FOSTORIA - Tracie Papenfus of Fostoria, a cook at the WSOS Child Development Center in Fostoria, was the October winner of the Spark Award. This award is presented to employees in the WSOS Early Childhood programs who demonstrate innovative and caring service to the children and families of the program.
Papenfus was nominated for her work to create meals that appeal to young children while being cost conscious. The 2012-13 school year brought many changes to the nutritional value of the children's menus. According to her peers, Papenfus took the extra step of researching and comparing products that would not only meet the new guidelines, but also would be attractive to the preschoolers.
Three preschoolers at the center have specific diets, so Papenfus educated herself about their needs and was diligent in preparing appropriate foods for the children. She even made detailed booklets on each child's meals to showed them pictures of what they could be served. Papenfus also included parents in her planning so that they can be excited about their child's preschool experience.
Papenfus, her husband Chuck, and three children live in Fostoria. WSOS Family Development Director Jacquie Wells recently presented the award to Papenfus, who was nominated by her peers for the honors.
"This recognition is a fitting tribute to Tracie's dedication to the families she works with every day at WSOS," Wells said.
Papenfus has been at WSOS for the past 15 years. She joined the agency as a bus monitor when her child was participating in the Head Start program. Later, she became a teacher assistant, then she took the cook's position at the center in Fostoria.
"This is just awesome," she said. "It's exciting, and I feel honored that my peers think so much of me that they chose to nominate me."