As a Virginia Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Services Extension Agent in Roanoke, Va., Deborah Chappell is accustomed to serving others in her community. So, it’s no surprise that not only does she use her Extension skills to bring the message of healthy eating to those in her community who most need it, but she also volunteers on the board of Avancemos Roanoke — an organization that assists Latino populations in the Roanoke Valley — to provide educational opportunities for local Hispanic residents.
One of Avancemos Roanoke’s projects is to bring the Mexican Mobile Consulate to the area once a year so that Mexican citizens have the opportunity to update paperwork for themselves and family members without making a costly and time-consuming trip to Washington, D.C.
While people wait for finished documents at the mobile unit, Chappell and other Master Food Volunteers educate children about fitness and food with kid-friendly activities. Margarita Cubas, a family nutrition program assistant, talks with adults about food safety and healthy eating. Extension agents also use the opportunity to make connections to establish future classes within the Hispanic community.
“Getting to know this population is important for building trust and good will,” said Chappell. “The more of a presence Extension has in this community the better.”