A year ago, Jessica Fleck followed in the footsteps of her mother, Tammy Martin and joined NEP. For five years, Jessica observed her mother’s impact on the children of Tippecanoe County. In 2018, Tammy was featured in a video about the CATCH program. It can be viewed here!
“My mom’s career path 100% influenced me!” Jessica said. “I saw how passionate she was about her job and was amazed by the work she was doing/impact she was making in our community. When she first started, I knew that I would have loved to become a NEPA like her if the opportunity ever presented itself, and I am so thankful it did!”
Now, it is Tammy’s turn to be proud.
“I am so excited to be able to share my love for NEP with my daughter, Jessica,” Tammy said. “Being a NEPA allows us to share two of our passions, teaching and nutrition, with others. The special bonus for me is that when Jessica is teaching lessons, I get to spend time with Everly, 2, and Brooks, 4 months old, (Jessica’s children-my grands!).”
In what areas/counties do you work in? Tammy’s focus is Tippecanoe. Jessica works in Tippecanoe, Benton, Fountain, and Warren counties.
What age groups do you most often work with?
Tammy: During the school year, I share the CATCH curriculum with third grade students. However, summer programming includes students in grades third- eighth from local apartment complexes, Boys & Girls clubs, and community centers.”
Jessica: I mostly have been working with elementary school students and teens.
What is your favorite part about being a NEPA?
Tammy: Every time I enter a classroom, the excitement of the students makes my day. The students are eager to learn ways to make healthier food and exercise choices, as well as share stories about how they are making healthy food choices and exercise habitsn- not only for themselves but with their families as well. We are making an impact with each lesson we share!
Jessica: My favorite part of being a NEPA is that I have the opportunity every single week to have a positive impact on lives! I love that I get to teach people how to live healthy, strong lives and, due to teaching weekly, I get to hear how my lessons motivate my audience to make positive differences in their lives.
Do you have a success story you would like to share?
Tammy: Each week I check in with the students to see who attempted the “healthy challenge” I gave them the week prior. After the CATCH lesson on beverages there are two challenges: Challenge #1: check the labels on any juice bottles at home OR school to see if they say 100%. If the juice label says 100%, thank someone at home for choosing the best juice and show them where to look on the nutrition facts label for this information. If the label says anything less than 100%, teach them what you have learned in CATCH about where to look…
A student actually brought in the empty juice container to share with the class. She told them that juice was only 45% juice, and the container said fruit FLAVORED drink. She and her mom took a marker and had circled the information on the nutrition facts label. Later they went to the grocery store together and checked several juice labels to make sure her mom bought 100% orange juice! Another student saved her juice container from the school breakfast to show me and the rest of her class that the label said 100% apple juice. The rest of the students were excited to check it out themselves. Wow – I was IMPRESSED!
Jessica: Our goal was to “eat the rainbow” and include different colored fruits and vegetables during snack times. For that lesson, I offered a fruit tasting which included lots of different fruits/colors. The fruits included a mango slice, kiwi, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Many of the girls were excited because they had never tried mango, blackberries, and kiwi before.
I told them know many people tend to not buy fruits such as pineapples or mangoes because they are intimidating to cut. I recommended watching a video on how to cut them if they ever wanted to try them at home. When I checked in with the girls about their goals, several girls said they asked their parents/guardians to buy them specific fruits that they had tried during our snack the previous week. This made me so extremely happy!
One specific girl said she bought a mango and she used my tips on how to pick a ripe one and how to cut it, and it’s her new favorite snack. I was so thrilled to hear so many of the girls enjoyed my lesson so much and the lesson had such an impact on them already!
What are some of your personal interests?
Tammy: I love spending time with my family. My husband and I have six wonderful children and three grandchildren. I also enjoy cooking, walking/running/hiking, and traveling.Jessica: In my free time, I love spending time with my family! I have a daughter, Everly, who just turned 2 and a son, Brooks, who is 4 months old. We love going on walks, playing at the park, and really doing just about anything outside. Lately, my kids and I have been spending lots of time going on combine rides with my husband, Drake.