By Cassandra Harris
As part of her work at the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Shorus Manning travels to elementary schools across South Carolina to help students develop skills for making healthier food and lifestyle choices. Noting her professionalism and caring attitude, Parent Teacher Liaison Freddie Harrell recently took the time to share glowing remarks on Manning’s continued efforts to provide nutrition services to the students and teachers at JP Thomas Elementary.
“She is doing an excellent job here at our school,” said Harrell. “The teachers, as well as the students, love her and they look forward to working with her each year.”
During her most recent visit, Harrell explained, “The moment she walked up to the classroom there was an uproar because she remembered the students, and they remembered her, from kindergarten.”
Manning is a registered and licensed dietitian for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education program with the Office of Professional and Community Nutrition Services here at DHEC. Working with stakeholders across the state, she provides nutritional education to individuals in a variety of settings, including elementary schools, head starts, senior centers, churches, and parks and recreation sites, among many others.
“I don’t think there’s anything else like it,” said Manning. “Our program goes out and meets individuals where they are, providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed nutritional decisions.”
Dynamic in nature, the adult classes incorporate hands-on cooking of healthy recipes, accompanied by a variety of nutrition topics. In addition, the elementary schools lessons are aligned with the state curriculum standards and count as a health unit. Each class, pre-k through 5th grade, is visited once a month from the start of the school year up until the end. The lessons provide students with a fun and interactive way to learn about nutrition.
“I love that I get to meet and interact with people in their day-to-day lives,” said Manning. “It’s not just about nutrition, it’s about looking at the big picture—helping them find that light bulb or aha moment, when they realize that they can do it and that the choices they make today can help them lead a healthier, more active lifestyle now and well into the future.”
For more information about the national SNAP-Education program, please visit: http://snap.nal.usda.gov/.