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Showing posts from June, 2016

'The Only Way to Make It All Work'

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

Years ago, I was given the opportunity to conduct interviews with low-income mothers living in rural Minnesota communities. The interviews often took place in their living rooms or kitchens and often lasted up to three hours. These mothers voluntarily shared their life stories with us, often including very intimate details and experiences. Hearing the experiences of these mothers, who struggled daily to find jobs, childcare, transportation, and housing, and to put food on the table for their children really opened my eyes to the everyday challenges of living in poverty. One mother’s story really struck a chord with me, and I think of it even more now that I have children of my own.

Recruit the Heart, Train the Brain

By Sharon Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

On Tuesday, July 12, Family Development (FD) will host an all-day workshop with international speaker America Bracho, M.D., founder of the Latino Health Access in Santa Ana, CA.

Dr. Bracho’s world-renowned work with The Promotora Model for health education has inspired and informed the work of many. 

Bringing All Voices to the Table

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

On Thursday, June 30, a team of Extension educators is hosting a participant-driven, web-based conversation about bringing all voices to the table to support health equity, food security, and healthy food access in Southwest Minnesota communities.

Anne Dybsetter and Mary Schroeder, University of Minnesota Extension health and nutrition educators with the Center for Family Development, are teaming up with Toby Spanier and Neil Linscheid, Extension educators with the Center for Community Vitality, to facilitate an online conversation. With the help of guiding questions, participants will share stories, ideas, and resources about invitation, voice, barriers, and engagement in their rural communities. This webinar is part of the Southwest Food Network Community of Practice (CoP), a year-long series of learning opportunities related to network-building, facilitation, assessment, and action planning focused on health equity and food access.

SNAP-Ed Community Partners Hit the Ground Running

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

In their first quarter, SNAP-Ed Community Partners have already reached over 16,000 Minnesotans; partnered with approximately 260 organizations around the state; and secured in-kind donations of time, supplies, and equipment, as well as grants, totaling $118,321.

Flying Horses and Kitchen Cupboards

By Teri L. Burgess-Champoux, Program Director — Health and Nutrition Special Projects

Extension work is like a merry-go-round: There are numerous projects of different shapes and sizes always in motion.

In my six months with Extension, I have gotten to know several of these projects, as well as those “riding the merry-go-round” with me.

Getting out of my office in Coffey Hall and out in the community visiting educators as they engage in their work has enabled me to meet Extension staff members and see firsthand how they use curricula to teach our diverse target audiences about healthy eating and physical activity. Thank you to Roger, Yoha, Tou, Karen, Alicia, and Cecilia for your willingness to let me observe your classes. Highlights of these visits include playing nutrition bingo with ELL participants and with school-aged children learning about the concept of “variety,” and answering questions about cardiovascular disease and diet and preparing spice blends for women at Transformat…

The Families Behind the Funds

By Sharon S. Mulé, Staff Development Coordinator

What’s in a name? You might be asking this question about some names associated with this year’s professional development conference. Who (or what) is Qualey-Skjervold and who is Jean Bauer?

Your Money, Your Goals Training Sessions Launch Next Week

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

On Thursday, June 30, Lori Hendrickson, Extension educator, family resiliency, will hold the first of 15 training sessions for the expanded Your Money, Your Goals toolkit in Virginia, MN.

Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) is a financial empowerment toolkit created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that equips frontline staff with tools and skills to empower clients in understanding their own financial situations and connects them to resources available in their community. Last year, Family Resiliency educators participated in the national rollout of YMYG, training close to 500 frontline staff across Minnesota (See Our Goals, Our Successes). This year, CFPB reviewed 147 proposals to find partners for a second round of training nation-wide, and Cooperative Extension Service was ranked #1.

Registration Now Open for Financial Educator Certificate Program

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate 

Registration is now open for the fourth cohort Financial Educator Certificate (FEC) Program. The FEC program is an online course designed to equip community-based professionals with knowledge and skills to work with people to manage financial resources, build financial assets, and improve financial health and well-being.

Expanding and Strengthening Community

By Trish Olson, Director of Programs

Before I left the office last Friday, I had decided on a theme for this week’s column: Community. Then the devastating mass killing happened in Orlando and it only reaffirmed the importance of this theme. As President Obama said in a speech on Sunday, “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”

Family Development’s community is expanding through the SNAP-Ed Community Partnership Funding initiative. As Director of Programs for the Center for Family Development, I recently participated in a report-out from 15 agencies after they had conducted five months of SNAP-Ed activities focusing on policy, systems, and environmental changes. What can be accomplished in only five…

Sharing Health: Community Supported Agriculture for Families in Need

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

At four sites in central Minnesota, community members, health care systems, and Extension are pulling together programs to make CSA shares available this season to individuals and families in need — at no cost.

