Candace Russo, MS, is the Manager of the Healthy Youth Program. She has 20 years of experience in youth and family education and outreach, and has enjoyed gardening and healthy eating since she was a child. Candace started her work at the Healthy Youth Program in 2011 as the Garden Manager, sharing and exploring the process of “soil to seed to plate,” which highlights environment and lifestyle links between quality soils, nutrient-rich food, and healthy bodies. As Program Manager, Candace is committed to developing the belief of the Healthy Youth Program’s founder, Simone Frei, that “it takes a village” to fight childhood obesity and raise a community of healthy, happy, and active children. Candace strives to develop strength-based youth and family programs that support sustainable and long-term behavioral change, the foundation for the Healthy Youth Program’s core values. She also manages the three school gardens, and contributes art and design work.
Casey Bennett, MPH, is the Program Coordinator at the Healthy Youth Program. Her background is in food banking, developing programs to meet the food security needs of children and families. A passion for improving access to healthy, affordable food for low-income populations and supporting healthy and active lifestyles brought her to the Linus Pauling Institute. At the Healthy Youth Program, Casey coordinates OSU student interns and volunteers as well as supports the team in various capacities, from cafeteria research to program development, and helps with day-to-day, behind the scenes logistics so that all of our programs run smoothly.
Gerd Bobe, PhD, MPH, and MS, is the Faculty Advisor of the Healthy Youth Program. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in public health nutrition, specifically dietary disease prevention. His passion is to “translate scientific knowledge into healthy choices” and support people to be successful and achieve their goals. He works with the staff of the Healthy Youth Program to evaluate family and youth programs to better serve our communities and families. He believes that empirical and evidence-based theoretical approaches ensures better formulation and evaluation of effective and efficient health programs to influence health behavior among individuals and populations as “better theories lead to better practices”.
Julie Patterson Jacobs, BA, is a Nutrition Educator for the Healthy Youth Program. She has a background in teaching and mentoring children of all ages. Her nutrition education, through the Cleveland Clinic, led her to become a nutrition coach, which she has been doing since 2011. She is eager to combine these various skills into a single position as a Nutrition Educator. She enjoys sharing the principles of healthy living with others through the practice of healthy eating and exercise. Julie loves to play sports, like soccer, and hiking with her husband and dog. She is also a certified Zumba instructor, which keeps her moving and grooving every day! As a Nutrition Educator for the Healthy Youth Program, Julie is involved in educating children and families about healthy living using the evidenced-based nutrition research from the Linus Pauling Institute. She leads cooking classes at the programs' various garden sites and in the schools during the school-year. She loves cooking with the wonderful kids and families of this great community.
Toni Kessler, BS, is a Garden Educator at the Healthy Youth Program. She has a background in teaching Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) to middle school and high school students. As a FACS teacher, she discovered her passion for teaching young adults about cooking, nutrition, and life skills. However, she found the best way to do this was by gardening. So for the past three years, she has been teaching gardening/farming to disadvantaged youth in Oregon and Vermont. Her desire to share her knowledge and experience to youth brought her to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Nutrition Education Assistant
Bilingual Education Assistant
Garden Education Assistant
Outreach Volunteer Coordinator Assistant