How many times have you spoken with a BronxWorks staff member and you can just see the passion for their work, their expertise, and their ambition, almost manifesting physically? It is what makes BronxWorks so important – our staff and their stories. In writing these profiles, we always ask our staff: “What motivates you?”
For Jairy Padro, Nutrition Educator for the BronxWorks SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention Program, her motivation is rooted in a personal experience. When Jairy was 11 years old, she had her gallbladder removed.
I had to change how I ate, but it was also a whole family effort. We had to change the way we cooked, to stop frying things. That’s when I started getting into nutrition and health. The doctors gave me a list of things I could eat, but I was unfamiliar with a lot of the items, so I had to do my own research.”
-Jairy Padro, Nutrition Educator, SNAP-Ed
Jairy was born in Puerto Rico and came to New York when she was three years old. She has lived in the Bronx ever since. Jairy earned her Bachelors Degree in Health Education and Promotion with a focus on Community Health and Nutrition from Lehman College. She originally joined the Community Health programs at BronxWorks in 2019 as an intern and was offered a full-time Nutrition Assistant position after she graduated.
When BronxWorks opened its SNAP-Ed program in November 2019, Jairy took on a Nutrition Educator position. She was a crucial part of the startup phase of the program, especially in March 2020 when New York State went into the PAUSE lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Jairy and the SNAP-Ed team had to confront the challenge of safely providing nutrition education amidst a global pandemic. The team quickly adapted to a virtual platform, creating videos and setting up virtual workshops.
These days, the BronxWorks SNAP-Ed program is back in the community offering live and in-person nutrition workshops. Jairy and the SNAP-Ed team employ a curriculum that targets school-age children, adult caregivers, and older adults. The goal of the program is to promote consumption of nutritious foods, decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened foods, increase physical activity, improve food management and preparation skills, and increase access to affordable and nutritious food options.
Farm stands are my absolute favorite. I love them because it’s time outside and we get to be creative with our curriculum and how we engage participants.”
You can typically find Jairy running nutrition and wellness workshops with partner programs at BronxWorks and organizations throughout the Bronx. She also hosts grocery tours at supermarkets and bodegas to show participants how they can shop for fresh and nutritious foods on a budget and gives cooking demos with fresh ingredients at the BronxWorks Farm Stands.
Outside of work, Jairy likes to try out many different hobbies. Last year she was into kickboxing, this year she is into salsa classes. She just bought a bike. Jairy loves working out at home and watching fitness videos or going out with friends, soaking in the sun, or watching the city skyline.