University of Minnesota Extension
www.extension.umn.edu
612-624-1222
Menu Menu

Extension > Family Matters > 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

SNAP-Ed Community Partners Report Organizational and Environmental Change

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Nine months into their work, SNAP-Ed Community Partners are reporting changes in organizational practices, physical infrastructure, and target audiences’ behavior.

University of Minnesota Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Community Partnership Funding provides funds to 15 local, regional, and statewide agencies. In December 2015, partners were chosen to work collaboratively with SNAP-Ed staff to help bring about policy, system, and environmental changes using practical strategies to help break down barriers to healthy eating and active living. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is providing technical assistance to measure the results of the partners’ work.

Among the most significant successes reported in the third quarter report are eight organizational changes achieved by seven partners, including changing school wellness policies and expanding acceptance of EBT cards at farmers markets.

Designathon: Can You Go the Distance?

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

This December, teams from cooperative extension services across the country attended a 3-day eXtension Community Issue Corps “Designathon” in Detroit, MI to take good ideas and make them great ideas.

The eXtension Foundation announced the national launch of the Community Issue Corps last summer, which solicited proposals from eXtension Communities of Practice, Learning Networks, and User Communities interested in planning solutions to local issues in new and different ways. The Health Insurance Literacy team from the Financial Security for All Community of Practice, of which I am a member, submitted a proposal titled “Developing and Testing Mobile Delivery of Health Insurance Information.” Our proposal was one of ten accepted to be part of the Community Issue Corps 2016, so on December 7, we began the four-stage designathon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

All Good Things Must Come to an End

By Sara Langworthy, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

It’s with a mixture of emotions that I announce my departure from the Children, Youth and Family Consortium.

I have really loved my time working for CYFC. I’ve had some incredible experiences working on research involving state legislators, partnering with the Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul to develop trauma-sensitive learning spaces, and creating educational videos on topics like trauma and mental health. Working at CYFC has taught me the value of listening first, asking “How can I help?” next, and then rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. That perspective is something I will take with me as I move on the next phase of my career.

So what is next for me?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pilot PSS Program for Hmong Families Launched

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

This past fall, a team from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development got a grant to adapt a curriculum for Hmong families under the center’s Partnering for School Success (PSS) program. The new project, Hmong Families and Schools Partnering for Students’ Success, is being implemented in partnership with Hope Community Academy in St. Paul and Prairie Seeds Academy in Brooklyn Park. The project focuses on one of the major factors related to academic achievement for students: family support and involvement at school.

A Family Resiliency program team with the Department of Education identified interested schools, and formed a steering committee including key researchers, professors, and community experts in education and Hmong culture. A subcommittee will help to determine cultural adaptations and translation needs for the curriculum, which is based on another PSS component for Latino parents, a curriculum titled Education: Our Best Legacy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Yes, We Have No Banana

By Anita Harris Hering, Extension Educator — Military Families

Before I joined the Center for Family Development to work with military families, I worked in Extension Center for Youth Development (CYD). In my time with CYD, my colleagues and I wrote three booklets with reflection, evaluation, engagement, and leadership activities. Since the booklets were published, we have been giving presentations locally, nationally, and even internationally.


Image credit: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development. (2014).

Why reflection? For over 100 years, educators, philosophers, and practitioners have promoted reflection as an essential part of learning. American educational theorist David Kolb’s “Experiential Learning Cycle” includes reflection on the experience, and then application based on reflection.

Leaders of Food Systems Change Gather in Minneapolis

By Jamie Bain, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

On November 28 and 29, almost 80 food network leaders from across the state of Minnesota came together in Minneapolis to harness the power of connectivity and collaboration to implement Minnesota Food Charter strategies. The group was diverse, energized, and fully engaged. University of Minnesota Extension’s Health and Nutrition food charter engagement leads, along with a planning team of food network leaders and community partners, organized two days of radical learning, engaging activities, and meaningful networking.

‘We Are the People’

By Patricia Olson, Director of Program — Extension Center for Family Development

I was honored to be invited to November’s convening of food network leaders. One first presenters shared this African proverb: "If you want to go fast — go alone. If you want to go far — go together."

This proverb set the stage for my experience at the Convening of Food Network Leaders.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Registration Now Open for Local Foods College

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Now in its sixth year, Local Foods College is once again open for business.

Hosted by the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Local Foods College is a free series of eight sessions. The sessions are held via webinar and occur at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in January, February, and March. Topics covered this year will include soil health, raising poultry, and the Cottage Food law.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Think Regionally, Act Locally

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

Many have heard the phrase “Think globally, act locally.” In today’s column, we will “think regionally” as I share the results of the November meeting of the North Central Regional Family and Consumer Sciences program faculty, educators, and administrators.

First a bit of background.

Pulling Together to Build a Park in Milan

By Bonnie Christiansen, Regional Coordinator — SNAP-Ed

In the tiny town of Milan, MN, University of Minnesota Extension staff, residents, and a number of partners are working together to improve the community park.

Despite being home to only 369 residents, Milan has been the focus of much attention for several years, for a special reason. That same reason is why Extension Health and Nutrition staff chose Milan as one of three sites for its pilot projects supporting healthy living.

So what’s the special reason for all the attention? Milan’s unique make up.

Friday, December 2, 2016

FD Educator Awarded Grant to Continue Teaching Inmates

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Sarah Louise Butler, Dakota County financial empowerment Extension educator, was recently awarded a $1,000 grant to continue teaching Dakota County Jail inmates how to achieve financial stability as they re-enter society.

“I am honored by the nomination and the award,” Sarah said. “I love helping people discover within themselves the power to change their financial situations and to meet their goals, and this grant means I can keep doing just that.”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Racing for the Triple Crown of Financial Education

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

University of Minnesota Extension was well represented at the 2016 AFCPE® Research and Training Symposium this November in Louisville, Kentucky by both current Extension educators in Family Development who work in the area of financial capability and also several retired Extension educators who are still active in the field.

The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) annual symposium theme was “Racing for the Triple Crown: Achieving Accreditation, Educating Clients, and Changing Behaviors.” This theme was fitting as the conference was held in the home of the Kentucky Derby, one of the three thoroughbred races that comprise the American Triple Crown award. Furthermore, the focus on educating clients and changing behavior was relevant to the work that we do in the area of financial capability.

Here is an overview of what we presented, who presented it, why it’s important, and where on the FD website you can learn more.

