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Showing posts from 2018

Thank you Mina Blyly-Strauss — researcher and artist

Dear colleagues,

I am excited for Mina Blyly-Strauss to share some of her dissertation study results with us. Mina has been sharing her talents with Extension as part of the Children, Youth and Family Consortium (CYFC) for six years — two years as a graduate student volunteer then four years as a graduate research assistant. Soon-to-be Dr. Blyly-Strauss when she defends her dissertation at the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD) in September, Mina is ready to launch the next phase of her career supporting children to thrive in the community. Though she is leaving Extension, the work she has been part of at CYFC will benefit scholars, professionals and families for many years.

Public health professional development event to feature Extension educators

By Kelly Kunkel, Extension educator — health and nutrition

Registration is now open for Minnesota Society for Public Health Education's (MN SOPHE) premier professional development event for public health education and promotion professionals. The intent of Inspiring Change: Unleashing the Power of Public Health Education is to give those working in health education/promotion and prevention encouragement and strategies to not only continue, but to thrive during unprecedented times of controversy and challenge.

I will be facilitating a panel discussion featuring Mary Krentz, Extension Educator, entitled —Why Does Hunger Matter? Exploring the Intersection Between Public Health Education And Food Insecurity In Minnesota.

Meet like-minded health professionals from across the state while listening to powerful speakers on current public health crises and solutions; a great chance to network with new colleagues and old friends. Free CHES credits and lunch included. Discounts for members …

Applied research and evaluation team welcomes new research assistant

By Anna Alba — executive office and administrative specialist

Mikayla Smith is a new graduate research assistant with the Applied Research and Evaluation team (ARE). She is attending the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Policy focusing on mass incarceration, specifically juvenile detention centers and education. Mikayla hopes to study both public and non-profit agencies that focus on judicial, criminal, and correctional fields to understand how they function and create best practices towards interrupting the pipelines that exist for youth/young adults in the United States.

Reflections on the American Indian Community of Practice

By Jennifer Garbow, Extension educator and associate Extension professor

University of Minnesota Extension established an American Indian Task Force (AITF) in 2006 to expand its work in Indian country through mutually beneficial community-University partnerships. The original three goals still hold true today:
Improve American Indian communities' access to and representation in the University; Provide staff development for Extension staff interested in working with American Indian populations;Develop, in partnership with American Indian communities, culturally appropriate programs using innovative approaches to achieve mutual goals.

Separation of Families

Dear Colleagues:

As many of you are aware, Dr. Katherine (Katie) Lingras is the Extension’s CYFC scholar in residence for 2018. Dr. Lingras serves on the faculty and co-directs the Early Childhood Mental Program in the UMN Department of Psychiatry.

I recently asked Dr. Lingras to write an article for Family Matters on the separation of families at the U.S. southern border, its impact on children and how we might respond. She specializes in social-emotional development in early and middle childhood, with an emphasis on children on children who experience traumatic events.

Coffee with Coffey next Friday

By Michael Brott, communications manager

Our bimonthly Coffee with Coffey will take place next Friday, August 17 at 10:00 am. We are excited that three educators will be sharing information about their work in the area of early childcare, and parenting. It is exciting to see how the topic cuts across all areas of FD.

Mary Schroeder — Health and nutrition in the child care setting
Cari Michaels — Our new CYFC Scholar's focus on early childhood mental health
Ellie McCann — Parenting classes inside of our corrections facilities

As you are aware, Family development has been growing this new format as a way to to provide a more informal opportunity for sharing and learning between off-campus staff and Coffey hall.

New intranet makeover underway

By Michael Brott, communications manager

As you know the Family Matters blog got a makeover last month. This month, it is the the newly formatted FD intranet. The site focuses on FD-related information. Most other relevant information you need as a University of Minnesota and Extension employee can be found on the myU portal and Extension intranet respectively.

While we are still updating information, the new site is cleaner, mobilly responsive and, we hope, an asset to your great work.

In robotics or Extension—engagement is the glue that holds everything together

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency

I was recently reminded how multifaceted the work of Extension is. There are many parts that go into our work—leadership, teaching, scholarship, engagement, program management and service. I have come to realize each plays a critical role.

