SAN LUIS VALLEY — Janae Naranjo, a 20-year resident of the San Luis Valley, recently joined the Colorado State University SLV Area Extension team as the new Family and Consumer Science Educator.
“Helping people will always be my passion," said Naranjo, "and I believe this work is an investment in the lives of others. I believe the power of education is limitless and I jumped at this opportunity to be the new family agent for CSU Extension because I believe I can develop education programs that will directly improve the quality of life of individuals and families in the San Luis Valley."
Naranjo will be providing educational workshops, seminars, and one-on-one consultations open to all SLV citizens in the areas of family health, family financial management, nutrition, food safety and food preservation.
Naranjo moved to the San Luis Valley after graduating from West Texas A&M University 20 years ago. She is a fifth-generation agriculturalist who grew up on the family ranch in northeastern New Mexico.
“We at CSU believe Janae is a great fit for our SLV Area Extension team and will create great value for Valley residents, not only because of her training and previous career experience, but also because of her core values,” SLV Area Extension officials stated.
Naranjo said, "Growing up 40 miles in the country required us to cook and budget. My mom gave me a lifelong gift when she passed down family recipes and traditions. She taught me how to cook and plan meals from scratch and how to effectively budget for those meals. More importantly, she taught me the value of preparing meals and sharing fellowship with those around your table. If you show up at my mom and dad's, you will have a homemade meal and the best glass of iced tea. Mom makes everyone feel like family. Because of this upbringing, I learned the true value of family, which developed into a passion for investing my time in anything that makes individuals, families, and communities flourish."
Naranjo also grew up in 4-H, primarily showing market steers and swine. She reflects fondly on the positive impact extension programs have had on her own life. She has continued those traditions with her own family. Her two girls love showing swine. Her family can be found in their pig barn during most of their free time.
Naranjo has served the past 16 years as a school counselor in both Del Norte and Sargent school districts.
When asked why she took this position, Naranjo said, "I have always wanted to help people, and not just help people, but really make a difference. As a mental health counselor and school counselor, I always told myself if I could help just one person and make a difference in one person's life, it would all be worth it. I will carry that same thought process into my new position and strive to make a truly positive impact on the lives of my neighbors in the San Luis Valley."
Naranjo can be reached at the SLV Area Extension office by calling 719-852-7381.