03/19/14 — Extension agent wins several awards

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Extension agent wins several awards

By From staff reports
Published in News on March 19, 2014 1:46 PM

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Wayne County Extension Agent Christine Smith is congratulated by Jimmy Gentry, president of the North Carolina State Grange, left, Dr. Joe Zublena, director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, and Dr. Fletcher Barber, associate administrator of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Program, right.

Wayne County family and consumer sciences extension agent Christine Smith has received three coveted awards for her extension work.

They were presented during the recent Extension Conference in Raleigh. The awards were judged by the North Carolina Federation of Cooperative Extension Associations.

Mrs. Smith received the Overall State Leadership Award, the Family and Consumer Science Leadership Award and the Nadine Tope Innovative Program Award.

The awards are given for outstanding leadership in the family and consumer sciences field. The Overall State Leadership Award is for professional excellence within all facets of the North Cooperative Extension Service. Mrs. Smith received a plaque and a $4,000 scholarship award that will be used to participate in a leadership conference.

The Nadine Tope Award is for developing outstanding innovative family and consumer science programs. As the winner, Mrs. Smith will receive $500 to conduct healthy eating cooking sessions for Go Wayne Go.

The Family and Consumer Sciences Agents Award recognizes agents across the state who are conducting exemplary educational programs. Mrs. Smith received the award for her high visibility in the community and her high impact programming efforts.

Mrs. Smith won the three awards because she is very active in the community and also at the state level in the area of family and consumer sciences.

She has spent the past 30 years empowering Wayne County residents and people throughout the state to live a healthy lifestyle -- a career she discovered through an aunt who was an extension agent.

"I grew up in extension," Mrs. Smith said. "I have always known this is what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be."

She said the purpose of an extension agent is to disseminate research-based information into their assigned communities in four program areas -- agriculture, family and consumer sciences, 4H and community/rural development.

She said she loves her job not only because of the information she shares, but the people she meets.

"This has been my passion," she said. "Every day is different. It is touching people and making a difference in their lives. We do not tell them what to do. We just provide the information that will help them make their own decisions."

Mrs. Smith's extension work has taken many forms over the years.

She was a contributing author of the "Heart and Soul Cookbook" and is on the editorial board for family and consumer issues.

She is a local leader in health and wellness programs. She helped create Go Wayne Go, a countywide initiative to address obesity and inactivity for Wayne County residents.

Mrs. Smith also works on two other health and wellness programs in Wayne County -- Fit and Fabulous and Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More. Both programs are helping Wayne County residents have a healthier life. Fit and Fabulous is designed to increase physical activity. About 80 participants go to the Wayne Center twice a week to participate in aerobics and Zumba classes.

She is also the writer and contributing author of two education curricula and wrote the Eat Smart Move More Weigh Less curriculum.

Another publication Mrs. Smith has helped with is A Man's Guide to Culinary Arts.

She's a weekly columnist for the Goldsboro News-Argus, giving information and tips on how to get and to stay healthy.

Mrs. Smith said she tries to share with her students the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

"If you don't have your health, you don't have anything," she said.