However, I think that as we work with new audiences to address grand challenges and wicked problems, and as we strive for innovation, engagement is especially critical. It is the glue of any work we do in our communities across Minnesota and with our colleagues nationally. At first glance, the role of engagement is not obvious. But if you look past the surface and examine the inner workings of a team, you will likely see what I mean!
A robotics team example Here’s a personal example. A few years ago when my oldest daughter, now 15 years old, was in 8th grade, her school was forming its first robotics team. My husband and I encouraged her to join. I thought I knew the basics of what a robotics …

Coffee with Coffey

By Michael Brott, communications manager

Thank you to all who participated in our June Coffee with Coffey conversation. (Can you tell I like alliteration?). Family development has been growing this new format as a way to to provide a more informal opportunity for sharing and learning between off-campus staff and Coffey hall. We believe our work is better when we are more connected to each other. Recent feedback has been very positive and constructive. The remaining 2018 Coffee with Coffey dates have been added to your calendars. As always, recordings of past conversations are on our FD intranet.

FD in the news

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

Hillside Farmers Market to open June 19
Howie Hanson (blog)

Thanks to Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Essentia Health, SNAP customers are matched one-to-one, up to $15 dollars per market day, when using an EBT card at the market. Any children under 18 receive free $4 tokens to spend on produce through the Power of Produce (PoP) Club, with funding from Essentia Health and University of Minnesota Extension.

Crookston’s Marketplace debuts Thursday
Crookston Times

Stay tuned every Thursday for a new Marketplace theme with free entertainment and activities, plus, beginning July 12, the University of Minnesota Extension Power of Produce grant will be available weekly for kids ages 0-18 to receive vouchers for free produce from the Crookston Farmer’s Market.

Veterans harvest market, Power of Produce returns to Prior Lake
Jordan Independent

In 2017, the market raised nearly $4,000 for veteran…

Reflecting on preventing suicide and building community

By Trish Olson, director of programs, Extension Center for Family Development


I am sharing the authorship of the blog with week with multiple coauthors. A little over a week ago I sent a reflection to my colleagues on 4th floor Coffey Hall about Anthony Bourdain’s suicide and it sparked many thoughtful responses and resources. So, with their permission, I am re-posting this email trail (something I usually do not recommend). I thank my colleagues for letting me share their reflections to my initial email.

I think posting my email conversation reflects a way to build community in the Extension Center for Family Development (FD). The first step is sharing a concern, a joy, or a vulnerability, and the second step is for the rest of us to provide a simple acknowledgement to tell someone they are heard and to inform them of resources if we know of any.

We structure the Family Matters blog so you can respond or reply or simply say… “I hear you.” Please use the blog in this way to …

Cohort of 20 graduate from Financial Educator Certificate Program

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency

Twenty more community professionals now have the tools and confidence to teach people better ways to manage their finances thanks to the Financial Educator Certificate (FEC) Program.

Welcome to new SNAP-Ed educator Faro Jones

By Janice Rasmussen, SNAP-Ed regional coordinator

I am excited to introduce Faro Jones, our newest SNAP-Ed educator working out of the Extension Ramsey County office in Maplewood. Faro will be part of the Frogtown-Rondo place-based approach team and will teach classes and do policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) work around the Twin Cities-metro area. After training later this month, she will begin teaching I CAN Prevent Diabetes classes.

Smarter Lunchrooms collaborative–A tale of two states

By Nikki Johnson, Area Extension specialist, North Dakota State University
In the beginning In fall 2016, University of Minnesota Extension, along with the Smarter Lunchrooms National Office and key organizations in the state, formed the Minnesota Smarter Lunchrooms Collaborative. The collaborative’s goal is to improve the school nutrition environment by making the healthy choice the easy choice.

Collaborative members meet each quarter to get the latest news from the Smarter Lunchrooms National Office at Cornell University. They also discuss marketing strategies, capacity building, funding opportunities, and best practices for implementation techniques. (See Kelly Kunkel’s blog entry elsewhere in Family Matters for more information.)

