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The Work We Do: Kerri Reda, Cornell Cooperative Extension

My name is Kerri Kreh Reda. I’m a Human Development Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

This summer, I will have been here for 19 years.

My job is to use research-based information from the land grant system …and teach parents, grandparents and professionals about child development.

Some days, I might be out in the county, anywhere in the county, facilitating a parent education workshop. Those are usually held in schools, libraries, child care centers or other organizations that want to host us.

Some of the topics that I teach on are toilet learning, temperament, …temper tantrums, brain development, how screens and technology affect families … and that’s just to name a few.

When I’m not teaching, I may be either preparing for a program or developing a new one. As an Extension educator, it’s important I keep current on research. So I attend conferences, trainings and I do a lot of reading.

Children and health have always been something I’ve been interested in.

I have an undergraduate degree in human development, wellness and holistic health.

I have a Master’s degree in maternal and child health and health education. I was just lucky enough to find a career that lets me combine both of those.

Screen time happens to be one of my favorite topics to talk about.

When I first started, we had a program called taming the tube — to focus on how much time children were spending in front of the television. That has certainly evolved over the years.

It’s other screens  — we have so many of them now. And it’s evolving faster than the research can keep up with.

More recently, the research is looking at how parents use of technology is affecting young children in particular. It is having an impact on speech development.

The most rewarding part of this job is when parents tell me that I’ve made a difference in their life, or I’ve made a change for the better in a relationship they have with their children.

We have so much information on parenting and child development, so to be able to share that with people and help them put that into practice in their everyday life is really great. It’s really special.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers around the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview