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Boys Town Louisiana Early Head Start Forms New Partnership for Nutrition Education

​​Boys Town Louisiana's Early Head Start Program recently began a partnership with Louisiana State University (LSU) Agriculture Center Research and Extension for an Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) for parents of Boys Town youth.

Launching for Boys Town families in September 2016, EFNEP is a federally-funded program administered by the LSU Ag Center which offers free nutrition education to economically disadvantaged families and youth in the New Orleans community.

Nutrition Educators will present information to parents on topics such as nutrition and wellness, food safety and food resource management. The lessons have been developed by state specialists and provide the most relevant, evidence-based information. Presentations will take place at Boys Town's three Early Head Start locations – Wilcox Academy; Kids of Excellence; and SEA TOO.

"A guiding principle of the Early Head Start Program is to ensure that young children can grow, develop, and learn through the implementation of comprehensive services (health, safety, nutrition, education, and mental). To achieve positive outcomes it is detrimental to partner with community stakeholders and collaborate with parents," explained Renaca Hick-Haskins, Director, Boys Town Early Head Start Program. "Through our nutritional partnership with LSU Agriculture Center, during monthly sessions parents will learn how to shop for healthy food on a budget and how to make educated and intentional choices when it comes to nutrition."

While there have only been a couple of sessions, parents are already starting to make changes. "The parents are receiving advice from other parents and creating a peer network during these sessions," added Hicks-Haskins. "One mother stated that she bought a bike and is now walking to the sessions rather than driving. A father volunteered to lead a healthy ​living session once a week to discuss challenges, solutions, and walk with other parents."

The program will consist of 11 sessions over a 12-month period and focuses on identifying and solidifying the importance of nutrition.​