Minnesota Smarter Lunchrooms Collaborative still going strong

By Kelly Kunkel, Extension educator in health and nutrition

Did you know that Minnesota formed the country’s first Smarter Lunchrooms collaborative in fall 2016? The collaborative includes University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Minnesota Department of Health.

The collaborative implements the research-based strategies of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement to nudge kids to choose healthier foods, especially fruits and vegetables, in school cafeterias. Smarter Lunchroom strategies also aim to reduce food waste at schools and increase participation in school meal programs.

A bit of this, a bit of that

By Karen Shirer, associate dean, Extension Center for Family Development

The last few months have been a whirlwind of personal and professional transitions plus lots of important work related to the center. This blog is a little of this and a little of that to help highlight these events.

NHOC highlight: Priester Award winners lead the way in health and wellness programs

By Sharon Mulé, staff development coordinator, Extension Center for Family Development

The 2018 National Health Outreach Conference in Bloomington gave attendees the opportunity to learn about many innovative programs. Perhaps one of the best chances to learn occurred at the Priester Awards Luncheon on the second day of the conference.

NHOC highlight: Expert emphasizes importance of promoting positive mental health

By Cari Michaels, Extension educator, Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Corey Keyes, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at Emory University, served as our keynote speaker for the Priester Awards Luncheon at the recent National Health Outreach Conference in Bloomington.

CYFC and others embody changing approaches to mental health work

By Cari Michaels, Extension educator, Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Minnesota is considering new ways to promote mental health.

This week I was inspired by the event "Note to Self: A Conversation About Innovative Ways to Care for your Mental Well-Being," co-hosted by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

New agreement expands financial education for Latinos in Greater Minnesota

By Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension educator in family resiliency

In fall 2017, University of Minnesota Extension launched a program with the Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul. Its purpose was to provide financial education to people of Mexican ancestry in Greater Minnesota. The Consulate of Mexico provided a $5,000 grant to fund the program.

Creating healthier retail food environments

By Betsy Johnson, Extension educator in health and nutrition

As we work with our communities to improve access to healthy foods, one important setting is retail foods. Grocery stores, restaurants, and corner or convenience stores comprise the majority of places people in Minnesota get their food. I started working with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Healthy Northland, our seven-county SHIP initiative in northeastern Minnesota, four years ago on the Community Wellness Grant to improve retail food environments.

Help us promote RentWise train-the-trainer workshops

By Becky Hagen Jokela, Extension educator in family resiliency

Being a successful renter has always required certain knowledge and skills. But today’s housing environment poses special challenges.

Two FD educators win dean’s award

Two educators with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development (FD) were among the winners of the Dean’s Distinguished Awards.

The FD winners were Gabriela Burk, financial capability educator based in Dodge County, and Ann Luke, SNAP-Ed educator based in Ramsey County. Gabriela received the program staff award, while Ann received the nutrition educator award.

Tap dancing, table hopping and other tales of relationship building

By Trina Adler, program leader in health and nutrition

Last week I tap danced with hundreds of people from across the country.

Tap dancing to get ready for the next session — Family Development (@UMNExtFD) May 2, 2018

Friend of NEAFCS award goes to Debra Landvik Letendre of MDE

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency

Debra Landvik Letendre, an educational specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), has received this year’s Friend of NEAFCS-Minnesota Affiliate Award. NEAFCS is the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. Extension staff and association members Kathleen Olson, Silvia Alvarez de Davila and Mary Jo Katras presented the award on behalf of the association at MDE offices on April 20.

Even good events can cause stress — and call for resilience

By Karen Shirer, associate dean, Center for Family Development

Work and home have been both stressful and exciting lately. At work, this spring has been filled with budget planning for 2019 and responding to grant opportunities. Meanwhile, day-to-day work continues.

In my family, we are anticipating the adoption of a new grandson any day now. In late March, my older daughter, Lizzie, and her husband learned that a birth mother selected them to adopt her soon-to-be born son. Although totally unexpected, we are delighted with the news.

FR project brings healthy homes info to Latino communities, wins good reviews from participants

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency, and Antonio Alba Meraz, educator in family resiliency

Home is where the heart is, the old saying goes. But home is also where physical, chemical, and biological health risks lurk. We all need to know how to keep our homes healthy places for our families to live.

