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Showing posts from January, 2015

SNAP-Ed: Our Expanded Focus

By Jamie Bain, Extension educator — Health and Nutrition

Previous blog posts have addressed the differences between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed). SNAP-Ed helps people with limited financial resources make healthy food choices and become more physically active.

This week I'd like to talk about SNAP-Ed's expanded focus to include activities that match levels of the entire Spectrum of Prevention. Extension's Health and Nutrition programs have been able to broaden their SNAP-Ed focus because of new funding guidelines from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which encourage programming along the entire spectrum.

The Spectrum of Prevention is a tool that provides a comprehensive framework for addressing major public health issues. Designed by the Prevention Institute (based in Oakland, CA), the spectrum looks at an issue, such as obesity or food access, in a holistic manner. The spectrum includes six levels of activity that…

Minding the Gap

By Emily Becher, Research Fellow

Three international partners have joined together to launch the Child and Family Blog as part of an effort to bridge the gap between research and policy making and practice regarding parenting and raising children. The partners are Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, Princeton University and the Brookings Institution in the United States, and the Jacobs Foundation in Switzerland. Influential scholars and practitioners in fields related to the welfare of children and families are publishing posts to the blog. See the Cowan and Cowan post on couple relationship education for an example of the blog’s interesting and informative content. Note that some bloggers write with a political aim or motivation, so keep that in mind as you review their posts. Happy reading!

Our Guests from Korea Have Arrived!

By Trish Olson, Interim Associate Dean

For months, we have anticipated the arrival of guests from Korea, and they’re finally here! Eight students and their professor, Dr. Seohee Son, from Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul, South Korea, are visiting FD this week.

Many of you may remember Seohee. She worked with Family Development as a graduate student in Family Social Science where she was mentored by Dr. Jean Bauer. Seohee’s previous visit with Jean is an example of a legacy on many levels. Jean’s legacy was grounded in leading by example. She emphasized the importance of understanding community needs and ensuring that, as a faculty member with an Extension appointment, she heard those needs and set the wheels in motion to meet them. She listened for educational needs while in the community, garnered funds to conduct on-site research to meet those needs, mentored graduate students to conduct the research in — and with — the community, and then created research-informed educatio…

No Work Is Insignificant

Mary Marczak, Research and Evaluation Specialist

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ve been thinking how his words ring true for our work at the Center for Family Development. We go about our work every day to “uplift humanity.”

Some of us might say, “Isn’t it good enough that we are doing good work and have good intentions?” To those who invest millions of dollars to support our work, the answer is “No. You need to show that our investment is making a difference — that it’s having an impact on the health and well-being of our children, families and communities.”

But that puts us all in a conundrum. It’s difficult showing impact when we are mostly addressing complex, interconnected “wicked problems” So, how can we meet this challenge? One way to better demonstrate our impact under these conditions is to tell a…

And the Award Goes to . . .

Trish Olson, Interim Associate Dean

Sunday evening I watched the Golden Globes, in which George Clooney reflected on winners and losers. Addressing his show business colleagues, he said, “Four out of five of you don’t win. Literally 80 percent of the people in this room don’t win. [But] if you are in this room, you’ve caught the brass ring. You get to do what you’ve always dreamed to do and be celebrated for it, and that just, it ain’t losing.”

Well said.

Word Matters: Good Work, Bad Writing, and Related Thoughts

Twitter. Facebook. YouTube. Pinterest. Sparkol. Radio spots.

These are just a few of the communication channels available to Extension staff and educators — channels that do not deliver words on paper. But that doesn't mean there's no writing involved in creating content for these channels. The tweets, the Facebook posts, the video scripts, and so on — they all require writing at some stage. What's more, there's a case to be made that writing is fundamental to nearly everything we do at Extension as we share what we’ve learned with Minnesota and the wider world.

Think about it. Writing is required throughout the life cycle of nearly every resource we provide at FD — from their birth to death and moments in between. Or, stated more prosaically — from proposal, to content development, to marketing, to maintenance, and even to sunsetting a program or service if it’s no longer relevant.

We’re in This Together

By Renee Obrecht-Como, Program Operations Director — Health & Nutrition

Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, it seemed that every organization to which I have contributed anything in the past decade — time, money, a good word — had one purpose: Send an email each day declaring that time was running out to make a tax-deductible contribution before 2014 was over.

How much did I donate during that week? $0.

I’m simply not the target audience for these end-of-year donation pleas: deducting charitable contributions does not reap tax benefits for my household.

The annual deluge of emails asking for donations always sets me thinking about fundraising. This isn’t surprising, given that Health and Nutrition’s fiscal wellness is a major focus of my work. This year, my mind turned not only to fundraising but also to volunteering, program partnerships, and employee engagement. What do these have in common? Relationships.

All demand strong relationships, forged through identification, sa…

Website Bytes

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate 

Here’s your monthly round-up of what’s new on FD websites!
Partnering for School Success: Check out a new content page, Overindulgence: The Test of Four, built by Ellie McCann, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency, with help from Ruth Ellis, Web Production Assistant. (Note from March 2016: This page was moved to the Live Healthy, Live Well website.)Live Healthy, Live Well: The number of recipes in The Recipe Box have doubled. New recipes include Taco SoupBarley Almond Casserole, and Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash.Also on Live Healthy, Live Well: Mary Jo Katras, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency, reviewed and updated Staying Safe This Winter, a content page that’s becoming more relevant as the temperature drops!
And here’s your fun website fact for this month: The age range of the most frequent visitors to our Family websites is 25-34. That means most visitors to the Family websites are part of the Millennial generation.

Ryan Johnson: Bridging the Worlds of Extension and the Department of Human Services

By Renee Obrecht-Como, Program Operations Director — Health & Nutrition 

I am pleased to announce that Associate Program Director Ryan Johnson will be expanding his work with Family Development in the new year. Ryan has been with FD Health and Nutrition for nearly five years, during which time he has worked exclusively with SNAP-Ed. He is the liaison between Extension and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), which directs all SNAP activities in our state. Ryan has developed and maintained partnerships, administered engagement and communication projects, and provided policy analysis to benefit SNAP-Ed programming.