In September, the Kentucky Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences hosted the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) annual meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.  Kentucky Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) coordinated many aspects of the program, including a welcome event at the Kentucky Horse Park, educational tours and in-depth sessions across central Kentucky.  Conference attendees were highly complementary of the meeting and Kentucky’s work as host state.

The annual meeting agenda included two events where awards were presented celebrating the success of many exemplary professionals and programs.  Several Kentucky FCS agents and their colleagues received national and regional recognitions this year. Agents were acknowledged for their leadership and implementation of programs that aim to improve the quality of life for families in their communities and across Kentucky.

The following awards were presented to Kentucky Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences:

  • Educator of the Year: The highest honor presented by NEAFCS each year is the Educator of the Year award. Only previous recipients of the Distinguished Service and Continued Excellence Awards are eligible for this special recognition. Lora Lee Frazier Howard, Clay County FCS Agent received both the national and southern region Educator of the Year awards.

  • Distinguished Service: The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is a high honor that recognizes agents for their leadership, exceptional programs and professional advancement. Three honorees from Kentucky were recognized with the NEAFCS DSA - Elizabeth Kingsland, Bourbon County; Vicki Wynn, Marshall County; and Nancy Kelley, Western Kentucky Area Nutrition Agent.

  • Continued Excellence: Previous DSA award recipients are eligible for nomination for the Continued Excellence Award, an award that recognizes dynamic involvement in professional improvement programming, promotion of professional development and leadership. The 2014 Kentucky recipients were Natasha Lucas, Owsley County FCS Agent and Brooke Jenkins-Howard, Curriculum Coordinator for Nutrition Education.

  • NEAFCS Greenwood Frysinger: This cash award provides early career members with a stipend to expand their professional network and participate in professional development. Amber Meeks, FCS Agent in McLean County was named the 2014 national and southern region winner. Amber was recognized for her work to complete her master’s degree and her participation at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Conference.

  • Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity: Honoring members whose Extension FCS programming exemplifies diversity and pluralism is the object of the Mary W. Wells Memorial Diversity Award. Pam York, Russell County FCS Agent received the first place southern region award for her work with the Las Latinas (Latin women) group that was formed to extend learning opportunities to the Hispanic population in Russell County.

  • Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award – The Dean Don Felker Award is presented for an outstanding program on some aspect of family financial management.  Diana Doggett, FCS Agent in Fayette County, along with team members Caroline Francis, Diane Kohler, Kelly Allgeier and Jennifer Hunter, received 3rd place southern region recognition for “The Job Club,” a program focused on successful job search strategies. 

  • Early Childhood Child Care Training Award: This award recognizes outstanding childcare professional development training organized and facilitated by FCS Extension professionals.  Christy Ramey, FCS Agent in Simpson County and Amber Meeks, FCS Agent in McLean County received 3rd place recognition nationally and in the southern region for a program they created to help day care providers teach character education.

  • Family Health and Wellness Award:  This award recognizes innovative programs that promote and improve family health and wellness.  Christy Nuetzman, FCS Agent in Clinton County and Debbie Messenger, FCS Agent in Cumberland County received the 3rd place national award and 1st place southern region award for their program titled “Weight Loss Wars.”  The 10-week program included educational lessons, mini challenges, recipe sampling and physical activity in addition to a weight loss competition between the two counties.

  • School Wellness: This award was established to recognize school-based programs that promote and improve physical, emotional and/or social wellness of students, staff or families. Nancy Kelley, Western Kentucky Area Nutrition Agent, received 3rd place national and southern region awards for “Try It, You’ll Like It,” a program that engaged elementary school students and staff to try a variety of new fruits and vegetables each week for a month.

  • Communications Awards – To recognize FCS professionals for outstanding work in communications, NEAFCS presented communications awards in nine categories.  Kentucky FCS professionals received awards in six of the nine communications categories.

    • Written Press Release: Kenna Knight, Pendleton County FCS Agent was named the first place national and southern region winner for her award winning article written to spur the community into action to complete a survey on adoption of a tobacco-free campus policy for all Pendleton County public schools.

    • Radio/Podcast: The second place southern region and national radio/podcast awards were presented to Terry Whalen, Robertson County FCS Agent and Benita Peoples, Harrison County FCS Agent. The duo used radio programming to address lung cancer issues in their area.

    • Educational Curriculum Package: The third place southern region recognition was awarded to Eugenia Wilson, Martin County FCS Agent and Nellie Buchanan, Morgan County FCS Agent. They developed a curriculum package titled “Cooking Under Pressure” to teach clientele how to select and use pressure cookers.

    • Educational Technology: First place southern region and national awards were presented to Laura White-Brown, Rowan County FCS Agent, Leslie Workman, Pike County FCS Agent, and Janet Mullins, Associate Extension Professor. The team developed an innovative program exploring the words “gluten-free” and the myths surrounding gluten.

    • Photography: Eugenia Wilson, Martin County FCS Agent received third place national and first place southern region awards for her photo showcasing healthy lifestyles across the generations.

    • Educational Publication: Two publications produced by Kentucky FCS Extension professionals were honored. Laura White-Brown, Rowan County FCS Agent and Jackie Walters, Extension Specialist received the second place southern region and national awards for their publication entitled, “The Gluten-Free Choice: Is it for Me?” Rosie Allen, Northern Kentucky Area Nutrition Agent and Dr. Carole Gnatuk, retired Extension Specialist received the third place southern region award for their publication entitled, “Home is Where the Health Is.”

Congratulations to these agents for their commitment and work to build strong families and communities for Kentucky!