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Illinois Extension’s commitment to family life education grows with new staffer in northwestern region

Kara Schweitzer

STERLING, Ill. — The lifelong well-being of every Illinois resident is central to the Illinois Extension mission. In northwestern Illinois, a new educator has joined the statewide effort to provide programming that promotes positive health practices.

Kara Schweitzer is the new family life educator serving Carroll, Lee, Whiteside counties, and other areas of Northwest Illinois. She is passionate about providing educational programs and experiences to promote well-being for individuals and families throughout their lifespan. Kara’s interests include healthy aging, brain health, stress management, caregiving, and mindfulness.

County Director Karla Belzer notes that “Family life educators play a critical role in educating individuals and families about health and wellness across the life span. Helping people make better decisions that impact their overall well-being creates healthier individuals, families, and communities. Kara’s expertise and experience will undoubtedly enhance family life educational programming in our communities.”

Kara earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Saint Mary’s College in 2014 and a master’s degree in therapeutic recreation from The University of Iowa in 2016. She has maintained the certified therapeutic recreation specialist credential from the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification since 2016. She has also maintained the certified dementia practitioner credential from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners since 2020.

Before joining Extension, Kara worked as a recreational therapist in several healthcare and human service settings in Illinois and Indiana, including skilled nursing and memory care, inpatient and outpatient behavioral healthcare, and community special recreation. She has extensive experience developing and implementing educational and experiential programs for children through older adults to promote mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being.

In her free time, Kara enjoys spending time with her family and her dog, traveling, being in nature, crafting, and swimming.

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.