Each program is tailored to the community, but what they all have in common is a commitment to the total health of each family they serve. All sites screen clients for food insecurity questions using the American Academy of Pediatrics’ two-question screening tool and include nutrition education from Extension staff for individuals and families receiving a share. Each community is partnering with chefs, dietitians, and local public health staff to do food demonstrations, for which Extension is providing recipes.

Sprout is the food hub providing a total of 175 CSA shares at the three sites in Todd and Morrison counties. Arlene Jones, founder and manager of Sprout, is one of the brains behind the program in Staples, MN that has inspired…

Adapting Diabetes Prevention Program in Southwest Minnesota

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health & Nutrition

Latino and Somali community members in Southwest Minnesota are learning how to prevent diabetes as part of the cultural adaptation of I CAN Prevent Diabetes (ICANPD), a diabetes prevention program for people with prediabetes.

SNAP-Ed Educators Leticia Rodriguez in Worthington and Abdulahi Dohe in Willmar are testing strategies to adapt the program for different cultural audiences. For example, Leticia and Abdulahi used video and audio teaching tools. They also identified cultural teachings that match curriculum content, such as traditional sayings that encourage exercise or healthy eating. For instance, Islamic hadiths (sayings of the Prophet) encourage being moderate, eating slowly, and filling one’s stomach “one third with food, one third with water, and one third with air.”

Wrap Arounds: Extending Learning Beyond the Webinar

By Sara Croymans, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Extension Educators Anita Hering and I collaborated with four colleagues to present a professional development workshop titled "Wrap Arounds: Extending Learning Beyond the Webinar" at the 2016 National eXtension Conference in San Antonio, Texas this March.
What are #MFLN webinar wrap arounds? @ndbob shares with this great Sketchnote — Karen Jeannette (@kjeannette) March 23, 2016
The "Wrap Around" session focused on the innovative approaches four Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) concentration areas have used to extend learning beyond webinars and build engaged online communities. The session had 37 participants with another 25 joining via Periscope (live video broadcast) who learned how MFLN intentionally plans to reach beyond the confines of the webinar and create a conversation among learners using blogs, podcasts, video, social media posts, Twitter chats, infog…

Three Graduate Student Updates

Grad Student Takes on New Role in FD
Youjie Zhang has worked with the Applied Research and Evaluation (ARE) Team in Family Development since February 2015 in a role supporting Marla Reicks, Ph.D., on a questionnaire validation project for SNAP-Ed outcome measurements among third, fourth, and fifth graders. On June 17, Youjie will take on a new role with the ARE Team supporting the Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behaviors project. (This is the project that recently received an AFRI grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Family Development Receives Nearly $1 Million NIFA Grant.)

Youijie holds a master's degree in nutritional sciences from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She is pursuing a doctorate in nutrition with the University of Minnesota Department of Food Science and Nutrition. Her areas of focus are evidenced-based nutrition education program design and outcome evaluation.

Grad Student from CEHD Joins FD
Isabel Lopez recently joined FD as a g…

Reading to Reset and Rejuvenate

By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean

For many of us, summer brings an opportunity to go on vacation. Every year, my husband Steve and I head to the beach for a week before Memorial Day. We feel so fortunate to have this opportunity and try to take advantage of every minute to reset and rejuvenate.

This year, the vacation gave me the opportunity to rediscover my joy of reading. When I was younger, I devoured a book or two a week. As my career changes brought more responsibilities and greater demands on my time, my reading for personal and professional development — and simple pleasure — waned. But because reading is such a powerful way for me to reset and rejuvenate, I’ve tried to make more time for it; and on this vacation, I succeeded. Here is what I read.

Market Bucks Now Available at Farmers Markets

By Ryan Johnson, Associate Program Director — SNAP-Ed, and Hunger Solutions Minnesota

SNAP users can now “spend $10, get $10” with their EBT card at farmers markets across Minnesota through Market Bucks. The Market Bucks program matches SNAP-EBT customers’ dollars at 78 participating markets. (Find a participating farmers market near you: Find Your Local Farmers Market.) Hunger Solutions Minnesota has been busy signing up farmers markets and distributing Market Bucks materials. Here’s how the Market Bucks program works.

Strengthening Southwest Minnesota's Healthy Eating Work

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health & Nutrition

In many places across Southwest Minnesota, community members partner with public health professionals to make their communities healthier places to live, work, learn and play. In 2016, two groups of these professionals — SNAP-Ed educators and Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) staff — are joining forces to strengthen their community-based healthy eating work.

FD in the News

Here’s your monthly roundup of regional media coverage on the work Family Development staff members are doing.

A Collaborative Cooking Class
SNAP-Ed Educator June Sorenson has developed community partnerships for her hands-on cooking class in Wells, MN (Faribault County). Area churches have contributed funding for some of the groceries used in class and for all of the take-home groceries and child care.

To Help Jail Clients Gain Financial Freedom
FD has a reputation for helping families and communities in all corners of the state and from all walks of life improve their lives. Now a new program has Extension Educator Sarah Butler sharing her expertise with clients at the Dakota County Jail.