With that in mind, the Latino Financial Literacy Team led by Antonio Alba Meraz, presented 17 two-hour workshops titled "Healthy People in Healthy Homes" to Latino residents in late summer 2017. A total of 172 people attended the Healthy Homes workshops, conducted in Spanish in 12 counties of southern Minnesota. This work was supported through a CLEAR Corps grant of $3,333 that Antonio received last summer.

Standing on the shoulders of those who went before us

By Trish Olson, director of programs

It’s the end of March, and my mind is whirling from recent events. I often have to step back and connect the dots of events so I can make sense of them.

I said more than once in meetings this week that we have to stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. I said this in the context of programming and scholarship, as we discussed the importance of literature reviews. That way, we will conduct activities that are proven to work and not reinvent the wheel evaluating or researching what’s already known. We do this so we can focus on our shared goals of learning and teaching with participants. Conducting literature reviews shows how we value our participants’ time.

Extension partnering with Guatemalan university on youth and family programming

By Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Extension educator in family resiliency

A University of Minnesota Extension team has been in partnership with a team from Guatemala for almost two years now, and I thought you’d like to know what we’ve been up to.

The partnership stems from an agreement University of Minnesota Extension signed in 2017 with the University of San Carlos of Guatemala School of Social Work. Two Extension centers, Family Development (FD) and Youth Development (YD), are working on this initiative. The aim is to co-create a program serving youth and families in Guatemala.

2017 PoP Club results are in — and we’re making a difference!

By Jessica Norman, Extension educator in health and nutrition

In 2016, the Extension Center for Family Development received an issue area grant to create and launch the Power of Produce (PoP) Club Toolkit. PoP clubs aim to expose children to farmers markets and increase kids’ consumption of fruits and vegetables.

FD in the news

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

Dedicated to fresh ideas and making the range healthy – long term
Hibbing Daily Tribune

The Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability (IRPS) has been working for nearly a decade to promote environmental and economic sustainability on the Iron Range. The Rutabaga Project aims to get nutritious and local food to everyone in the city of Virginia and beyond. The Rutabaga Project is a shared initiative of IRPS and many other groups and initiatives including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed).

Lions Club partners with Cub Foods to offer diabetes screenings
Woodbury Bulletin

A new Lions Club initiative aims to increase awareness of Type 2 Diabetes with events to detect the risk for diabetes and prediabetes. The Minneapolis Health Department, Healthy Northland, YMCA and University of Minnesota Extension will also partner with the initiative to provide resources a…

Exploring staff development opportunities

By Sharon Mulė, staff development coordinator, Center for Family Development

On April 6, 2016, I landed in Roanoke, Virginia. I had been with Family Development since January but walking into the National Health Outreach Conference (NHOC) was like landing on another planet. Fast forward two years and another NHOC in Annapolis, Maryland. Now here I am helping plan the NHOC for May 2-4 in Minnesota!

With a great conference planning team who really know their stuff, we are moving through the conference planning process and it’s getting exciting! Whether you plan on attending or not, take a few moments and look at the range of presentations from people all over the country.

FR team piloting curriculum on understanding health insurance costs

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency

A team of 10 Family Resiliency (FR) educators is partnering with two universities to pilot a workshop on health insurance costs. The workshop, Understanding and Estimating Health Care Costs, is one of the modules in the Smart Use health insurance curriculum offered through FR.

The FR team has partnered with University of Maryland Extension and University of Delaware Extension since 2013 to pilot and use their Smart Choice and Smart Use curricula. The curricula provide education and resources to help increase health insurance literacy. “Health insurance literacy” refers to knowledge about making health insurance choices.

Want to do GIS mapping? Here are tips to get started

By Nicole Helgeson, graduate research assistant in GIS mapping

As a graduate research assistant in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, I often hear comments like this: “I just want to make simple map, but am overwhelmed by everything that I need
to know to get started.”

No wonder people are overwhelmed. When GIS appeared in the 1960s as a simple map coordinate program, few expected that GIS would become such an integral part of everyday life. From transportation to business, from agriculture to health and nutrition, hardly an area today does not use GIS in some way or other. According to the SAGE handbook of GIS and society, what was once a specialized profession of a few has now become more available and accessible than ever.

