Daisy Manriquez: Bridging Nutrition Education and Mental Health Support in Schools

Daisy Manriquez, LLMSW, is a Mental Health Clinician at Van Buren Intermediate School District (VBISD), working for Hartford Middle School. Daisy attended Western Michigan University as a first-generation college student, where she later obtained her bachelor’s degree in social work. During her last year at WMU, she interned at VBISD as a coordinated school health intern, where she had the opportunity to learn about the SNAP-Ed Project SHINE (formerly known as Project LEAN) Program. She developed an interest in expanding her experience in nutrition education, system-level change, and, most importantly, working with students. Daisy became a Nutrition Educator for the SNAP-Ed Project SHINE Program. Throughout her time with Project SHINE, she worked as a nutrition educator and Policy, System, and Environmental (PSE) Lead. Daisy worked in PreK-5th grade classrooms throughout the county, including the Project NOMAD Migrant Program, where she was once a student. During her time as a nutrition educator, Daisy taught nutrition education in various schools around the county. Daisy coordinated with grocery stores, pantries, corner stores, libraries, and other community partners to work on policy, system, or environmental changes focused on nutrition. A few years later, Daisy decided to return to school and pursue her master’s degree in social work. In 2023, she earned her master’s degree, and her career in the social work field began. She became a mental health clinician for VBISD. Daisy remembers her years with Project SHINE as “an extraordinary and valuable time to teach and encourage kids about healthy eating. Kids LOVE the Project SHINE program and get super excited to try new foods.”