Registration Now Open for Community Discussions on Transgender Issues

By Judy Myers, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Beginning January 2017, University of Minnesota Extension Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) will host free regional events for parents, educators, and professionals who work with families and youth to discuss how to meet the needs of transgender youth.

Visit Lessons from the Field: Families and Youth to register.

Transgender youth live throughout Minnesota, in rural and urban communities alike. And in both settings, they encounter challenges of homelessness, poor health and nutrition, abuse, and lack of necessary resources. CYFC educators and staff believe that addressing these issues is critical to improving both the health of transgender youth and the health of communities in which they live.

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work of Family Development staff and partners.

Apple Crunch Day at Laporte School

All the students and staff of the Laporte (MN) Elementary School — 345 in total — participated in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch Day on Oct. 13 in honor of National Farm to School Month. Everybody took a crunch out of an apple at 12:30 p.m. in solidarity with schools and other organizations in states surrounding the Great Lakes. Special guests included SNAP-Ed Educator Kathryn Lien.


A lesson in healthy cooking

A multi-session course at Albert Lea High School is seeking to educate members of the community on how to eat healthy foods on a limited budget. SNAP-Ed Educator June Sorenson partnered with the Statewide Health Improvement Program; Women, Infants and Children; and Head Start to deliver the classes.


How one St. Paul elementary school is building a trauma-informed learning environment

Scott Masini, principal of Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul, continually looks for resources to minimize the effects of trauma on students’ ability to learn. He’s made one connection with CYFC’s Judy Myers. She helped the school secure grant funding through Extension for projects to help students de-stress. Those projects include a calming room and a school garden.


Was your work highlighted in November by local media or were you quoted in story? Contact Michael Brott to share the news.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November Website Bytes

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Here’s news about what’s fresh on the Family Development website.

Party On


Our staff and educators have added so much great content to the Live Healthy, Live Well website that we in FD Communications spun off a section specifically for keeping an even keel and balanced budget during the holidays: Healthy Holidays.

New or revised articles include:


We extend much gratitude to Sharon Powell, Judy Myers, Heather Lee, Mary Vitcenda, and Ruth Ellis, as well as the Health and Nutrition review team for creating this content.

Monday, November 21, 2016

School Garden Coordinator Digs into New Role

By Judy Myers, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

As the new school garden coordinator for the Bruce Vento Elementary School garden in St. Paul, Kirsten Saylor has an interesting job. It involves integrating the garden into classroom curriculum, promoting healthy eating and access to healthy foods, and identifying collaborative opportunities to create and maintain the garden as an educational space.

Photo: Kirsten Saylor/LinkedIn

School gardens offer students opportunities to discover and explore nature and learn about healthy food sources, opportunities that Extension is uniquely suited to help expand and deepen. With help from Extension Master Gardeners, Bruce Vento students and their teachers have worked to plant vegetables and flowers, spread mulch, remove overgrown bushes, and start a pollinator garden. Nutrition educators from Extension's Health and Nutrition program teach parents and students how to make healthy choices.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Research Project Coordinator Joins FD

Alejandro Peralta Reyes has joined the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development as the research project coordinator for the Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behaviors project.

Alejandro, who came on board on October 31, is assisting with program development and maintaining partnerships in the community, among other responsibilities. His areas of focus are well-being, nutrition, exercise, diverse populations, and public health.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Be the Change You Wish to See

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

Ever since the election outcome became clear, I’ve contemplated what I’d say to you, the Family Development staff who work tirelessly to improve the lives of Minnesota families. Many were deeply disappointed, some were fearful about what the future holds, and others happy with the outcome. The election revealed a large group of Americans who want change from the status quo.

The lead-up to the election was bruising and divisive, and the future appears to hold more of the same. How do we move forward as individuals, as Extension employees, and as a society? These were the questions I asked myself. I have found no easy answers, but do have some ideas on where we begin.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Think Nationally, Act Locally: Families and Human Rights

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

This year’s annual National Council on Family Relations conference had the theme “Families and Human Rights: Promise and Vulnerability in the 21st Century.” This theme is relevant to the work we do every day in Family Development, and we were excited to have the opportunity to present our work to a national audience.

Here is an overview of what we presented, who presented it, why it’s important, and where on the FD website you can learn more.

Monday, November 7, 2016

How We Got Here and Where We’re Going

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

In a recent edition of Family Matters, Trina Adler, program leader in health and nutrition, exhorted us not to fly below the radar during times of budget scarcity, but rather to practice innovation. If you have not read her column, please do so now: Making Mistakes (or Pastries) in Times of Scarcity.

I bring up Trina’s column because on October 26, Family Development leadership conducted an FD Updates webinar on program business planning. When we introduced the program business planning process at Fall Program Conference last month, there were many questions that went unanswered on budget and other topics. We designed the webinar as an opportunity to answer those questions. If you were unable to view the webinar, you can find it here: FD Updates (sign in required).

Extension Launches New Website for School Success

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

This week, University of Minnesota Extension launched a website focused on children’s success in school.

Visit at z.umn.edu/schoolsuccess.

Families, schools, and communities all play an important role in how well children do in school, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Extension’s new School Success website offers the latest research and easy-to-use tools to support children's learning, for both parents and school staff.

“Strong partnerships between parents and school, and between schools and their communities, are the foundation for our children's success,” said Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension educator in family resilience.

Extension Opens Power of Produce (PoP) Grant Application

By Jessica Norman, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

On Monday, November 7, University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff released the Power of Produce (PoP) Grant Application. This grant is intended to provide farmers markets and partnering organizations with resources, funds, and technical assistance to implement the PoP Club at farmers markets statewide.

The PoP Club is a farmers market incentive program for children. Each week during the farmers market season, participating children receive a $2 token to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables and food plants. The goal of the PoP Club is to empower children to make healthy food choices independently.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bouncing Back with Laughter

By Mary Marczak, Director, Urban Family Development and Evaluation

“I decided I am going to be a prostitute!”

This declaration never failed to evoke a big belly laugh from my parents because it’s part of my very devout Catholic mom’s favorite joke: A daughter is telling her parents that she wants to be a prostitute. Her parents mishear and almost have a heart attack. After clarifying that she did indeed say “prostitute,” the punch line goes, “Oh, thank goodness — we thought you said ‘Protestant’!”

Humor and positive thinking has never been more important to your health than now. No matter who you are, collectively we are bruised from this brutal, negative election year.

