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Coming Up for Air...


Dear Colleagues,

mar072014-Karen.jpgLast summer I launched an occasional blog to keep you informed about the happenings in the Center for Family Development. Unfortunately, I have not posted since mid-October but I am back with new energy and ideas to share with you about the center and our work. Much has occurred since I last posted and in this post I begin to share changes, new efforts and more.

After you read the blog, please take a few minutes to add a comment. Let me know what you would like to see in this blog and any other feedback that would be useful. Thank you ahead of time for your input.


Managing change...

In November, a re-designed health and nutrition program was announced. The plan included new position classifications for educators in the SNAP Education program and their supervisors. These changes resulted in the layoff of employees and hiring for the new positions. The Health and Nutrition continues to implement the model. In the near future, a webinar will be held for all Extension staff and key partners about the new Health and Nutrition model. Look for more details soon.

I bring up this organizational change effort because of what I learned about change and transition. Typically I think of myself as someone open to change with a strong desire to try new things. In addition, I had written curricula and publications on managing change in the past. But I found myself very challenged by the changes that needed to be made to accommodate the loss of funding for the SNAP Ed program. To help cope, I turned to resources readily available on the Internet and want to share a few resources with you.

As I read about change, I was reminded that sometimes change can be overwhelming and difficult to accept. Numerous resources are available on the Internet and elsewhere to help us manage stress and strong emotions, cope with conflict, and build our resilience during times of change. Here are a few to get you started on thriving through periods of transition.

Dealing with Stress

These Family Development resources have been developed for various audiences by UMN Extension faculty and staff, and community partners.

Transition and Changes: Practical Strategies

This fact sheet from Colorado State University Extension provides an overview of strategies for managing changes and transitions as well as background information change and transition.

University of Minnesota Employee Assistance Program

If personal efforts at managing stress are not helping, consider the UMN Employee Assistance Program. EAP provides cost-free and confidential professional consultation and referral services for University employees, academic staff, and faculty who have work or personal concerns. Spouses/partners and dependents are also eligible for EAP services.

Recently Hired Staff

La Tasha Shevlin began Monday, March 3, as the Dakota County Financial Empowerment Extension Educator. La Tasha completed a Master's of Education and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota. She most recently was the Employment Training Specialist at Project for Pride in Living in Minneapolis where she designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated learning programs on personal finance and health specific content. La Tasha can be reached at

Amy Baack, recently hired as the Southeast SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinator, joined U of MN Extension in 2010. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Baack previously held positions in Nicollet County where she served as the Community Nutrition Educator and most recently as a Regional Educator in the Southeast. Prior to joining Extension, she held positions with Mankato Public Schools, Minnesota Community Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension. Amy started her new position February 17, 2014 and is housed at the Mankato Regional Office. You can reach Amy at

Patti LaQua has been hired as one of two SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinators for the Central Region. She starts her new role with Extension on March 10th and will be housed at the Ramsey County Extension office. Patti is a registered dietitian and has spent the past 8 years working at the School of Public Health on nutrition education and obesity prevention programs with a focus on behavior change. She has coordinated nutrition education programs including developing the content, education materials and training staff to deliver a consistent intervention. Patti has also counseled and educated both individuals and groups. You can reach Patti at

Post to the Family Development Pinterest Page

Social media is becoming increasingly important as a delivery mode for Extension education. In mid-October, Brianna Routh sent out an email to the FD listserv about Pinterest. Like many of you, Pinterest feeds my creative side, providing knitting and crocheting ideas, fashion advice, and more. I want to remind you to use our Pinterest page. Here is the body of the original message that Brianna sent in October about our Pinterest page. Brianna can also send you the fact sheet on how to use Pinterest that was attached to the original email.

As you may be aware, Family Development now has our own Pinterest page aimed toward providing resources and information for parents! I would like to personally extend an invite for you to participate and contribute to our efforts. I know that Pinterest may be new to some of you, so I have included a few tools to help you get started. Included in this email are: 3 videos to get you started on using Pinterest and our FD page; a fact sheet with what makes a good pin, vocab, and more; a link to our Pinterest page; and a quick 4 question survey to determine if these are useful and what else you might need.
So maybe you have 20 minutes free to look through all these materials or just 5 minutes throughout the next few days, please check these resources out and contribute to the FD Pinterest page so your program and interests are included as we continue to connect with and educate program participants!
Personal Pinterest Profile:
Pinterest Newsfeed:
Contribute to FD Pinterest Page:
University of Minnesota Extension Family Development Pinterest Page:
Thanks, Brianna Routh

Something to Consider ... Addressing Generational Poverty

This year marks the 50-year War on Poverty launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The media is rich with commentary about whether or not this effort was successful. As with many efforts, the news is mixed.

The Ascend at the Aspen Institute has been offering a two-generation solution to poverty in which programs work with the children and family to break the poverty cycle. I subscribe to their listserv and recently received a newsletter from them that highlighted financial education and early childhood family education as solutions to two-generation poverty. Go their website to learn more about these efforts.

2014 Minnesota Award Winners for the National Association of Family Consumer Sciences

Join in congratulating award winners in Minnesota that will be forwarded to the NEAFCS Regional and National Awards Committee. We will have a strong presence as they evaluate award nominations from around the country.

Mary M. Wells Memorial Diversity Award — An Exploration into Culturally Relevant Family Resource Management Education
Jennifer Garbow
Antonio Meraz Alba
Rebecca Hagen Jokela
Trish Olson

Food Safety Award — Food Allergen Training for Food Service Employees
Suzanne Driessen
Kathy Brandt
Katherine Waters

Communications Awards — Internet Education Technology: Helping Families Recover Financially After a Disaster: A webinar series for helping professionals
Sara Croymans
Lori Hendrickson
Rebecca Hagen Jokela

Communications Awards — Educational Curriculum Package — Chat & Chew: Experiencing the Dietary Guidelines
Connie Burns
Mary Schroeder

Communications Awards — Written Press Release: Prevent the Spread of Norovirus During the Holidays
Deb Botzek-Linn

Community Partnership — Cooking Safely for a Crowd Video Conference
Deb Botzek-Linn

Social Networking — U of MN Extension Family Development Pinterest
Brianna Routh

Continued Excellence
Deb Botzek Linn

Distinguished Service
Kelly Kunkel

Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award - 4-H Consumer Decision Making Programming
Sara Croymans
Carrie Ann Olson

Don't forget to comment on the stories in this post. Also, be certain to congratulate your colleagues for their awards, to use the FD Pinterest page, and to read about the Two Generation Solution to Poverty and managing stress and change.


Hannah Miller, RD Author Profile Page said:

Congrats to Brianna for recognition in Social Networking!

Shameless plug: if Pinterest isn't your thing and you're on Facebook, like the Simply Good Eating Facebook page!

robrecht Author Profile Page said:

Great update, Karen! Thanks so much for sharing about change and all of the great recipients of awards from NEAFCS... and everything else. This is a great way to keep up on what's happening in Family Development.

gold0037 Author Profile Page said:

Great blog! If you have time to post more often, maybe mention what one or two CFD employees are working on and where they can be found in case we want to connect. Maybe three or four sentences/person. Brief. Thanks!! Abby

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