Cheryl Richardson weighs an infant at the WIC office in Shawnee.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Women, Infants, & Children program provides supplemental nutritious foods, health and nutrition education, referrals, and nutrition and breastfeeding counseling for more than 1,200 participants at its three permanent clinic sites and three mobile satellite sites in central Oklahoma. Heading up nutrition and breastfeeding education is Cheryl Richardson, who has worked for CPN for more than 25 years.
Richardson’s official title is WIC nutrition coordinator and breastfeeding coordinator; peer counselors and she began doing that in July 1988.
“I like educating and helping people better their lives,” said Richardson. “With a degree in nutrition, I knew I didn’t want to work in a hospital. I continue to choose to work for CPN WIC because I enjoy the participants and the changing challenges of the ever evolving WIC program.”
Cheryl consults with patients and informs them about their nutrition options, including breastfeeding and preparing meals from WIC foods. She has developed recipes and hosted cooking classes to demonstrate making the most of the food vouchers that WIC participants receive.
“A lot of my life and my heart have gone into this program over the years, and I hope it shows,” said Richardson. “It’s great to have a job and a paycheck, but at the end of the day, it’s nice to enjoy what I’ve done today and felt like I’ve made a difference to someone.”
Cheryl has also worked with other CPN health programs in the past to offer nutrition counseling. Cheryl earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Arts from Union Institute and University. She is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
“One thing I learned early working for WIC is that when it comes to their health, especially preventive-wise, people are in the driver’s seat,” added Richardson. “I can’t want something for them that they don’t want for themselves.”