UMES educator earns regional, local praise

By Gail Stephens
Posted 3/20/21

PRINCESS ANNE — Making an impact in the community through his professional and personal life is what drives McCoy Curtis Jr., especially in these challenging times — and it has not gone …

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UMES educator earns regional, local praise

Posted

PRINCESS ANNE — Making an impact in the community through his professional and personal life is what drives McCoy Curtis Jr., especially in these challenging times — and it has not gone unnoticed.

Mr. Curtis was honored on Martin Luther King Jr. Day during a “live” virtual celebration of the Tri-County MLK Coalition’s 36th annual banquet honoring their namesake. He was the Somerset County recipient of an achievement award presented to standouts in the area for their humanitarian services to the community.

The purpose of the event, according to the coalition’s president, Jesse Ballard, is to not only commemorate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday and the civil rights activities that he was known for, but to also recognize those currently working to “bridge the gap.”

“We want to recognize people in our community during this difficult year,” said Katrina Purnell, program coordinator for the event. “Tasks may have been hard, faith may have been tried, but they stood the test. We want to thank them for working in their communities all over the Eastern Shore and to let them know that we appreciate all the sacrifices that they have made for our community.”

Mr. Purnell introduced Mr. Curtis as an educator with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program who also gives of his time to the Garland Hayward Youth Center’s afterschool program in Princess Anne and to the community as founder and senior pastor of Restoration of Christ’s Kingdom Community Church.

In addition, he is the founder and director of Young Men of Distinction, a mentoring program for male students in grades 3-12 in Somerset County.

“One of my favorite quotes by Dr. King is, ‘The time is always right to do what is right,’” Mr. Curtis said. “I’m appreciative of this opportunity to be a blessing to the community, because that is the right thing to do. It’s never a wrong time to do the right thing for yourselves and for your community.”

In his post with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s EFNEP program at UMES, Mr. Curtis helps educate low-income populations on nutrition, safe food practices and healthy physical activity. According to EFNEP, low-income and minority populations disproportionately experience nutrition insecurity and accompanying poor health.

EFNEP is a federal extension program that operates through the 1862 and 1890 Land-Grant Universities, including UMES.

“Mr. Curtis is a selfless social worker and a great community leader,” said Dr. Virginie Zoumenou, the director of UMES Extension’s 1890 Nutrition and Health program. “He is a valued member of our programs, including EFNEP, the Family and Consumer Sciences program and the Well Connected Communities Initiative, and is well-deserving of the honors recently given him.”

Mr. Curtis was also a recent honoree of the Princess Anne Commissioners for his contributions toward community development activities.

— Gail Stephens it the agricultural communications and media associate at the UMES School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences.