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Extension > Family Matters > December 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.
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