Image credit: Whisper

Extension Receives CDC Recognition for Diabetes Prevention Program

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Last week, University of Minnesota Extension received recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for demonstrated effectiveness in delivering diabetes prevention programming.

Extension joins 82 other organizations with full recognition, only four of which are cooperative extension services. To receive full recognition, a program must demonstrate effectiveness through session attendance and documented weight loss. Over a thousand organizations deliver evidence-based type 2 diabetes prevention programs in communities across the United States and have applied for CDC recognition.

Metro Area Health and Nutrition Team Charts New Path

By Mary Marczak, Margaret Haggenmiller, and Cassie Silveira

This summer, the metro area Health and Nutrition (H&N) team engaged in a three-month strategic visioning process to reach consensus on how to prioritize programming and staffing, as well as streamline resources, to provide greater impact within communities experiencing the greatest health disparities.

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work Family Development staff members are doing.

Unbanked Hispanics Pay Steep Fees for Alternative Financial Services
Without bank accounts, Hispanics are left vulnerable to high-interest debt traps and miss out on credit-building opportunities. “They are discouraged very soon when they start to pay fees or struggle to maintain a minimum balance,” says Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension educator in family resiliency.


Roots, Shoots, and Boots coalition strives to make healthy food more available in Steele County
The ultimate goal of the Roots, Shoots, and Boots network is easy access to healthy food. SNAP-Ed Educator Andrea Kronbach helps facilitate.


Good Question: What Foods Should go in the Fridge?
Brandy Buro, a SNAP-Ed educator and registered dietitian nutritionist, gives guidance.

Was your work highlighted in October by local media or were you quoted in story? Contact Michael Brott to share the news. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

More than a Soil Test

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

At our school, the annual science fair is a big deal.

My 13 year-old daughter Fae had been mulling over her idea for months. Originally, she wanted to test whether a Wi-Fi network has an effect on plant growth. As with any research project, her first step was to find out what previous research has to say on this topic. However, Fae found very little research online or in books, so she asked her teacher. Her teacher recommended talking to an expert in field, perhaps someone from Extension. Lucky for Fae, I work for Extension and had the inside scoop on someone she could talk with — Sam Bauer, Extension educator in horticulture.

Fae sent Sam an email with her questions, and he conferred with his colleagues, then explained to Fae the difficulty of controlling for all possible variables to really be able to know the true effect, if any, of a Wi-Fi network on plant growth. Sam offered an alternative idea: testing how varying soil temperatures affects plant growth.

Opening (More) Doors with Higher Education

By Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

This summer, Silvia Alvarez De Davila and I, Extension educators in family resiliency, trained three Extension bilingual educators on the Latino Financial Literacy Team in Open Doors with Higher Education, the Extension program for Latino parents and high school students.

Because of this summer’s training session, more Latino parents, caregivers, and children in Minnesota will be exposed to the benefits of the Open Doors program. I expect that in 2017, we five Open Doors educators together will teach the series to about 100 families.

The Open Doors with Higher Education program is a culturally sensitive series of seven, 2-hour sessions that empower Latino parents to support their children to graduate from high school and attend postsecondary school.

CYFC Team to Take Lessons from the Field on the Road to Address Transgender Youth Issues

Judy Myers, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Beginning in January 2017, the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) will host a number of Lessons from the Field seminars on the topic of transgender youth, featuring CYFC's resident visiting scholar.

Transgender youth live throughout Minnesota, in rural and urban communities alike. CYFC educators and staff believe that addressing the issues that transgender youth face in Minnesota is critical to improving both their health and the health of communities in which they live. CYFC is in a unique position to address these issues in collaboration with our Scholar in Residence, Jenifer McGuire, Ph.D.

Transgender Youth: Breaking Down the Challenges

By Judy Myers, Extension Educator — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Imagine that you are an adolescent who feels unsafe everywhere you turn — at home, at school, and in your community. This is the situation for many transgender youth who are at higher risks for homelessness, abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and suicide than other gender nonconforming young people.


What are the physical and mental health risks that transgender youth confront and how “big” of an issue is this?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Promoting Good Health Through Physical Activity in Rochester

By Milena Nunez Garcia, SNAP-Ed Educator

Good things are happening at the Oak Terrace Estates and Parkside mobile home communities in Rochester, MN.

Back in 2015, I started a community exercise program that brought together community leaders, as well as community agencies and businesses to offer residents the opportunity to be more physically active with others in their neighborhood. University of Minnesota Extension, Olmsted County Public Health Services (working through the Statewide Health Improvement Program), the RNeighbors Neighborhood Resource Center, and Riverstone Communities are some of the organizations that collaborated in this effort. We, the partners, included residents in the planning and implementation of this project. They assisted in the promotion and recruitment process, determined the class schedule, arranged child care, and kept the shared community room clean.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Employee: Grant Accountant

By Madonna Monette, Finance Director
 
Please join me in welcoming Irina Cherevatsky, our newest grant accountant. Irina comes to Extension with 13 years of experience at the University of Minnesota. She was most recently with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences as a finance professional in the college’s financial cluster team serving three departments.

Irina is a certified approver and will have the portfolio of serving Extension's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed), the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, and various Extension administration grants. Irina started her position with Extension on October 10 and her primary office is in 415 Coffey Hall.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Making Mistakes (or Pastries) in Times of Scarcity

By Trina Adler, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

June Cleaver I am not.

I love to cook and bake, but I rarely have time to do so. I often leave the house for work at 5 a.m. and don’t return until 6 p.m., and can only manage about 2 hours of productive time to put some supper on the table, help with homework, debrief with my kids about their days, and throw a load of laundry in before collapsing in my bed.

When my son asked me recently to make kolache for his class report on the Czech Republic (hoping to earn some extra credit by bringing in this Central European sweet bread), I weighed the scarcity of my time and need for sleep against his pleading eyes. And I stayed up to make the pastries.

The Crunch Heard ‘Round the Lakes

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Over 1 million people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio bit into locally grown apples at noon on Thursday, Oct. 13 during the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Partnering for School Success Team Receives Dean’s Diversity and Inclusion Award

This October, University of Minnesota Extension Dean Durgan honored the Partnering for School Success team with the Dean’s Diversity and Inclusion Award.

L to R: Dean Durgan, Kathleen Olson, Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Patrick Jirik,
Patricia Olson, Mary Marczak, Karen Shirer, Antonio Alba Meraz

Friday, October 7, 2016

Latino Financial Literacy Newsletter Now Available

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

The September–October issue of the Latino Financial Literacy Team Newsletter is now available, both as a PDF and on our Live Healthy, Live Well blog.

