Families & Health

Kerri Wade Wade_Kerri

WVU Extension Agent –
Families and Health, Kanawha County

West Virginia University Extension Families and Health Agent Kerri Wade knows that a lifetime of passion can come from the simplest inspiration. For her, it started when she worked as an after school care program assistant with WVU Extension. Now, through her work as Kanawha County’s families and health agent, she helps the next generation of childcare providers find the same passion.

Since the population in Kanawha ranks among the state’s highest, Wade said that there are more child care centers in the area than anywhere else in the state, and the demand for high-quality child care is high.

“Our office provides educational programming for child care providers, usually courses that provide correct training for licensing requirements,” said Wade. “I’ve met inspirational, awe-inspiring people who are hardworking, committed and passionate about children. It’s a great feeling to be able to give them the tools they need to do their jobs better, and seeing the excitement on their faces when the learn something new they can do with the youth in the classroom brings me satisfaction,”

Wade, who is also a licensed social worker, educates on a variety of other topics, including literacy, diabetes, nutrition, healthy cooking and food preservation. A tough task in a county with a large and diverse population.

“Working in a high-population county like Kanawha can be a double-edged sword,” explained Wade. “There are more opportunities for beneficial partnerships to help get our name out there, but because members of the community aren’t fully aware of all the ways that we can help, we have to work extra hard to educate about the array of services we offer,”

“However, it’s rewarding to see WVU Extension’s mission working in the form of a ‘thank you.’ It might manifest in different ways—kind words from a community member who took a class we offered or children laughing and having fun reading during the Energy Express program, but I’m grateful for those moments when it comes full circle and you know that the hard work is appreciated,” said Wade.

In addition to her leadership roles in the county, Wade also oversees social work interns in the Kanawha County WVU Extension Service office.
“Mentoring those who are just beginning their careers is refreshing, it’s a great opportunity for me to step up and help inspire and impart passion in the next generation.” said Wade.

She received her master’s degree in social work from WVU and her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina.

To contact her call 304-720-9573, or email kerri.wade@mail.wvu.edu.