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Showing posts from June, 2015

Mastering the Obvious

By Trina Adler Barno, Program Leader — Health & Nutrition

Many of you know that I was born, raised, and currently live in Eau Claire, WI. This fact provides never-ending opportunities for my Minnesota-centric co-workers to give me a hard time about life over the border. I have endured painful references to my IQ dropping as I drive over the bridge into Hudson, heard inquiries about the amount of cheese that is clogging my arteries, and let’s not even talk about the per-capita-beer-consumption comparisons. In response, I take every opportunity to boast about the wonders of Wisconsin and the greater Eau Claire area in particular (Menard’s, Justin Vernon, and Bush’s Beans to name but a few).

What Is Extension Doing to Engage Minnesota's Diverse Communities?

By Heather Lee, Project Manager

While Family Development has made a commitment to reach new culturally and economically diverse audiences, along with traditionally underserved audiences, it’s important to understand that University of Minnesota Extension as a whole has been committed to better engaging Minnesota's diverse communities for several years. Here are some highlights of Extension’s efforts from 2014 and goals for 2015:
Cultural Agility webinars. Six webinars were offered to Extension staff, educators, and professors in 2014. Topics included an overview on GLBTQ identities and communities, introduction to disability and disability services, and curriculum development for diverse audiences. Ten more webinars are planned in 2015.Foundations for Success. This recently created cohort provides new educators a learning network and safe environment for questions and support across Extension. As part of this effort, sessions have been hosted on demographics and cultural communitie…

Teen Talk Take and Teach Lessons Just Re-released

By Jodi Dworkin, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist — Department of Family Social Science

I am very excited to announce the re-release of two Teen Talk Take and Teach lessons: Helping Teens Navigate Peer Relationships and Bullying: A Big Problem with Big Consequences.

After distributing more than 500 CDs to professionals and families in more than 34 states, these lessons have been updated and enhanced with more interactive and engaging parent activities. These lessons are now available on the web for your use.

New Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?™ Resource

By Marlene Stum, Extension Specialist and Professor — Family Social Science

We wanted to let you know that a new Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?™ (WGGYPP) resource is now available. The Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate? Workshop Facilitator's Toolkit is a new resource that will help you facilitate workshops on inheritance planning using WGGYPP resources. It replaces the older WGGYPP educator's package.

The WGGYPP toolkit includes one copy of the:
WGGYPP Workshop Facilitator's CD, complete with a workshop facilitator's guide, presentation files, flyer, and adaptable evaluations.WGGYPP Workbook (for participants)WGGYPP DVD Also, please note that I will be facilitating a webinar on September 17 related to this toolkit. At this webinar, I will review what's new in the research and proven tips and tools for teaching a one-hour WGGYPP workshop. Watch for more details on this webinar in the near future.

For more information and to see samples of the new re…

South Carolina, Symbols, and Social Marketing

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs

Last week while I was “mentally preparing” to write this opening column, I thought, “I need to reflect on something like social marketing or GIS mapping rather than writing once again about culture, race, microaggressions, or FD’s concerted efforts to reach underserved populations.”

And then Wednesday came. Officials reported that a white gunman killed nine black churchgoers at an African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, SC. I thought, “How can I not acknowledge and reflect on this heinous act?” No information helps me “make sense” of this act, but an article — The GOP's uneasy relationship with the Confederate flag from the Washington Post — helped me think of symbolism in our world that is all around us and the influence it has blatantly, subtly, and even unconsciously.

Finding Answers Now: The Human Side of Avian Flu

By Michael Brott, Communications Manager

Avian influenza (AI) has had a devastating effect on the livelihood of Minnesota farmers and producers. What about families and communities — how does avian flu impact those who don't work directly on a poultry farm? From local layoffs and business closures to increased prices and concerns about poultry food products, AI can threaten families and communities' sense of safety and security. Even if you do not work on a farm or poultry production facility, you may be wondering how you, your family, and your community will be affected.

Neighboring states are also grappling with AI — their families face similar situations and share similar needs. University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development has partnered with human sciences program leaders in Iowa and South Dakota in a tri-state effort. We are working together to share materials, leverage resources, and coordinate distribution of potentially helpful information and educati…

Design Your Difference

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

I associate this time of year in Family Development with planning. We are poised for a new University fiscal year, and the annual SNAP-Ed Plan comes due. This year, we also have a five-year plan for EFNEP in progress. It’s an exciting time, when the focus is on our hopes and dreams for the coming year’s work.

With this frame, a piece from the CBS Sunday Morning news show a couple of weeks ago, Designs That Make a Difference, struck me. It was all about functional, beautifully designed pieces used by people living on limited financial resources. In one example, Yves Behar, a prominent industrial designer, described one of his proudest achievements: $5 eyeglasses that are worn by millions of Mexican schoolchildren who cannot afford glasses at a retail price. The children already had glasses, handed out by the government. However, the children were not wearing those glasses because of their unfashionable design.…

New Name, Same Goal

By Mary Marczak, Research and Evaluation Specialist

As our center continues to promote community-engaged work and pursue policy, systems, and environmental change, the members of our Research and Evaluation unit are becoming increasingly visible in communities. While the phrase “research and evaluation” works well internally, it doesn’t explain to our community partners and research participants the application that is derived from our work. Our team discussed the need to better communicate our work through our name, and decided to change the name of our unit to Applied Research and Evaluation.