You can download a PDF version of the entire issue in English (6.8 MB PDF) or Spanish (5.1 MB PDF), or click on a link below to view (and share!) the blog posts.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Moving from 'What's Wrong with You?' to 'What Happened to You?'

Makshita Luthra — Graduate Research Assistant, Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. It is often linked to unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. Another significant factor associated with obesity in children and adolescents are “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines ACEs as childhood experiences, both positive and negative, that have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, as well as lifelong health issues, including obesity. University of Minnesota Extension’s Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) focuses on ACEs, as well as AFEs (more on those later) in its work with obese children and adolescents.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work Family Development staff members are doing.

Growing a movement - Local food hub connects people with what they eat
The Live Better Live Longer Eat Smart community outreach program in Little Falls includes a free, bi-weekly community-supported agriculture (CSA) share for participating families. These CSA shares provide fresh local produce directly from farmers to consumers, and to help participants use the produce, SNAP-Ed Educator +Elizabeth Quillo leads cooking classes and demonstrations.


Growing connections with Guatemala: Delegation tours area schools
A group of eight Guatemalan state officials toured Minnesota schools’ food services in September to get ideas they can implement in their home country. The group made several stops in the Bemidji area. Family Development staff, including Health and Nutrition staff members, organized the tour.


Bemidji Schools Host Guatemalan Visitors
This Lakeland Public Television segment features FD’s eight Guatemalan guests, as well as Health and Nutrition Program Leader +Trina Adler.


Food served by Owatonna Public Schools continues to get more local and healthy
October is Farm to School month, a time to celebrate connections between children and local food, and Owatonna’s public schools continue to seek avenues for more local food that can buttress the district’s already-healthy daily meal offerings.


Was your work highlighted in September by local media or were you quoted in story? Contact Michael Brott to share the news.

Monday, October 3, 2016

On Parachutes, Grizzly Bears, and Tree Trunks

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

The start of fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year for those of us who love the four seasons of the Great Plains. However, it is also one of the busiest time of the year for work and family life. For me, travel both in and out of state to meetings picks up dramatically. Over the last two months, I’ve taken three noteworthy trips.

Last week’s edition of Family Matters highlighted Congressman Tom Emmer’s participation in a Cooking Matters® Minnesota class for youth in Big Lake. I also attended this class and had the opportunity to see Cooking Matters in action as well also to talk about SNAP-Ed and other Family Development programs with the congressman and his aide.

Friday, September 30, 2016

SNAP-Ed Community Partners Set the Stage for Systems Change

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

At the halfway point of their work, SNAP-Ed Community Partners are reporting changes in organizational practices, public policy, and target audiences’ behavior.

University of Minnesota Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Community Partnership Funding provides funds to 15 local, regional, and statewide agencies. Extension's SNAP-Ed work helps make the healthy choice the easy choice for Minnesotans with limited financial resources. In December 2015, partners were chosen to work collaboratively with SNAP-Ed staff to help bring about policy, system, and environmental changes using practical strategies to help break down barriers to healthy eating and active living. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is providing technical assistance to measure the results of the partners’ work.

Among the most significant successes reported in the halfway report are eight organizational changes achieved by seven partners across the state — changes that include expanding acceptance of EBT cards at farmers markets and increasing access to public green spaces. One partner influenced a public policy change in one community that resulted in local government creating space for a farmers market and community gardens.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parents Forever™ Courses Earn High Marks from Participants

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor

University of Minnesota Extension’s Parents Forever™ courses have earned high marks from participants, according to the recently released 2015 Parents Forever™ Annual Report. The report summarizes responses to surveys from 2,164 individuals who participated in Parents Forever™ online and in-person courses in 2015.

Visit http://z.umn.edu/pf2015 for the full report.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Next Best Thing to a Secretary of the Future

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs — Extension Center for Family Development

As many of you commute to work or drive to work locations, you may also listen to America Public Media’s radio show Marketplace. During this election year, Marketplace has been considering the idea of having a new cabinet position, Secretary of the Future. This position would address long-term opportunities and threats. The person appointed would be commissioned to think beyond a single federal budget or election cycle.

Image credit:

This is not such a far-flung idea.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Extension Launches New Website for Food Shelves

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

This week, University of Minnesota Extension unveiled a new website that will help make the healthy choice the easy choice for food shelf operators and clients.

Visit the website here: http://z.umn.edu/bbfs

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cooking Matters Class Welcomes Congressman

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate
 
Last month, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-6) visited a Cooking Matters® Minnesota class at Big Lake Food Shelf in Big Lake, Minnesota.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Starting with a Story

By Sharon Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

“I start my classes with a story.”

This is one person’s reflection on how their work has changed as a result of the 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development Conference. Many other comments mentioned listening to stories, telling “my” story, listening to others, and taking time to make connections.

FD Welcomes New Office Support Assistant

Anna B. Alba joined the Applied Research and Evaluation Team as an office support assistant in July. She previously worked as a clerk in district courts in Hennepin and Ramsey counties and a family advocate at Casa de Esperanza, based in St. Paul.

Anna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Please welcome Anna to Family Development!

September Website Bytes

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Here are the top three new web developments that you need to know.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shifting Gears and Making Plans

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

For many of us, autumn brings cheering on our favorite football teams, sitting by the fire on cool and mosquito-free evenings, and appreciation for the many colors of changing leaves. My favorite activity is watching the hummingbirds make their final preparation to migrate south by eating at our feeders.

July 20 - Caught in flight
Photo credit: Pat Kight

Educator Represents Extension and SNAP-Ed at Winona Summer Lunch Event

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor

SNAP-Ed Educator Annette Shepardson was on hand last month when USDA and Congressional officials visited Winona's Summer Lunch Bus program. Annette discussed the important work of SNAP-Ed and University of Minnesota Extension with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and his assistant Peder Kjeseth; with Katie Wilson, USDA deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; and with Julie Mikkelson, USDA director of the Food and Nutrition Service Midwest Special Nutrition Division in Chicago.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Urban Extension Conference Comes to Minnesota in 2017

Save the Date!


The 2017 Urban Extension Conference will take place May 8–11, 2017, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Mall of America and will be hosted by University of Minnesota Extension. Connect with colleagues working in urban areas while attending presentations, workshops, local tours, networking events, and an evening at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Visit the conference Google site for more information.


