A new opportunity to learn and grow, while giving back to the community is available through Penn State Extension’s Certified Food and Wellness Volunteer Training Program.  According to Lynn James, MS, RDN, LDN, Penn State Senior Nutrition & Health Educator, “We are looking for people with some knowledge and interest in foods, nutrition and food safety who want to become more involved with community wellness.” This is an exciting opportunity to get in involved in the program. Applications are now being accepted for volunteers to be trained in this program.

The Certified Food and Wellness Volunteer course is a comprehensive course offering forty hours of training, using on-line training modules for much of the education and ending with a full day of on-site training at Penn State University in State College on May 5. Participants will need computer access and the ability to travel to State College for the on-site training. The cost for the training program and certification is $125. Partial scholarships are available for those with financial need.

This is a great opportunity for people who would like to be more involved in promoting good health and wellness in their communities. Some knowledge of nutrition and experience in working with foods is desirable, but the most important qualification is a strong desire to learn more about nutrition, diet and health and having a desire to help others in the community improve their lives.

Upon completing the program, Food and Wellness Volunteers will give back 40 hours of service to Penn State Extension Programs in nutrition and wellness. Volunteers will be able to use educational tools such as MyPlate, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Nutrition Facts Label to help others plan, buy, store and prepare tasty, healthy foods within their budgets. Volunteers will work with the public by making presentations, assisting with Penn State Programs and answering consumer questions, using research based information. Individual interests will be considered in service hours.

This new training program is based on the model of the highly successful Master Gardener Training Program offered by Penn State Extension. According to the Adams County Coordinator for Master Gardener, Mary Ann Ryan, “The model used in the Master Gardener program works well for our volunteers — they get to know other people with the same interests, have the opportunity to talk about their passion and they continue to learn through the continuing education program they take part in each year.”    

The application deadline for the Food and Wellness Volunteer Training Program is March 1. Interested people should contact the Penn State Extension office at (5700 988-3950 or Ljames@psu.edu for the application and a description of the position. A brochure is also available. Short interviews will be scheduled in early March for final selection of volunteers for the training program.

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