June 23, 2010

Due to the positive impact her extension work has had on the community, a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service agent was named the Outstanding Woman of the Year by the Frankfort/Franklin County branch of the NAACP.

Tamera Bates Thomas, Franklin County family and consumer sciences extension agent, received her award June 19 during the organization's Annual Freedom Fund Banquet.

"These awards are given to people who help move the community forward," said Maria Bush, co-chair of the Freedom Fund Banquet and second vice president of the Frankfort/Franklin County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Since becoming an extension agent four years ago, Thomas has focused much of her energy toward teaching financial literacy to community members of all ages. Through partnerships with banking and housing professionals, she has conducted educational programs, such as Investing 101, R U Money Smart? and A Fresh $tart to Financial Wellness.

In addition, Thomas trains preschool professionals in Literacy, Eating, and Activity for Preschool and Primary Youth. She has also piloted several extension programs in the county including Taking Control of Your Diabetes, Raising Kentuckians and Home is Where the Health Is. She spearheaded a partnership between UK's Health Education through Extension Leadership program and Kentucky State University's Land Grant Program to bring the American Heart Association's campaign, "The Power to End Stroke," which promotes preventative health measures to Franklin County's African-American population.

She is currently working with a local minister and the Frankfort Career Development Center to teach incarcerated fathers how to become nurturing dads to their young children.

"It's an honor to be recognized by the NAACP in Franklin County, said Thomas. "I still have a lot of work to do, but it's nice that the work I've done thus far is getting recognized."

Prior to becoming an extension agent, Thomas worked for 28 years at Kentucky State University, most recently as the coordinator for nontraditional students.