Presentation Proposals Due September 30, 2016


The 2017 Urban Extension Conference planning committee invites you to share innovative educational strategies and research related to the conference theme Engaging in Collective Purpose — as applied to meeting the needs of urban populations. Proposals for presentations, workshops, posters, and panels that highlight research and/or outreach activities that involve partnerships between practitioners and Extension professionals are encouraged.

Proposals are due Friday, September 30, this year. Read the entire call for proposals and submit your ideas on the conference Google site.

Welcome to New FD Staff Members

Welcome New Member to Family Resiliency Program

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

I’m pleased to welcome Veronica Deenanath to our Family Development — Family Resiliency (FR) program. Veronica is joining the Applied Research and Evaluation team to support our FR programming. A majority of her time will be spent helping to manage the Parents Forever™ project, but she will also support other FR projects as needed.

Veronica is a doctoral student in the University of Minnesota Department of Family Social Science. She has been a student at the University for almost 10 years working on her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and now her doctoral degree.

Veronica’s research interests focus on first-generation college student success, immigrant families, financial capability, and money management. She is passionate about applying research to help communities and is very excited to be working in Extension. Veronica’s hobbies include spending time with family, cooking, baking, and watching international movies.

Please join me in welcoming Veronica to our team!

New Graduate Research Assistant Joins ARE Team

Please welcome Patricia (Patty) Arellano who joined Family Development’s Applied Research and Evaluation team as a graduate research assistant on August 29. Before coming to Extension, Patty worked in clinical nutrition in private and public hospitals in Mexico City focusing on nutrition’s role in preventing disease. Patty also worked with low-income communities in Mexico as a health and nutrition advisor.

Patty earned a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and is pursuing her master’s degree in nutrition at the University of Minnesota.

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work Family Development staff members are doing.

Grant aimed at establishing Farmers Market a 'destination'
Extension staff assisted Farmers Market Manager Brenda Kent in obtaining a grant from the Northwest Regional Sustainable Partnership for funding to pay musicians and physical activity instructors for a portion of the weekly farmers market in Park Rapids. SNAP-Ed Educator Donna Anderson partnered with the Park Rapids Farmers Market to demonstrate recipes with samples of the local foods and to lead shopping tours each month.

USDA Under Secretary visits Winona's Summer Lunch Bus program
SNAP-Ed Educator +Annette Shepardson was on hand to talk to USDA Under Secretary Katie Wilson, Ph.D. and U.S. Representative Tim Walz about the work of SNAP-Ed and University of Minnesota Extension at a summer event in Winona.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Courage to Converse: Psychology and Public Health Meet in the Heart

By Sarah Cronin, Graduate Research Assistant — Family Development

I live in two worlds – psychology and public health.

In the world of psychology, I work with individuals as they overcome their deepest pains. My doctoral training has led me to community settings where I’ve served children and families affected by early childhood trauma and attachment disorders. I currently work part-time at a college counseling center where I counsel college students who experience challenges such as acute anxiety, family issues, sexual assault, or severe mental health diagnoses.

My clients are no different than you and I. We are all human. Their pains are our pains – we all have struggles that are hard to talk about, hard to share. We feel shame from our past. I sit with my client’s shame every day in order to help them heal.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Family Development Lands Three Issue Area Grants

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

This summer, three Family Development staff members received Extension Issue Area Grants to further work in Minnesota communities.

Issue area grants were created to support cross-disciplinary work, increase external visibility, and demonstrate Extension's comparative advantage in addressing complex issues, such as promoting youth educational success and food systems. The three proposals accepted in this round are the following.

Upload Your Work for Posterity and Discoverability

By Emily Becher, Research Associate — Applied Research and Evaluation

The other day, Program Leader Mary Jo Katras and I got to talking (as we do) about how awesome it would be if we had a place to save conference presentation posters and papers from across Extension Center for Family Development. This way, we could have a historical record of what we’ve done and also see the great work our colleagues are doing.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the University of Minnesota Library System already does this!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Check Out Resources and Research on Trans Youth


By Jessica Barnes, Communications Associate
 
The 2016-2017 CYFC Scholar in Residence Program is focused on trans youth and their needs, strengths, health, and family and community connections. As part of this work, Derek Mahan, a graduate research assistant with the program, has compiled a list of local resources and related research on trans youth.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Courage to Converse: Why I Vote

By Jennifer Garbow, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

American Indians call this continent on which we live Turtle Island. Originally, Ojibwe people lived on the east coast of what is now called the United States. Then a prophecy came that instructed the people to migrate west. The Ojibwe people traveled up the Saint Lawrence River around the Great Lakes and followed rivers and lakes inland until we came to the place where the food grew on the water. This is how we arrived in Minnesota and why wild rice, manoomin, is considered a sacred food and an important part of Ojibwe life and culture.

Canoe and Minnesota wild rice
Canoe and Minnesota wild rice
Photo credit: Eli Sagor

At the 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development Conference, America Bracho, M.D., engaged us in a large group activity. She asked a question about our identity and we clustered in different groups based on how we self-identified. To a question of where our parents were born, I stood in a small “other” group.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Family Development Hosts Visitors from Guatemala

By Trina Adler, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition

Last month, University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development (FD) was chosen to host a delegation of officials from Guatemala who want to learn how to improve school food programs. The delegation will visit the United States for two weeks this September.

With the support of Extension’s Director of Global Initiatives John Vreyens, FD’s Director of Programs Trish Olson, myself, and many others collaborated to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Foreign Agricultural Service with a proposed schedule of visits, meetings, demonstrations, and training opportunities in both Washington, D.C. and Minnesota. FD’s application was accepted in late July, and we are now in the process of confirming the schedule of events.

Nudging to Health

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

A team of Health and Nutrition educators at University of Minnesota are rolling out a new food shelf partner education workshop, called Nudging to Health: Promoting Healthy Choices at Your Food Shelf. This workshop is one of three available to help food shelf staff in Minnesota achieve better outcomes for their clients.

Many food shelves have a client-choice model, in which the facility is set up like a grocery store. Clients walk through the aisles with a grocery cart and select items they need and will use. This model allows clients greater freedom, which can leave less desirable but more nutritious items on the shelf.

This is where nudging comes in.

Why? Yes, and…

By Renee Obrecht-Como, Program Operations Director — Health and Nutrition

“Why?” It’s such a deceptively simple question. When uttered over and over by a three-year-old trying to understand their world, it’s also a question that can wear down even the most patient parent, grandparent, or aunt (like me). The call-and-response of “why… because” sometimes ends with an adult saying, “because I said so.” Sound familiar?

