Mary Ellen Fleming, a Colorado State University Cooperative Extension agent in southern Colorado, received the organization’s Diversity Award during an awards ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 22. The Diversity Award is given annually to and individual or team members of Colorado State Cooperative Extension who are dedicated to serving a diverse audience.
Fleming has worked with the Even Start/La Lave Family Resource Center in the San Luis Valley since 1999 and strives to reach out to low-income families and Latino communities in Alamosa and Monte Vista. The center provides information on nutrition, parenting, child development, literacy and GED training. The center was initially established with a grant to Colorado State Cooperative Extension in 1998; under Fleming’s guidance, the center is now self-sustaining and has been "spun off" from Cooperative Extension.
Fleming has made use of her bilingual skills to offer educational workshops in Spanish to the valley’s migrant population. Fleming also teaches nutrition lessons to children at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Alamosa, La Jara and Monte Vista, and a weekly nutrition demonstration at the San Luis Valley Farmers’ Market, where food vouchers are provided to people enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children programs and Head Start families.
"Mary Ellen is a true professional and firmly believes in delivering programming based on community needs. She provides a valuable cultural perspective for the team," said Christine Cerbana-Whaley, director of Colorado Family Education, Resources and Training program.