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Jackie Rhode received the Culture of Health award for her work as a Community Champion on the Crow Creek Community Wellness Coalition, assisting with Smarter Lunchrooms and the Stock Healthy Shop Healthy program.
Courtesy Photo
Jackie Rhode received the Culture of Health award for her work as a Community Champion on the Crow Creek Community Wellness Coalition, assisting with Smarter Lunchrooms and the Stock Healthy Shop Healthy program.

Extension volunteer recognized at national event


SD Ag Connection - May 13, 2019

BROOKINGS, SD - SDSU Extension volunteer, Jackie Rhode, Fort Thompson, and the SDSU Extension Food & Families Capstone were recognized for advancing health education and outreach with national awards during the National Health Outreach Conference held early May in Fort Worth, TX.

"It's always an honor when our team is recognized on the national level for the work they do serving South Dakotans," said Karla Trautman, SDSU Extension Interim Director. "For years, SDSU Extension's Food & Families team has listened to communities to understand their needs and worked to provide innovative, research-based and effective education and foods, nutrition and health programming."

One such program is Voices for Food. The SDSU Extension program bolsters community support through a guide to help communities create citizen-led food councils and provides flexible tools to help community members build food security by transitioning food pantries to guided client-choice.

Voices for Food was recognized with the Priester Award which honors Extension programs that positively impact the health of citizens across the U.S. and provide leadership to expand Extension's capacity to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

SDSU Extension Food and Families Program Director, Suzanne Stluka was among a team of eight extension staff from six land grant universities who developed the Voices for Food program. Two other SDSU Extension staff also served on this team; Lindsay Moore, Voices for Food Project Coordinator, and Dr. Lacey McCormack, Assistant Professor, Department of Health & Nutritional Sciences.

"We are elated by this honor, but more importantly, by the results of our work," Stluka explained. "When the team began imagining this project seven years ago, people were not talking about developing food councils in rural communities. And, now we see the work that we did, putting data, research and extension outreach behind those pieces, paying off in the development of food councils in communities, addressing food insecurity across the nation."

Collaborations with private and public stakeholders strengthen the outreach mission of SDSU Extension. And, Jackie Rhode, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is one such stakeholder. A community champion, Rhode volunteers her time working with SDSU Extension on the Crow Creek Community Wellness coalition and assisting a local school with the Smarter Lunchrooms, an SDSU Extension program to encourage healthy choices using behavior economics without restricting choice and the Stock Healthy Shop Healthy program.

Rhode was recognized with the Culture of Health Volunteer Award, which includes a $4,500 grant that will be used to support the Nourishing Native Children: Feeding our Future Bountiful Backpack Program.

"Jackie does so much for her community. She is always willing to be a voice for change, inclusion, equity and equality within her community," Stluka said. "She is passionate about ensuring youth have opportunities for success. She is a role model for health and wants her community to be a healthy one. SDSU Extension appreciates the work she does for South Dakota."

To learn more about SDSU Extension Food & Families capstone or how you can become involved as a volunteer in your community, contact a local Extension office.



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