Last week, a group of Family Development administrators participated in a training that included a strategy called The 5 Whys. The 5 Whys strategy illustrates the power of the classic repetitive questioning technique used by three-year-olds.

The 5 Whys is used as a way to get at root causes of a dilemma — by asking “why?” at least five times, you’re more likely to uncover the root causes. Our trainer, Kim Boyce (retired from Extension after a career in Community Vitality and Field Operations), gave the example of the Jefferson Memorial.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding Assets in Earwigs


By Beth Labenz, SNAP-Ed Educator

This is my first year growing my very own garden. This is also my first year with University of Minnesota Extension. It is not a coincidence that both of those firsts occurred at the same time.

Last September, I decided to accept a position as a SNAP-Ed educator and move back to my rural, Southwest Minnesota farming community. That meant that I was moving back as a single twenty-something (yes I can still say “twenty-something” for one more year), back to my family farm and into my parents’ basement. After discussing so many community garden projects at various community meetings, I decided to embrace farm life and start my own garden. I had space. I had seeds. I even had some know-how, thanks to Extension’s Garden website. I had everything I needed to begin this journey of becoming a gardener.

Or so I thought.

Lowering Walls and Welcoming Each Other


By Emily Becher, Research Associate — Family Development

Creating company culture in the workplace isn't just about adorning your walls with the company logo or painting everything in the same brand colors. It's about creating a unique yet unified environment that will reflect your company and its team.

This summer, the office space that Family Development’s Applied Research and Evaluation Team calls home, Room 495 in Coffey Hall, underwent a dramatic transformation.

Partnership with Pediatric Clinics Supports Food Security

By Evalyn Carbrey, Regional Coordinator — SNAP-Ed

Cecilia DiCaprio, a University of Minnesota Extension SNAP-Ed educator, is teaching nutrition classes to low-income families at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) as part of a larger effort to better serve Minnesota children and their families who are experiencing food insecurity.

Last December, the Minnesota Academy of Pediatrics Foundation received a SNAP-Ed Community Partnership grant. Through this grant, SNAP-Ed staff members are working with four community pediatric clinics, including HCMC, in the Twin Cities metro area that serve a large number of SNAP or SNAP-eligible patients. The purpose of the partnership is to support policy, system, and environmental (PSE) changes in food insecurity identification and referrals at the clinics so that the changes are sustainable. The participating clinics have committed to screening families for food security during regular pediatric visits and referring families who are experiencing food insecurity to SNAP-Ed classes and other local food and nutrition programs so their children can gain access to and eat healthier foods on a limited budget.

And this is where Cecilia comes in. Cecilia has been working with HCMC to teach Cooking Matters® Minnesota classes to low-income families. The first class of six families was so well received by HCMC patients, staff and clinicians that HCMC has now partnered with Extension to provide two more Cooking Matters® classes in Spanish for additional families. Cecilia also will soon start more Cooking Matters® classes at pediatric clinics in Maple Grove and St. Louis Park.

For more information about SNAP-Ed community partners, visit http://z.umn.edu/cpf15.

FD Staffers Attend Midwest Summit on Online Learning

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

To help the Center for Family Development increase its capacity and knowledge base for online learning, five FD staff members attended the Minnesota eLearning Summit in Minneapolis last week. The two-day conference, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the University of Minnesota, was attended by over 400 educators, developers, innovators, and presenters from around the Midwest. The 80 concurrent breakout sessions focused on blended, flipped and digital learning tools, resources, services, and best practices for online learning.

Asked to give one- (or two-) word reflections on their conference experiences, FD staffers said, “back to the fundamentals,” “learner engagement,” “innovative,” “possibilities,” and “informative.” Keep an eye out for the innovative ways these folks will apply what they learned to our work in Family Development.

FD staff members who attended the Minnesota eLearning Summit, from left:
Lori Hendrickson, Ruth Ellis, Sharon Powell, Ellie McCann, and Dung Mao.

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work Family Development staff members are doing.

Your Money, Your Goals Training Coming Up in Worthington
Financial Capability Educator Jose Lamas will offer "Your Money, Your Goals" training on August 16 in Worthington to instructors, caregivers, and frontline staff helping individuals and families improve their financial management skills. Students will receive information and resources on financial empowerment, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau toolkit, that they can pass on to their clients.


Cooking Matters Classes for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Kids Wrap Up in Owatonna
Extension just wrapped up a six-week series of Cooking Matters classes for Big Brothers and Big Sisters participants in Owatonna. SNAP-Ed Educator Andrea Kronbach joined Owatonna Hy-Vee Chef Jorge Delgado to help kids learn to cook simple, tasty dishes using healthy foods — especially fruits and vegetables.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Courage to Converse: ‘The Girls All Seem Happy’

By Alica Whitmore, SNAP-Ed Educator

How do I fully do my job in a community? A community in southwestern Minnesota that I enjoy, and where I recently purchased a home, but in which I still feel like an outsider?

I feel it when people ask at the hardware store, “Where is your husband? Are you picking up supplies for his next project?” I was tired and had my Extension polo on, so I smiled and walked away.

Consulting with the Community


By Evalyn Carbrey, Regional Coordinator — SNAP-Ed

The Urban Farm and Garden Alliance (UFGA) and University of Minnesota Extension are partnering to build community and consult with residents of the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods in Saint Paul.

Founded in 2014, the UFGA is an alliance of eight urban and community garden in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods of Saint Paul. This group meets regularly to discuss issues such as land access and land tenure, host workshops, support each other in gardening through sharing of resources, and seek out grant opportunities.

Extension Partner Receives Two-Year Grant to Design Healthy Eating Spaces

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Last week, Abi Asojo, Ph.D., professor of interior design at the University of Minnesota College of Design received word that her application for a two-year grant from Extension to redesign the dining hall space at a Saint Paul elementary school was approved.

Over the past year, University of Minnesota Extension’s Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) and the College of Design’s interior design program have been working in partnership with Bruce Vento Elementary School in the Saint Paul Public Schools district to create environments that foster student learning and well-being.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Considering Historical Trauma When Working with Native American Children and Families

By Mina Blyly-Strauss, Research Assistant — Children, Youth & Family Consortium

I came to my CYFC graduate assistant position as an educational professional whose early work was with Native American teenagers. This is a demographic group often noted for some of the largest educational and health disparities in the state of Minnesota. More recently, I have focused on early childhood as a critical time to interrupt cycles of recurring disparities and to start healthy developmental trajectories.


