Food and Nutrition


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EFNEP Educator Earns National Recognition

At the recent 2019 EFNEP National Coordinators’ Conference in D.C., Mariam Said, EFNEP educator in Cass County, received an Excellence in EFNEP award. She was recognized for her role as a former graduate of EFNEP, who went on to become a successful EFNEP educator. She received the award during the EFNEP 50th Anniversary Recognition Event and shared her story with national NIFA leaders and EFNEP personnel from across the nation.

Mariam has always been a strong advocate for EFNEP, in part because she experienced the benefits first hand as a graduate. She can relate to her participants through her personal success with the program and has a knack for motivating people by making learning fun and demonstrating how the information can be beneficial to their lives and future. 

From the Nomination:

Before Mariam enrolled in EFNEP, she bought groceries every day and often ran out of money by the end of the month. She ate a diet that was heavy in meat and fat.

Mariam started EFNEP classes because she wanted to learn how to cook in America. Shortly after she enrolled, a CT scan at her doctor’s office revealed that she had liver congestion. In the EFNEP classes, Mariam was learning how food choices and exercise affect health. She was determined to make changes to improve her lifestyle. She began cooking EFNEP recipes at home. She started watching portions in all of the food groups and reduced the amount of meat and fat in her diet. She also started walking every day. She increased her activity and began participating in group exercise classes at a wellness center. In six months, her doctor repeated the CT scan and it showed that her liver congestion had cleared up. She felt better and saw firsthand how changes to diet and exercise make a difference.

In addition to health benefits, Mariam noticed that she was saving money by purchasing less meat and wasting less food. She invested in a freezer so she could freeze food to use later. Mariam began to budget and only needed to grocery shop once per week. She learned to stretch her food dollars to last all month.

Mariam’s lifestyle changes had a direct impact on her four children at home. She enrolled them in EFNEP classes and they joined a 4-H club. They started a garden. She recruited family members and New Americans from her community to EFNEP classes, shared recipes and modeled healthy choices.

Shortly after graduating from EFNEP, Mariam was hired as an EFNEP paraprofessional. She has a strong connection to the refugee community and enrolls participants from ELL classes. She is committed to personal growth and takes classes through NDSU as one of the benefits of her position. She is committed to sharing her EFNEP story and improving the lives of the people around her.


Congratulations Mariam! Thank you for contributing to EFNEP’s legacy of improving the lives of low-income families through nutrition education.

Filed under: 50th Anniversary, EFNEP, food
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