Brenda Sanchez recently joined our team as an Outreach Nutrition Education Assistant with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in our Bethel office in Fairfield County. She joins us from experiences working in the medical field and with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, where she spent 11 years as a peer counselor and certified lactation consultant.
Many members of Brenda’s family are involved in medical and nutrition positions, and the role with Extension builds off her previous experiences as well. We sat down with Brenda to learn more about her background and role with Extension.
What is your area of interest and how did you get interested in it?
I like anything related to the medical field as well as working in the community. Working with the community gives me great satisfaction. Knowing I have helped and impacted their lives for the betterment of themselves and their families is just a great feeling.
I got interested in these areas by seeing them modeled on in my family. I had fitting examples of love towards the community through many family members. I was also exposed to the medical field through family members since I was a kid, so I became passionate about it.
What excites you the most about working with UConn Extension?
Knowing I will help families and young people achieve better eating habits and make better lifestyle choices in their nutrition. I like to do service and work with the community and help them make better choices and feed their family.
What is one thing you hope people will learn from you and your work?
I hope I can help people embrace a lifestyle that they did not imagine was possible for themselves and their families, by choosing, preparing, and managing a variety of foods available in the market, I hope to offer choices that might seem doable even in a low-income budget or as a single mom raising her children. I’m also passionate about helping mothers and their children.
One thing everyone should know about nutrition is to grab those resources that are out there for them and make the best possible nutrition and diet choices and enjoy it as a family.
What advice do you have for parents with picky eaters?
Modeling behavior is one thing that always works. I modeled in front of my own children, and they all eat everything. Parents I’ve worked with also have success with it. The more variety of foods you can include in a diet, the more benefits there are. Also, tell children about the benefits different foods have, it engages them.
What is your favorite thing to do in Connecticut?
Family time, all my family lives in Connecticut, I also enjoy the fresh air, the space and nature that Connecticut offers.
What are some of your hobbies and other interests?
I like to walk, read, and bake. I love to travel, try new foods, I love to learn about diverse cultures, their customs and beliefs.