Connie Schneider retires from post as ANR’s Youth, Families and Communities director
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“California has the highest producing agricultural industry in the world, but there are too many children and families living here in poverty and hunger,” Schneider said. “So many of our youth do not graduate from high school and do not have opportunities to enhance their interests, skills and abilities. With ANR's youth, family and community programs, we're trying to take care of our own.”
Schneider came to ANR over 10 years ago as an academic coordinator for a large regional nutrition grant and within a year was hired as the nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno County. In 2011, she was promoted to her position leading ANR's Youth, Families and Communities (YFC), which includes statewide nutrition education programs and the 4-H Youth Development program. Schneider praised her YFC team and their aim to provide support to county programs and coordinate with other ANR programs that contribute to healthy communities, such as ANR's nine Research and Extension Centers.
As a registered dietitian, Schneider worked for more than 20 years with individuals, hospitals, and communities in areas related to life span nutrition, diabetes, heart health and food management. She has a doctorate degree in food and nutrition management from Oregon State University and served as a nutrition professor at Fresno State from 2002 to 2005.
As the YFC director, Schneider and the YFC team have been developing new internal and external partnerships to facilitate the extension of UC ANR's research-proven healthy-living strategies to a larger audience in California.
“We are in exciting times right now,” Schneider said. “We are partners with two large grants. One is with UC Berkeley, UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Institute and the San Francisco School District to test a smart phone app that will provide youth with school lunch menu as well as nutrition messages. The second is with UC Davis. Our component is working with UC Davis Medical Center pediatric unit to provide our Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program to their patients.”
“UC ANR advisors and specialists are working all around California developing relationships and making connections,” Schneider said. “We have the healthy living initiative in 4-H, which considers youth health holistically. There are nutrition programs in senior centers, schools, parks and recreation facilities, and other community agencies working with partners to empower people with knowledge and skills to improve their nutritional health. 4-H engages youth in afterschool programs, camps, service learning projects, and community clubs helping young people find their spark, making science citizenship activities exciting and fulfilling. When you pull this all together, you see the strength of Cooperative Extension.”