To help you sort through the massive amount of information, I have put together a list of tips to get started in GIS mapping your research results. Or whatever story you want to tell.

Two new metro area SNAP-Ed regional coordinators join FD

By Margaret Haggenmiller, associate program director in SNAP-Ed metro

Two new SNAP-Ed regional coordinators have joined the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development. Ayolanda Evans is based at the U of M Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center in Minneapolis. Janice Horsager Rasmussen is based at the Ramsey County Extension office in St. Paul.

It's the lion you don't see that'll eat you!

By Mary Marczak, director of urban family development and evaluation

My graduate school statistics professor, A.J. Figueredo, often lamented how he couldn’t make it as an animal behaviorist so he became a stats professor. Lucky for us, he used his knowledge about animal behaviors to explain difficult statistical concepts. In research and hypothesis testing, Type II errors lead you to make wrong conclusions. Typically that's because you don’t know enough, don’t have enough data, or haven’t waited long enough for the effects or relationships to show up.

Getting the message across

By Carolina De La Rosa Mateo, graduate research assistant, Center for Family Development

I love the excitement of data collection and analysis. That’s because I am a first-year student in the University of Minnesota Master of Public Health program, which emphasizes the value of quality research.

As part of my graduate work, I have been on several teams and assisted in data collection for dozens, if not hundreds, of individuals. Currently, I’m on the Applied Research and Evaluation (ARE) Team with the Center for Family Development (FD).

SNAP-Ed Works!

SNAP-Ed helps people lead healthier lives. SNAP-Ed educators with the Extension Center for Family Development teach low-income families and individuals about good nutrition and making their food dollars stretch further. SNAP-Ed educators also help participants learn how to be physically active.

New SNAP-Ed educator to serve Mower, Freeborn counties

Thelma Garcia joined University of Minnesota Extension March 5 as a SNAP-Ed educator, based at Extension's Mower County office in Austin. She will serve both Mower and Freeborn counties.

FD in the news

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

Crookston Farmers Market awarded Power of Produce grant through U of M Extension
Crookston Times

The Crookston Farmers Market has been awarded a University of Minnesota Extension Power of Produce (PoP) Club grant. PoP Clubs give children money to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. SNAP-Ed Educator Megan Hruby is quoted in the article, which notes that 10 Minnesota farmers markets received a PoP grant in 2017.

Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign
Marshall Independent

United Community Action Partnership’s food shelves in Marshall and other south-central Minnesota communities are participating in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. United Community Action partners with Extension’s SNAP-Ed program to offer a variety of healthy eating lifestyle classes to its clients, including I CAN Prevent Diabetes (ICANPD). A recently completed ICANPD class in Marshall saw 18 …

A mentor can help you grow professionally

By Mary Jo Katras, program leader in family resiliency

It’s performance review time again. This is when we look back on what we accomplished last year and set our plan of work (POW) for the coming year. The POW includes both program goals and our professional development goals.

2018 National Health Outreach Conference coming May 2-4

The 2018 National Health Outreach Conference is coming soon, and the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development is hosting! The conference, “Engaging in a Culture of Health: Making Waves in the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is set for May 2-4 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota.

SuperShelf makes super progress

By Laura Bohen, Extension educator in health and nutrition

Last spring the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health received a $3.2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to evaluate the effectiveness of the SuperShelf program. U of M Extension health and nutrition staff are assisting with the evaluation.

So how are things going, you may ask? In a word: super! I’m happy to say that the SuperShelf study is progressing at a steady clip.

Schoolyard gardens conference features Family Development connections

By Mary Vitcenda, senior editor, Center for Family Development

“Establishing Roots” is the theme of the upcoming Minnesota Schoolyard Gardens Conference, which will include several sessions with connections to the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development (FD).

Three new SNAP-Ed educators join Family Development

Three new SNAP-Ed educators have joined the Extension Center for Family Development (FD): Abu Farah, Shanda Walker and Elizabeth “Liz” McLaughlin.

