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Showing posts from November, 2017

Training and Conversation Are Essential to Extension’s Commitment to Civil Rights

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency
“I really like how the civil rights training provided the history of civil rights. For me it provided context to the training.”

“I think my biggest take away is that you're not done with recruitment and programming until your participant pool looks like the broader community. There is no point at which you say ‘I've done enough.’ Because whatever recruitment and programming strategies you're using, they aren't working. So you need to keep trying new things with the goal of ever-increasing parity with the community at large.”

“I've only completed one so far, but I was really struck by the number of FD employees represented. Made me feel grateful to the leadership in our center, as well as determined to help however I can to increase diversity within leadership. Also appreciative of the courage it took to speak about some of these issues. FD is full of amazing people!!!”

“The one thing that is really sticking out …

After Disasters, FD Provides Financial Recovery Resources and Education

By Sara Croymans, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

In the first nine months of 2017 the United States experienced 15 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each. These events included one drought, two floods, one freeze event, seven severe storms, three tropical cyclones (hurricanes), and one wildfire. These events resulted in 282 deaths and significant economic effects for individuals and communities according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In response to this need, the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development (FD) provides financial recovery resources for disaster professionals and survivors in a variety of ways. Together, Lori Hendrickson, Extension educator in family resiliency, and I make up FD’s small disaster recovery team. Here are some highlights of what we accomplished from October 2016 to now.

Website Bytes: A Firmer Focus on Financial Capability

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate

Earlier this month, I told the story of how website content managers in Family Development worked hard reorganize the University of Minnesota Extension Farm to School website section. This week, the story I have for you is about the Financial Capability website section, formerly titled “Personal Finance.”

To recap, as website coordinator of the core FD web team, I had the pleasure of walking alongside content managers as they tackled these projects. These reorganizations had two things in common that helped guide their work to completion:
Dedicated and knowledgeable content managers. A goal to better serve users.  To learn more about the twists and turns of the financial capability journey, read on.

A New Era Begins for Me

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

After nearly seven years with the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC), I am retiring in December 2017. The past years have been rich with wonderful relationships with CYFC, Family Development and other Extension colleagues. I have also experienced meaningful community partnerships, and deep learning with our many scholar and practitioner partners.

UofM Secure WiFi Network to Be Retired at the End of 2017

The University of Minnesota WiFi network UofM Secure will be retired at the end of December 2017.


Please connect to eduroam, the preferred secure WiFi network for University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff. To connect, choose “eduroam” from your WiFi network preferences or options and enter your full University email address and password.

Questions? Contact Technology Help at help@umn.edu or 612-301-4357.

Finding Joy in the Face of Adversity

By Mary Marczak, Director of Urban Family Development and Evaluation

My maternal grandmother (and namesake) was my kindred spirit. No one made me feel more OK during the abrupt transition at age 10 from an orphanage in South Korea to a family home in Minnesota than my Polish grandmother. I think she identified with my experience because she came to the United States from Poland as an elementary-age child and had to make her way in a new world. So her particular habit of saying, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket!” always jarred me. Gahh!! What does that mean!? How much should I be worried?


National Experts and Local Practitioners Collaborate to Meet the Needs of LGBT People in Rural Environments

By S. Okrey Anderson, Graduate Research Assistant

This October, a special guest panel of LGBT research experts spoke to University of Minnesota Extension professionals about health, well-being, and economic opportunity for LGBT people in rural environments.

Extension Children, Youth, & Family Consortium (CYFC) planned and facilitated the well-attended panel during the 2017 Extension Program Conference that took place in Brooklyn Park on October 11.


CYFC hosted Dr. Jenifer McGuire, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Family Social Science, in their 2016-2017 Scholar in Residence program for the past year and a half. During that time, Dr. McGuire and the CYFC team traveled around Minnesota presenting workshops on meeting the needs of transgender youth. (For a refresher, see CYFC’s Community Discussions on Transgender Issues in Greater Minnesota Exceed Expectations.)

This panel event brought some of that content and more to an Extension audience.

Website Bytes: Curating (and Culling) Farm to School's Online Content

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate

Website content managers in Family Development worked hard this summer to reorganize two University of Minnesota Extension website sections to better meet the needs of their audiences: Farm to School and Financial Capability, formerly Personal Finance.

As website coordinator of the core FD web team, I walked alongside content managers as they tackled these projects. I am so pleased that these two projects are complete and so proud of the work the content managers did that I want to share their stories. If you are contemplating how to better serve your audiences online, you’ll want to pay attention to their experiences. These reorganizations had two things in common that helped guide their work to completion:
Dedicated and knowledgeable content managers.A goal to better serve users. This week’s the focus is on Farm to School.

FD in the News

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

Ojibwe dinner draws crowd
Mille Lacs Messenger, October 5, 2017

A large crowd showed up at the Farm Market Cafe in Onamia on September 27 for a dinner of contemporary dishes made from traditional Ojibwe ingredients. The meals featured numerous locally grown and produced foods, such as wild rice, rabbit, highbush cranberry, hazelnuts, maple syrup, and squash. SNAP-Ed Educator Kam Schroeder discussed nutritional benefits of dishes on the menu.

The fallout of the Equifax data breach
Minnesota Public Radio, Oct 6, 2017
Sharon Powell, Extension educator in Family Resiliency, joined Chris Arnold, National Public Readio correspondent, on a Minnesota Public Radio news program October 6 to discuss the data breach at Equifax. That breach exposed the personal information of up to 143 million people and led to the resignation of the credit agency's CEO Richard Smith. Sharon provided tips to …