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Extension > Family Matters > November 2016

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. 
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