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Friday, July 31, 2015

Grand Challenges in Employee and Community Engagement

All of us face “grand challenges” in our personal lives from time to time — these are the serious, almost unsolvable problems that fundamentally change our lives. Over the last year, I had two of my own grand challenges — a bout with lymphoma and a granddaughter born six weeks early. The year brought lots of tough decisions for my family, but also great opportunities to experience success, healthy development and recovery, and resilience. Both of my challenges are in a good place today: I am six months into complete remission and Lucia celebrates her first birthday on August 2 as a developmentally on-time toddler.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Family Matters Lite: July

FD Accountant Betsy Leverty Retiring


With heavy hearts, we announce that Family Development's beloved accountant, Betsy Leverty, will be retiring on August 7.

Betsy started work with Family Development in August 2006, as we transitioned from being part of the College of Human Ecology administrative office to becoming our own Extension center. Betsy was instrumental in getting FD's fiscal processes up and running, standardized, and efficient. Prior to joining Family Development, Betsy worked for several different units, colleges, and departments at the University, including the College of Design, School of Architecture, and Payroll.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Participation Makes the Difference

“If we want people to be part of the solution, they must be part of the thinking,” said America Bracho, M.D., the executive director of Latino Health Access (LHA), a center for health promotion and disease prevention in Orange County, California. I heard those words last week, when I was privileged to join a group from Minnesota and Iowa that visited LHA. There, we learned how staff and volunteers implement LHA’s theory of change based on a foundational belief that everyone is a leader. Class participants are looked at not only as learners, but people who could be future promotores — change agents in their communities.

Word Matters: What’s in a Name—‘Children’ and ‘Youth’

Here’s a phrase I keep seeing when I edit public documents for Family Development: “children and youth.” Since part of my work is to look at things from the eyes of ordinary readers, I began to wonder what the difference in meaning between the two words might be.

My initial thoughts were that “children” refers to anyone from roughly toddlerhood to the pre-teen years and that children are a sub-set (or part) of “youth,” which also encompasses teenagers. That led me to ask, “Why not just say ‘youth’ in our public communications?” But then my thoughts turned to young adults. Aren’t they also called “youth” or “youths?” What’s more, would everyone understand that the term “youth” encompasses all three categories? Or is more specificity required?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My, How Things Have Changed!

Do you know what the machine pictured below is and what it was used for?

Mystery machine. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Until the early 1990s (in some schools and Extension offices even later), the mimeograph machine was the tool of choice to make copies of materials for classes and newsletters. An invention of Thomas A. Edison, the mimeograph machine made printed copies using typed stencil. My, how things have changed over the past 25 years!

Both the tools we use to create our learning resources and the way we carry out our work has changed.
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