Indignities and Insults: Racial Microaggressions

Trish Olson, Assistant to the Associate Dean

Have you ever attended a conference where, when someone asks you afterward “What did you learn?” you drew a blank? Such was not the case with the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) conference I attended in Washington, D.C. last week. Conference planners, led by our own Lynne Borden, department head of Family Social Science, tapped Caprice D. Hollins, Psy.D. from Cultures Connecting to provide content training.

In Dr. Hollins’ breakout session, she cited Derald Sue’s seminal work “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life.” Dr. Sue defines racial microaggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

Our Goals, Our Successes

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

The only thing more fun than achieving a goal is celebrating the achievement. Extension's Family Resiliency team is a national partner in the delivery of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) financial empowerment toolkit. As a team, we made the commitment to train 250 direct service providers across the state between November 2014 and May 2015. I am proud to report that to date, we have trained 486 direct service providers!

The success of exceeding our goal lies with the relationships we built with community partners across the state, both before and during this commitment. These relationships were critical in so many ways — helping to promote and market our YMYG workshops, connecting us to new audiences across the state that would benefit from them, and providing space for training. Our participation in several statewide and local coalitions and networks gave us the opportunity to colla…

Addressing the Human Side of Avian Influenza

By Michael Brott, Communications Manager and Heather Lee, Project Manager

Many of us have seen it first hand. Others have heard in the news. Avian influenza has had a devastating effect in Minnesota. According to University of Minnesota Extension, the economic losses are estimated at $309.9 million. In addition to the broad economic impact, there are short and long term effects to families — the human side of avian influenza. From local layoffs and business closures to increased prices and concerns about poultry food products, avian flu can threaten families and communities' sense of safety and security.

We're happy to announce that FD has partnered with Iowa State University Extension and South Dakota State University Extension Service to develop a new website of resources for individuals and families affected by the avian flu. Visit the website to get familiar with the resources and encourage your partners and community members to do the same: The Human Side of Avian Influen…

Word Matters: Bringing the 'I' to Your Writing

By Mary Vitcenda, Senior Editor

One of my favorite writers on writing, William Zinsser, died last month at the age of 92. Zinsser was a big advocate of clarity, simplicity, and brevity. "There's not much to be said about the period except that most writers don't reach it soon enough," he wrote in his classic book on non-fiction writing, "On Writing Well." (That book has sold more than 1.5 million copies since its publication nearly 40 years ago.)

But Zinsser also advocated injecting the personal in non-fiction writing. Not in a self-indulgent or excessive way, but in a way that makes your writing authentic and memorable. He called it bringing the "I" to your writing.

Stepping Out

For many of us, June brings a change of pace in our professional and family lives as the school year winds down and the summer vacation season and county fairs begin.

Lucia, my granddaughter, reminded me that change is not always easy. She turns 10 months old today and last week, her mother put shoes on her for the first time. We affectionately call Lucia the “sock ninja” — she pulls her socks off just about as soon as they go on. Pictured at right, we see her plotting how to get these mysterious things off her feet as quickly as possible. (By the way, Lucia’s nana now has more hair than she does.)

Health and Nutrition Team Launches Farmers Market Guide

By Katie Spoden, AmeriCorp VISTA Member — Health and Nutrition

As farmers markets kicked into gear last month, FD launched the new "Accepting EBT at Minnesota Farmers Markets" guide. There are many guides to accepting EBT at farmers markets, but this one includes information specific to Minnesota practices and covers the entire spectrum of how to successfully accept EBT at a farmers market. That includes everything from applying for SNAP retailer status with U.S. Department of Agriculture to intentionally engaging community partners in promotion of this service.

The guide reflects interviews with staff and operators of farmers markets already accepting EBT in Minnesota, case studies of successful farmers markets throughout the country, research on the specifics of EBT acceptance at farmers markets, and my personal experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA member building the foundation for EBT acceptance at eight farmers markets in central Minnesota. Besides myself, contributors to …

New Staff Member Joins FD Family Resiliency Team

By Rosi Heins, Interim Program Leader — Family Resiliency

Shawna Faith Thompson joins the Family Resiliency team today as the Carver-Scott County Financial Capability Extension Educator. Shawna obtained her bachelor's degree in Economic Development from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul and is certified as a personal finance coach, homebuyer counselor, and an IRS advanced-level volunteer tax preparer. Her career includes 10 years of educating low- to moderate-income clients on handling personal finances and building assets for two Twin Cities non-profits: EMERGE Community Development and WomenVenture. Shawna is passionate about credit building and asset development to move her clients toward financial stability.

I look forward to working with Shawna as she gets to know Extension and FD. Please say "hello" and welcome her on board.