers these "moves up the career ladder" success stories.
NEAs coach for behavior change with the families that they enroll and teach. Every NEA has two goals. These are: (1) help families improve their diet and (2) help families learn how to manage their resources so they can eat as well at the end of the month as the beginning. Seldom do any of us make large-scale behavior changes quickly. We usually make many small changes one at a time that add up to a large-scale change in our life. The same principle is true for families enrolled in CNEP. Most enrolled families meet with the NEAs at least 3 times each month up to 9 to 11 months. This allows time for the NEAs and families to decide what changes the family wants to make and then the setting and accomplishing of mini goals. NEAs work with families on a one-to-one basis in their homes or in small neighborhood groups. This education design allows for a personalized learning experience for each family. NEAs often provide the only positive learning support that many homemakers have ever experienced. Some families living in chaotic conditions appreciate the calming and leveling influence of the NEAs.
Community Nutrition Education Programs (CNEP) encompasses two programs.
The oldest program is the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)which has been teaching families for over 30 years in Oklahoma. This program is made available through federal funds through the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of USDA. EFNEP enrolls and teaches families with young children who receive any type of federal food assistance.
The Oklahoma Nutrition Education (ONE) Program is the nutrition education program for Oklahoma food stamp recipients and the food stamp eligible. The ONE Program is sponsored by the Food and Nutrition Service of USDA and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with the Food Stamp Program of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
September 6, 2013
Dear DHS Provider/Key Stakeholder:
We are excited to share with you the agency’s new strategic plan. Months of work have gone into the development of this plan and feedback from employees, stakeholders, partners, legislative leaders and our administration has been incorporated into the objectives. Our mission, vision and values have been updated also to reflect our commitment to the people of Oklahoma.
Our focus over the next two years will include: improving outcomes for clients, improving customer service and communication, partnering with key stakeholders to maximize our resources and effectiveness, strengthening and supporting our workforce, improving business processes, and increasing public awareness and accountability.
We encourage you to take a few moments to follow this link to read a letter from Director Lake and a short summary of how the department will work over the next two years to accomplish these goals. The full strategic plan with all of the detailed objectives will be available on the DHS website soon.
With energized leadership and a new direction for the agency, we believed this was also a good time to update the agency’s logo. Throughout our agency’s 75-year history, the logo has changed to reflect the times and agency names.
While our name is still the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, we want to project an image that places more emphasis on Human Services and represents a caring, compassionate agency that offers help and hope to vulnerable Oklahomans. We believe this symbol reflects who we are as an agency and how we want to be known by our friends, neighbors, and community members.
Our resources are precious, which is why no additional costs were incurred to develop this logo. The design was created by the DHS Design Services staff under direction of the agency’s communications team using feedback from more than 1,500 employees and key stakeholders. The new logo is being incorporated over time in a manner that will not result in any additional expense to the agency. It is being changed electronically which includes the website, forms and letterhead templates. All other items featuring the previous logo will be revised and updated as existing stock is depleted or needs to be replaced.
We ask all DHS contract providers and partners to include our logo on your websites and informational materials to demonstrate the partnerships we have developed to serve Oklahomans in need. The new logo is available for download from the Newsroom of our website or you may contact the DHS Office of Communications at 405-521-3027.
Sheree Powell, Director Communications and Community Relations,
Oklahoma Department of Human Services
The Fresh Start Program wants to help you answer questions about how to eat smart and move more. Our program is hands-on and teaches new skills that you can use at home every day - from planning, shopping, and cooking tips to simple solutions for healthy eating and daily physical activity. Developed by food, nutrition and physical activity professionals, our sessions will help you create your own personal plan. Families who participated in our program improved their diet while saving money.
At CNEP we want you to become a pro at planning, shopping, and preparing delicious, nutritious meals for you and your family. Once you have completed the program, you will receive a Cookbook and a signed graduation certificate to show off to your family, friends, and even potential employers!
You may choose the short or long-term program. The nutrition lessons in both programs can be taught individually or in groups. They may take place in your home or at another location depending on your needs. Your nutrition education assistant can tell you more about these options.
In the short-term program, you will be asked to complete an introduction session and 8 lessons. This program could last 2 to 3 months depending on how often you take the lessons. The lesson topics include:
Fix it Safe
Choosing More Fruits and Vegetables
Plan: Know What's for Dinner
Shop: Get the Best for Less
Shop for Value, Check the Facts
Making Smart Breakfast Choices
Making Smart Drink Choices
In the long-term program, you could complete up to 21 lessons. The long version could take 5 to 9 months.