North Carolina Represents at National Conference

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Last week North Carolina was well represented with 11 team members from both NC State University and NC A&T State University at the 2024 National EFNEP Coordinators’ Conference. This year’s conference theme was Universities & Communities Collaborating for Success.

Each year this conference proves to be an invaluable experience for attendees to network and connect with colleagues from across the country. This year our own coordinator, Lisa Benavente, was on the planning committee, helping to make this conference a success!

EFNEP Conference

Those in attendance learned about Recruitment, Retention, Data Management, Supervising Strategies, Collaborating Across State Lines, and Program Highlights and Updates.

Our team from North Carolina presented five sessions including:

  • University Collaboration -Leveraging the Relationships between Extension and EFNEP 
    • The success of one EFNEP Educator in North Carolina was found to be due to the partnership with Cooperative Extension. One particular program connected EFNEP to an eligible youth group which then led to EFNEP connecting the Family and Consumer Science Agent to provide assistance for a garden project which then led to engaging the Agriculture Agents. Although EFNEP is a program located within Cooperative Extension, establishing a cohesive working relationship with other programs within the Extension umbrella requires intentional relationship building. NC State EFNEP has created a guide called “Getting to Know Your Cooperative Extension Team: A Guide for New EFNEP Educators.” This guide is provided to new EFNEP educators and provides an overview of each role within Extension in addition to question prompts to facilitate relationship building. The guide is designed to empower EFNEP educators to network with office colleagues and start conversations intended to foster connection and understanding of the many roles within Extension. Through this process, EFNEP educators also become familiar with office expectations which is an important way to begin establishing trust and belonging in the workplace. Additionally, dedicated relationship-building with staff facilitates connection with key community partners and leverages support for recruiting EFNEP-eligible audiences.
  • Fuel For Life – Reaching the High School Audience (Presentation and Poster)
    • NC State University developed a new cooking-based curriculum for high school students called Fuel For Life. In collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the curriculum was reviewed to ensure alignment with the NC Essential Standards for Health Education and Food and Nutrition 1 courses. This timely development and partnership with DPI allowed for the strategic recruitment of high school students which has been determined as a national priority and a previously under-recruited age group. The versatility of the curriculum has also shown to be successful in nontraditional older youth groups. The 6 to 8 lesson series includes hands-on activities to learn about nutrition, gain cooking confidence, and knowledge related to mindful eating and movement. Presenters will share an overview of the components of the Fuel for Life curriculum and the results of the pilot and outcomes evaluations.
  • Multi-State EFNEP Community of Practice to Advance Staff Training (Presentation and Poster) 
    • Training Coordinators from across the country have joined together to develop a Training Coordinators Community of Practice which meets monthly. This group is designed to be a collaborative network to share ideas and improve training practices for EFNEP staff. Discussion topics include everything from evaluation, recruitment and retention of staff to planning a meaningful annual conference. Although many serve as the sole team member responsible for staff training at their institution, this does not mean they are alone! If you serve as the training leader in your state, join us to learn more about our virtual discussions and become part of our network. If you serve in a different role in your state, feel free to join us and learn best practices to create your own multi-state community of practice.
  • New EFNEP Coordinator’s Session
    • During the session, presenters talked about their personal experiences as new coordinators and highlighted key aspects of EFNEP coordination. They discussed the importance of identifying individuals and groups to connect with at various levels. They also reviewed the essential resources and documents that can help coordinators make informed decisions. Overall, the session provided coordinators with the necessary tools and connections to help them adjust to their new roles.
  • WebNEERS 101: Reporting, Finding Errors, Telling Our Story
    • During the session, the focus was on EFNEP’s evaluation system- WebNEERS, which stands for Web-based Nutrition Education and Evaluation Reporting System. Experienced data managers, including NC State EFNEP and SNAP-Ed’s Data Analyst, Tony Benavente, presented WebNEERS’ features and addressed participant questions and concerns. Users were provided with personalized support to help them learn how to make the most of the system and achieve maximum accuracy.

All attendees left with connections, motivation, and novel ideas and strategies to implement in North Carolina. One of our team members, Tony Benavente, also left with an award for his contributions to assisting with the WebNEERS Database.

    • Tony with award
  • “Recognition for consistently demonstrating outstanding customer service by responding quickly, resolving technical glitches, and providing one-on-one assistance to EFNEP Coordinators and staff for questions that arise; and for your proactive communication with EFNEP national leadership and the WebNEERS Development Team to anticipate program needs for software efficiency and effectiveness.”


Tony presenting at conference
Staff presenting at conference
Poster session
conference logo