Extension administrators and educators wonder why low-income audiences refrain from participating or underparticipate in educational opportunities. This may be due to a gap between administrator or educator views of program participation barriers versus the lived experience of low-income audiences. Virginia Cooperative Extension worked to bridge this gap in perspectives by using Nutrition Program Assistants as a leverage point for recruiting and gathering authentic data on program participation from low-income individuals. Even though program assistants rarely serve in this role, their connection with low-income clientele and groups that serve them is invaluable for gathering authentic program data.

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