What We Know


Historical trauma has been defined as a "cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma experiences" (Brave Heart, 2007, p. 177). For Native American populations, examples of such massive group trauma experiences have included being pushed off homelands, massacred, and forcibly confined to reservations. Often in collusion with law enforcement and child welfare agencies, children as young as three years old were forced to attend government-sponsored boarding schools where they were separated from familial caregivers for extended periods of time. The goal of these schools was, as Richard Henry Pratt of Carlisle School is often quoted, to "kill the Indian, save the man."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Courage to Converse

By Mary Marczak, Director of Urban Family Development and Evaluation

Over the three days of the 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development Conference last week, we heard from some amazing speakers. But I found the greatest moments of inspiration — the ones I call “goose bumpy” moments — came from our own staff. Joyce’s challenge to us not to minimize people’s experiences by using sanitized language, like the word “incident” instead of “murder.” Jose’s humbling story of poverty and homelessness, and his show of grace in telling the story and expressing gratitude to work in Extension. Noelle’s impassioned plea for us not to ignore systemic racism and injustices in our own organization.

Word Matters: Searching for the ‘Right’ Words

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor

As an editor with Family Development, I spend many hours searching for words. I don't always succeed in finding the "right" word — the "best" word — to express my own and others’ thoughts. But I try, because word choice is critical to clear communication.

I was reminded of that principle at last week's 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development Conference. And more than that, I was reminded of the importance of word choice in building community — because words can either bring us together or push us apart.

I’d like to highlight two moments of the conference that stood out for me.

Two Long-time Family Development Team Members Move On

We recently bid farewell to two Family Development staff members: Sharon Danes and Fay McLain.

Sharon Danes, Ph.D., professor and family economist, retired this summer from the University of Minnesota after a long and illustrious career with the Department of Family Social Science and with University of Minnesota Extension. She received many awards and distinctions throughout her career, including the Hubler Award for Excellence in Service to Family Businesses for her research, teaching, and consulting on family business disciplines. She also received the International Family Enterprise Research Academy Fellow designation, the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award, and the Epsilon Sigma Phi (Pi Chapter) Distinguished Team Award for Educational Response to Families’ Financial Situations After a Natural Disaster.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Partnering for Better Health in Saint Paul

By Evalyn Carbrey, Regional Coordinator -- SNAP-Ed

This summer, University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff members are partnering with resident councils and staff at a Saint Paul public housing site, Dunedin Terrace, to assemble an advisory board to build leadership within the community and begin a dialogue about how the University can work with residents to increase their access to healthy foods and improve their health overall.

Dunedin Terrace is a Saint Paul Public Housing Agency development that includes both a "hi-rise" apartment building and 22 two-story fourplex townhome buildings. The hi-rise is home to a predominately senior population, while the townhomes include mostly families with young children.

The community advisory board that the Dunedin Terrace resident councils and staff are convening in collaboration with Extension will identify ways to increase access to healthy foods and discuss other ways to promote health in the community. The board will also conduct a community audit to look at barriers to healthy food access.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

‘And Justice For All’

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean — Family Development

University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development is an institution that administers a U.S. Department of Agriculture program — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education, or SNAP-Ed. As such, our SNAP-Ed educators are required to display an “And Justice For All” poster whenever they teach a class or set up a food demonstration.

half of the USDA "And Justice For All" poster
Image: Food and Nutrition Service/USDA

The poster has directions for filing a complaint alleging discrimination by "the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs." (Read the full USDA Information Statements.)

But what do you do when that which is committing discrimination isn't a person, or even an institution?

‘Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn’

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

As the workshop descriptions and speaker biographies for the 2016 Qualey-Skjervold Professional Development Conference flow in, I get increasingly excited for the three days we will be spending together next week. Here are a few snippets of what’s in store.

Understanding the Power of GIS Mapping

By Nicole Helgeson, GIS Research Assistant — Health and Nutrition

GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, is the combination of computer hardware, software, personnel, and procedures that is capable of holding and using data to describe places on the earth’s surface. More importantly, it is a resource to store data from which you can create a map to suit a particular purpose, thereby creating the ability to quickly simplify and display otherwise complex information.

Image: What is GIS?/CDC

It is important to have a basic understanding of GIS and its role in producing maps to understand the large amounts of data that are collected among different projects and initiatives. Where is it? What has changed since…? What patterns exist between…? GIS exists to help us answer and effectively communicate these and other questions.

Kirsten Saylor Joins FD as School Garden Coordinator

By Margaret Haggenmiller, Associate Program Director — SNAP-Ed Metro

Photo: Kirsten Saylor/LinkedIn
Kirsten Saylor recently joined Family Development as a school garden coordinator, a new, year-long position in which she will work with staff, students, and parents affiliated with the Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul. She also will work with staff of FD’s Children, Youth & Family Consortium, which partners with the school in the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners project.

Kirsten’s responsibilities at Bruce Vento include helping teachers integrate participation in school gardening activities and ideas for healthy eating into classroom curricula, as well as collaborating with school cafeteria staff to advance healthy eating in a calming, communal space. She also will coordinate cooking classes for parents and students that use foods grown by students in the schoolyard garden, as well as foods that Second Harvest Heartland delivers to families at the school.

Welcome to New EFNEP Regional Coordinator Amanda Vanyo

By Cassie Silveira, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

Amanda Vanyo joined Family Development as a regional coordinator with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) on June 27. Amanda comes to Extension from Minneapolis-based Park Nicollet Health Services, where she most recently worked at the Melrose Center for treatment of eating disorders. She has 16 years’ experience as a clinical dietitian.

Amanda is working out of Hennepin County and has assumed responsibilities previously handled by Fay McLain, who retired July 1 after nearly 28 years with Extension. Amanda joins Christine Navarro as one of two regional coordinators for EFNEP. Welcome Amanda!

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work Family Development staff members are doing.

Making Money Work
Shawna Faith Thompson, Extension educator in financial capability, was a guest on the KMOJ radio show Financial Fitness for their episode “Making Money Work.” This show airs weekly on Wednesdays from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and is always full of great information on personal finance. [no longer active]


Getting healthy: Students in I CAN Prevent Diabetes class lose combined 160 pounds in four months
Led by Nobles County SNAP-Ed Educator Maria Conchita Paez Sievert, the current I CAN Prevent Diabetes class of 11 women has lost a combined 160 pounds in a span of four months. Since mid-February, the group has met once a week for a one-hour class and a 45-minute exercise routine led by a trainer at the YMCA in Worthington.


