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Showing posts from December, 2017

It’s that time of year to reflect on our accomplishments

1 of a 2-part series

By Trish Olson, director of programs

I know you have seen the lists generated: Best Movies of 2017, Best Books of 2017, Best Workplaces of 2017, and on and on. In my role as director of programs, I too, need to reflect and look back on 2017 in order to inform our work in 2018. How do I do this? One way is to look at accomplishments against promises made.

Latino Financial Literacy Team addresses immigration concerns and other emerging issues

By Antonio Alba Meraz and Sara Croymans, Extension educators in family resiliency

University of Minnesota Extension’s Latino Financial Literacy Program (LFLP) helps Latino immigrants in southern Minnesota understand U.S. financial information and systems so participants can make sound financial decisions. Program team members include financial capability educators Gabriela Burk, Dodge County; Jose Lamas, Nobles County; and Francisca Mendoza, McLeod County. They are supported by Antonio Alba Meraz and Sara Croymans, Extension educators in family resiliency. Recently, the Latino Financial Literacy Team has provided special programming to address immigration and related issues.

Family resiliency team piloting parenting classes in Minnesota prisons

By Ellie McCann, Extension educator in family resiliency

A family resiliency team with the Extension Center for Family Development has received a $25,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Corrections to develop and deliver parenting classes for incarcerated parents and caregivers. I am principal investigator for the team. Other members are family resiliency educators Becky Hagen Jokela, Anita Harris Hering, Lori Hendrickson, and Sharon Powell.

The parenting classes, which began in November, are being offered at three prisons across the state—Stillwater, Oak Park Heights, and Moose Lake. Stillwater and Moose Lake will host three 12-week, two-hour class sessions. Oak Park Heights will host one 12-week, two-hour class session. Classes will continue through June 30, 2018.

FD Family Resiliency Team wins financial community educator award

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency

The Family Resiliency Team with the Extension Center for Family Development was recently recognized for its sustained commitment and contribution to financial education in Minnesota communities. The team received the 2017 Thrivent Financial Community Educator Award for its Community Mentorship for Financial Capability Program. The award was given at EconFest on Nov. 2 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. EconFest is an annual celebration of teachers, students, and communities sponsored by the Minnesota Council on Economic Education.

2017 EconFest! Honored for our team to be receiving the Thrivent Financial Personal Finance Community Educator Award @UMNExtFD@mceetweetspic.twitter.com/BAY7SmR8qv — Mary Jo Katras (@mkatras) November 2, 2017

FD in the News

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

Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Announces 52 Super Snack Challenge Winners
Super Bowl LII Newsroom, Nov. 15, 2017

November was a rewarding month for SNAP-Ed Educator Letica Rodriguez and her grandson, Cristofer Ramirez. First, he was named one of 52 winners of the Super Snack Challenge sponsored by the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. He won based on his recipe for Colorful Black Bean Salad, a recipe Letica teaches many children to make in her SNAP-Ed classes.

Next, he was named one of 10 finalists to compete in the All Pro Chef Event held Nov. 28 at Breaking Bread Café and Catering in Minneapolis.

Cristofer will join his fellow Super Snack Challenge winners at the Minnesota Super Bowl 2018 Super Kids Tailgate Party. There, the winning healthy game day recipe will be chosen from among the 10 All Pro chefs.

Commissioner of Health appoints committee members to health equity …

The Evaluation Elf on the Shelf: Get your 2017 data entered!

Dear Family Development employees,

It’s me, your friendly research associate Emily Becher. As we enter this season of cozy sweaters and delicious food, one of the traditions I’ve started to celebrate with my children is “The Elf on the Shelf.” For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is a small doll with an accompanying book that parents can use around the holiday season to promote good behavior. Parents move the elf around different locations in the house during the night, and in the morning the children find where the elf is now located (usually doing something silly like hanging upside down from the refrigerator or making a sprinkle angel).


The idea is that the elf is watching and reports back to Santa Claus every night on their behavior. Good behavior means good reports to Santa and presents. Bad behavior means bad reports to Santa and no presents. So often in my house from Thanksgiving to Christmas, you will hear me say, “Twirley is watching! What do you think she is going to t…