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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.)

Little girl looking at her shoes
Change brings opportunities. For Lucia, wearing shoes gives her the opportunity to go more places and cover new — potentially rocky — ground. Similarly, the changes at Extension Center for Family Development will bring new opportunities and the capacity to tackle more difficult terrain. Here are three of the changes and the opportunities they bring:
  • New staff. We are hiring a new program leader for Family Resiliency as Trish Olson moves into her expanded role overseeing all FD programs. Keep an eye out for more postings over the next month or so for additional positions, such as staff development coordinator, program director for Health and Nutrition special projects, and research associate.
  • New leadership model. Many of you are interested in knowing more about the new FD leadership model. On Monday, June 22, from 9–10 a.m., I will host a webinar for all FD staff and other interested Extension employees to outline the new model in detail and answer your questions. We have been busy implementing the aspects that were described in the May 11 FD Update webinar. Details on how to attend the June webinar will be emailed in the next few weeks.
  • New stressors. Avian flu and the downturn in iron ore markets have led to layoffs and other stressors for Minnesota families. We are currently updating our online resources for coping with layoffs and other sources of suddenly reduced income, and we will be promoting them across the state. In the meantime, check out and share this new video: Changing Spending to Live with Reduced Income.
Just like my granddaughter Lucia, "step out" and enjoy the increasingly warm weather and stay safe and healthy as you enjoy your summer activities.

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean

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