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Nutrition Program Helps Teens, Young Adults Develop Life Skills

Youth are pictured participating in TILP engage in a food safety lesson available through EFNEP. Submitted photo

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s EFNEP Program has teamed with Chautauqua Opportunities TILP program to help prepare at-risk teens and young adults to make healthy food choices and manage their food resources more effectively.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Program has been in existence for more than 50 years. Its goal is to help families eat more healthfully while strategically managing their food dollars. This is done through a series of weekly sessions that are about an hour in length. Each meeting offers an opportunity to taste and learn to prepare a healthy recipe and try a new game or physical activity to increase movement and physical fitness.

The Transitional Independent Living Program (TILP) helps displaced youth between the ages of 16-21. Housed within the umbrella of services available through Chautauqua Opportunities, participants receive access to life skills groups and independent living skills services, safe living conditions, and a structured environment that promotes success. Self-sufficiency facilitation services are provided to all residents to assist with personal goal setting and achievement. Residents also participate in asset-based activities including community service and financial literacy. Aftercare support services are offered to all youth as they transition from the program.

“TILP provides a tremendous growth opportunity for youth to move into adulthood with more knowledge, skills, and thus confidence,” says Heather Gregory, nutrition educator with EFNEP. “Our Family Nutrition Education Series enhances the offerings already provided by Chautauqua Opportunities and has been received well by residents. I’ve graduated several participants from my program and have also been able to give them a taste of a college experience by holding a session on the JCC campus.”

“EFNEP has a very positive impact on the youth we serve,” said Vito Randazzo, youth specialist for TILP. “The skills the youth are learning will benefit them as they transition to independent living.”

For more information on EFNEP, call Heather Gregory at 664-9502, ext. 221 or email hlg65@cornell.edu For more information on TILP, call 661-9446.

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