Healthy food partnership begins at New Brighton apartment complex
Opportunity Neighborhood, a nonprofit that offices out of Garden View Apartments in New Brighton, is launching a partnership with the Twin Cities Mobile Market, a SNAP-Ed community partner. In addition to offering healthy food options, the Mobile Market provides nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, and recipes that feature the items that are stocked.

Monday, June 27, 2016

'The Only Way to Make It All Work'


By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency
 
Years ago, I was given the opportunity to conduct interviews with low-income mothers living in rural Minnesota communities. The interviews often took place in their living rooms or kitchens and often lasted up to three hours. These mothers voluntarily shared their life stories with us, often including very intimate details and experiences. Hearing the experiences of these mothers, who struggled daily to find jobs, childcare, transportation, and housing, and to put food on the table for their children really opened my eyes to the everyday challenges of living in poverty. One mother’s story really struck a chord with me, and I think of it even more now that I have children of my own.

Recruit the Heart, Train the Brain

By Sharon Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

On Tuesday, July 12, Family Development (FD) will host an all-day workshop with international speaker America Bracho, M.D., founder of the Latino Health Access in Santa Ana, CA.

Dr. Bracho’s world-renowned work with The Promotora Model for health education has inspired and informed the work of many. 

Bringing All Voices to the Table

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

On Thursday, June 30, a team of Extension educators is hosting a participant-driven, web-based conversation about bringing all voices to the table to support health equity, food security, and healthy food access in Southwest Minnesota communities.

Anne Dybsetter and Mary Schroeder, University of Minnesota Extension health and nutrition educators with the Center for Family Development, are teaming up with Toby Spanier and Neil Linscheid, Extension educators with the Center for Community Vitality, to facilitate an online conversation. With the help of guiding questions, participants will share stories, ideas, and resources about invitation, voice, barriers, and engagement in their rural communities. This webinar is part of the Southwest Food Network Community of Practice (CoP), a year-long series of learning opportunities related to network-building, facilitation, assessment, and action planning focused on health equity and food access.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

SNAP-Ed Community Partners Hit the Ground Running

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

In their first quarter, SNAP-Ed Community Partners have already reached over 16,000 Minnesotans; partnered with approximately 260 organizations around the state; and secured in-kind donations of time, supplies, and equipment, as well as grants, totaling $118,321.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Flying Horses and Kitchen Cupboards

By Teri L. Burgess-Champoux, Program Director — Health and Nutrition Special Projects

Extension work is like a merry-go-round: There are numerous projects of different shapes and sizes always in motion.

A rider of the Flying Horses Carousel carousel reaches for a brass ring.
Read Trish Olson's And the Award Goes to... for more about brass rings.
In my six months with Extension, I have gotten to know several of these projects, as well as those “riding the merry-go-round” with me.

Getting out of my office in Coffey Hall and out in the community visiting educators as they engage in their work has enabled me to meet Extension staff members and see firsthand how they use curricula to teach our diverse target audiences about healthy eating and physical activity. Thank you to Roger, Yoha, Tou, Karen, Alicia, and Cecilia for your willingness to let me observe your classes. Highlights of these visits include playing nutrition bingo with ELL participants and with school-aged children learning about the concept of “variety,” and answering questions about cardiovascular disease and diet and preparing spice blends for women at Transformation House. Each of these experiences reminded me of my early career working with clients in a variety of healthcare settings and fuels my passion for nutrition education.

The Families Behind the Funds

By Sharon S. Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

What’s in a name? You might be asking this question about some names associated with this year’s professional development conference. Who (or what) is Qualey-Skjervold and who is Jean Bauer?

Your Money, Your Goals Training Sessions Launch Next Week

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

On Thursday, June 30, Lori Hendrickson, Extension educator, family resiliency, will hold the first of 15 training sessions for the expanded Your Money, Your Goals toolkit in Virginia, MN.

From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's blog post
More financial empowerment tools for communities.

Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) is a financial empowerment toolkit created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that equips frontline staff with tools and skills to empower clients in understanding their own financial situations and connects them to resources available in their community. Last year, Family Resiliency educators participated in the national rollout of YMYG, training close to 500 frontline staff across Minnesota (See Our Goals, Our Successes). This year, CFPB reviewed 147 proposals to find partners for a second round of training nation-wide, and Cooperative Extension Service was ranked #1.

Registration Now Open for Financial Educator Certificate Program

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate 

Registration is now open for the fourth cohort Financial Educator Certificate (FEC) Program. The FEC program is an online course designed to equip community-based professionals with knowledge and skills to work with people to manage financial resources, build financial assets, and improve financial health and well-being.

Register at http://z.umn.edu/fincert.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Expanding and Strengthening Community

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs

Before I left the office last Friday, I had decided on a theme for this week’s column: Community. Then the devastating mass killing happened in Orlando and it only reaffirmed the importance of this theme. As President Obama said in a speech on Sunday, “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”

Family Development’s community is expanding through the SNAP-Ed Community Partnership Funding initiative. As Director of Programs for the Center for Family Development, I recently participated in a report-out from 15 agencies after they had conducted five months of SNAP-Ed activities focusing on policy, systems, and environmental changes. What can be accomplished in only five months? A great deal! They reported a collective reach of over 16,000 people and working with a total of an additional 262 partners. This means that our community of those who share FD’s goals of increasing access to quality food and increasing physical activity has expanded.

Sharing Health: Community Supported Agriculture for Families in Need

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

At four sites in central Minnesota, community members, health care systems, and Extension are pulling together programs to make CSA shares available this season to individuals and families in need — at no cost.

A SNAP-Ed educator helps community members
choose health in Todd County.
Each program is tailored to the community, but what they all have in common is a commitment to the total health of each family they serve. All sites screen clients for food insecurity questions using the American Academy of Pediatrics’ two-question screening tool and include nutrition education from Extension staff for individuals and families receiving a share. Each community is partnering with chefs, dietitians, and local public health staff to do food demonstrations, for which Extension is providing recipes.

Sprout is the food hub providing a total of 175 CSA shares at the three sites in Todd and Morrison counties. Arlene Jones, founder and manager of Sprout, is one of the brains behind the program in Staples, MN that has inspired three other Central Minnesota communities to start their own programs.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the four CSA share programs.
  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy