Zeanny Egea Alvarado Recognized with Maynard and Audrey Heckel Extension Educator Fellowship
Zeanny Egea Alvarado, Nutrition Connections teacher in Coös County and coordinator for the Master Wellness Volunteer program, is the recipient of UNH Extension’s 2022 Maynard and Audrey Heckel Extension Educator Fellowship.
The Heckel fellowship is given to Extension educators for exemplary program accomplishments achieved through innovative and creative approaches in at least one of three areas: involving university faculty beyond traditional disciplines in meeting educational needs of New Hampshire citizens, developing and involving strong local leadership in support of Extension programs or assisting and supporting low-income families.
Alongside Bettina Sietz, Rebecca Betts, Melissa Lee and Heidi Barker, and with leadership support from Mike Young and Amy Hollar, Zeanny Egea Alvarado has helped create and implement the Master Wellness Volunteer program, which provides a way for Granite Staters to increase health and well-being in their communities through service opportunities.
Through this unique program, volunteers connect with others as they build toolboxes for impacting individual and community health factors, environments and systems. Topics covered include nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention, health equity and public speaking skills.
In the spring of 2022, this team launched its second cohort of fully trained Master Wellness Volunteers. The cohort included 24 graduates pursuing three different service pathways: Community Resilience, Food Access and Walk with Ease, a mobility program for older adults.
Using feedback from the pilot program and with guidance from field specialists, Egea Alvarado was able to successfully adjust the marketing, recruitment and onboarding of interested volunteers, ensuring their successful completion of the program and improving retention rates. Her organizational and interpersonal skills have been invaluable and greatly appreciated.
Ken La Valley, vice provost for UNH Outreach and Engagement and director of UNH Extension, says, “Zeanny consistently demonstrates outstanding service and professionalism to her colleagues and stakeholders, and it is a great pleasure to honor her in this way. In particular, I am impressed with the Master Wellness Volunteer program’s ability to expand outreach and education to underserved members of our communities through the development of community volunteers across the state as well as the expansion of local leadership capacity those volunteers represent.”
With Egea Alvarado's guidance, Extension’s partnerships throughout the state have strengthened – including with organizations such as the N.H. Food Bank, N.H. Food Alliance and food pantries, which provide services to low-income populations.