Any questions? Mindful Q and As help us better serve our clients and communities

By Trina Adler, program leader in health and nutrition

The other day I witnessed a couple of Family Development staff do a very courageous thing: They asked a question. They asked about some innovative, edgy work they were doing, knowing full well that the answer they receive might force them to back off from the path they were taking.

Taking the mystery out of Extension: Get to know the AR+E Team

By Emily Becher, research associate

AR+E stands for the Applied Research and Evaluation Team. We are similar to the Mission Support Team in that our role is to support the work of the Center for Family Development (FD).

Extension's finance education for Latino immigrants spotlighted at national meeting

By Antonio Alba Meraz, Extension educator in family resiliency

Last fall, four Extension educators in family resiliency, including myself, presented a special series of workshops and one-to-one consultations on personal finance to Mexican and other Latino immigrants living in rural Minnesota.

The series, which emphasized building credit, budgeting, and banking, was based on the Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera (Financial Empowerment Window) model. The workshops and consultations were made possible through a grant from the Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul.

Food Charter in Action events bring together 100s in support of healthy food access

By Stephanie Heim, associate program director

As lead partner of engagement of the Minnesota Food Charter Network, University of Minnesota Extension supported nine “Minnesota Food Charter in Action” events in November and December 2017.

Reporting on the Food Charter in Action event in central Minnesota

By Serdar Mamedov, Extension educator in health and nutrition, and Molly Zins, executive director, University of Minnesota Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

On November 17, 2017, more than 70 people representing different stakeholder groups in local and statewide food systems in Minnesota came together at St. Cloud Technical and Community College to discuss a very important topic for Minnesotans – access to healthy food for all.

'One Extension' website redesign project moves into site building phase

By Michael Brott, communications manager

As reported in the Jan. 18 Extension e-news, communicators and web professionals from across Extension are continuing their work on Extension’s new website, which will launch this spring. Those of us who have been working on the website redesign have completed the planning phase and are beginning site building, content writing and transition work.

Joining in the fun at the Super Bowl Snack Challenge Kids Tailgate Party

There were lots of events going on in the Twin Cities the week before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4, and Cristofer Ramirez, grandson of SNAP-Ed Educator Letty Rodriguez, was part of the scene. Cristofer was one of 10 Super Bowl Snack Challenge finalists invited to the Kids Tailgate Party held Jan. 31 at the Target Center.

Forget those New Year's resolutions - set goals instead

By Karen Shirer, associate dean

I wonder if you are like me. Every year in late December I set resolutions for a healthier and happier new year. Then, by the third week my best intentions have often ended up on the garbage heap of lost causes. This year my resolutions included maintaining a healthy weight, focusing on the positive and what I can control and change, practicing yoga and running, and well....being better in whatever way I can imagine. I think you get the picture.

Beyond filing: Tax time offers great opportunity to set financial goals

By Mary Jo Katras, Extension program leader in family resiliency

It’s that time of year again to think about filing taxes — this year for 2017 taxes. More than filing, though, tax time offers an opportunity for working individuals and families to get ahead.

The prospect of receiving a tax refund is a good incentive for all of us to think about our financial situation and set financial goals. Those might include paying off existing debt or setting some money aside for an emergency fund.

Katie Lingras named new scholar in residence, succeeding Jenifer McGuire

By Cari Michaels, Extension educator with the Children, Youth & Family Consortium

Katherine “Katie” Lingras, Ph.D., has been named the Children, Youth & Family Consortium’s (CYFC’s) new scholar in residence. She is an assistant professor and licensed child psychologist with the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry.

Lingras’s term will run this calendar year, starting this semester and continuing through the summer and fall semesters. During her term, Lingras will focus on mental education and research that promotes mental health. She brings to this role her expertise in clinical work and research focused on the social-emotional development of children and building the capacities of the adults who care for them.

Lingras succeeds Jenifer McGuire, Ph.D., who served as the scholar in residence from July 2016 to December 2017. McGuire is an associate professor with the University Department of Family Social Science.

Nudging to Health workshop gets good 'grades' from participants

By Kelly Kunkel, Extension educator in health and nutrition

A little more than a year after it was rolled out, the Nudging to Health: Promoting Healthy Choices at Your Food Shelf food shelf partner education workshop is getting good reviews from participants. One was so impressed, she said, “The nutrition aspects were excellent. I learned things after 50 years of cooking.”

A team of University of Minnesota Extension health and nutrition and SNAP-Ed educators (the “food shelf team”) launched the Nudging to Health workshop in August 2016. The class is one of three developed to assist food shelf staff and volunteers in achieving better outcomes for their clients.

To date, there have been 22 Nudging to Health workshops conducted throughout Minnesota, with 233 staff and volunteers trained. They represented food shelves from Hibbing in northeastern Minnesota to St. James in the south central part of the state. Classes are taught by SNAP-Ed educators with the Extension Center for Family Dev…

Telling the story of the CYFC-Bruce Vento School partnership

By Judy Myers, Extension educator with the Children, Youth & Family Consortium (retired)

The story of CYFC’s four-year partnership with the Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul is a remarkable one. Together we are making changes at the school to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment for students facing a host of special challenges.

Now we’re telling the Bruce Vento story through a website called “Fostering Resilient Learners at Bruce Vento Elemntary School.” The website, or story map as we in CYFC prefer to call it, depicts the work of Extension CYFC staff with school staff, neighborhood residents, community organizations, and others to transform the school physically and culturally for the benefit of students.

Reflecting on movies – and our accomplishments

2 of a 2-part series
By Trish Olson, director of programs

I don’t know about you, but I am still seeing the “Best of 2017” Lists. I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame. They represent reflections of what has gone well – what should be repeated? Perhaps it is movies with another number behind their title, like “Pitch Perfect 3.” One and two worked, why not three? I have heard mixed reviews on the new “Star Wars” movie, which raises the question: When does something popular get “sunsetted?” When does something new replace the old and we are all better off for it? Olive oil replaces other fats. Taylor Swift leaves country behind for pop, etc. Perhaps the comparisons need to end.

Data visualization group requests feedback on infographic production

By Emily Becher, research associate, Center for Family Development

As part of a cross-center learning group on data visualization, I have been discussing ways to make infographic production easier and more approachable across Extension. We are gathering information to help us move this process forward, and we need your help.

Scholarships open for National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

By Stephanie Heim, associate program director

The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Network is now accepting scholarships to attend the conference, set for April 25-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio. So, I have a request for each of you: Please alert your partners and anyone else you work with who's involved with local food efforts to apply. Deadline for applications is 8 p.m. Eastern time (7 p.m. Central), Monday, February 12.

Your Money, Your Goals training promotes financial empowerment

By Becky Hagen Jokela, Extension educator in family resiliency 

Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) is a financial empowerment toolkit created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The toolkit gives service agency staff information and ideas for use in assisting their clients. The goal is to help clients understand their own financial situations and connect to resources in their communities.

Stay warm, stay safe this winter

Winter in Minnesota brings special joys, such as skiing, skating, or just curling up by the fire reading a book or watching a movie. But winter in northern climates also brings special challenges.

Extension educators have compiled information to help individuals and families stay warm and safe in winter. Check out Family Development's Healthy Winters web page for links to information on:

Staying safe this winter — How to dress for snow and cold temperatures, avoid slips and falls, and stay safe while you travel in winter.How Minnesota's Cold Weather Rule helps you keep the heat on in the winter — Apply for a Cold Weather Rule plan before you start struggling with your heating bill this winter.Keeping your home safe and warm in winter — Follow these steps to manage heating costs and ensure your family’s safety in winter.

FD in the news

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

How to Divvy Up Your Family Belongings Peacefully and Sensibly
HuffPost, Dec. 25, 2017

Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?, University of Minnesota Extension’s resource to help families distribute personal belongings without conflict after the death of a loved one, was in the spotlight in December. Five newspapers around the country, including HuffPost, cited WGGYPP as a useful resource in a syndicated column written by Jim Miller, creator of

HUFFPOST: How to Divvy Up Your Family Belongings Peacefully and Sensibly via — Jim Miller (@TheSavvySenior) December 25, 2017
Overindulgence and Good Hearts: Parenting During Holidays
Minnesota Ag Connection, Dec. 18, 2017

Ellie McCann, Extension educator in family resiliency, talks about how the holidays increase pressure on parents to overindulge their children…