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CYFC Update

CYFC Update — July 2017

kids arm in arm laughing

Welcome to the new CYFC Update

Welcome to the newly updated "CYFC Update", the primary way we let you know about our work and the work of our colleagues. You'll find this newsletter now has more online resources you can use and share, and also focuses on the work we do in direct partnership with community members. To highlight the great work of our partners, we will provide links to related events and resources of others as well.

Lessons from the Field 2017: Meeting the Needs of Transgender Youth

This year, the Lessons from the Field presenter team traveled across Minnesota from January through May to deliver and facilitate face-to-face workshops about supporting transgender youth.

Our current Scholar in Residence, Dr. Jenifer McGuire, spoke about language, approaches to gender, standards of practice, and stages of development for transgender youth, as well as her research and interviews with transgender youth. 

Jenifer McGuire in front of class

Nathan Hesse, a SNAP-Ed educator, shared details about food insecurity, health disparities and specifics about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education related to trans youth. Cari Michaels, CYFC Extension Educator, presented a framework for mental health and spoke about mental health risks and significant protective factors for transgender youth. All presenters spoke about how families and communities serve as sources of support. Higher rates of homelessness, food scarcity, and suicide are among some of the serious health challenges for transgender youth. However, with mediating factors such as supportive families and communities, these youth can thrive as well as their peers. Nearly five hundred people attended the events, with waiting lists at several sites due to limited space. Participants included social workers, educators, case managers, parents, youth, and many others from diverse backgrounds and professions. Venues included a community library, a church, Extension regional offices, social service agencies and other community organizations. 

An exciting part of our Lessons from the Field series this year was hosting Vanessa Lacey, a visiting international scholar from Ireland with the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI). Vanessa joined the presenter group in Minneapolis to speak about how TENI and other state supported programs in Ireland provide support, advocacy and education for trans youth and their families. Vanessa also spoke to community groups during her stay with us. Other featured speakers for our Minneapolis event included parent John Reinan, elementary school social worker Anita Arenson, and Mary Clark Hoelscher with Out for Equity, Saint Paul Public Schools.

CYFC Program Updates and News

Children's Mental Health eReview, April 2017: "Mental Health of Transgender Youth: The Role of Family, School and Community in Promoting Resilience"

e review cover

The latest issue of CYFC's Children's Mental Health eReview summarizes the research about trans youth and mental health, minority stress, and three contexts represented in the literature that affect outcomes - home and family, schools and communities. Community authors provide detail about effective practices in each of these contexts. This issue is the result of a year-long collaborative writing process with Research Author Dr. Jenifer McGuire along with Derek Mahan, who served as the Graduate Research Assistant for this project, and Community Authors Vanessa Lacey and Mary Clark Hoelscher. Read this eReview issue on our website then help inform future issues by evaluating it. 

Cultural Providers Network

CYFC has been a partner in the Cultural Providers Network (CPN) since CPN began nearly a decade ago. This professional network is focused on promoting mental health in children and families of color, with a vision that "All culturally and ethnically diverse children and families thrive in, participate in, and contribute to healthy communities." CPN meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be Thursday, July 13th from 11am-1pm at the Wilder Foundation's main building and will include and update in substance use program reform in DHS. Visit the CPN website to learn more about members' perspectives and stories. Want to join CPN? Email CYFC research assistant Mina Blyly-Strauss.

Bruce Vento School/CYFC Partnership: Healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy learners

teacher with kids

CYFC continues to partner with Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul to build engaging learning environments that promote academic success. Here are some recent highlights.

Schoolyard Garden

June marked the end of the SNAP-Ed funded position for the schoolyard garden coordinator, Kirsten Saylor. She was a vital player in helping teachers integrate the garden into their curricula. Principal Scott Masini, and Assistant Principal Amanda Musachio, both lauded Kirsten's work with students and teachers and are working to secure financial support to continue this position. Thank you, Kirsten! Read about the end of the year on the Healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy learners Blog.

Nature-Based Play Space

With the support of St. Paul School District's new playground designer, Charlie Colvin, we are revisiting plans to create a nature-based play area at Bruce Vento school. School administrators and facilities personnel have discussed benefits of nature-based play that include cooperative play, creative thinking, and problem solving. We are currently exploring conceptual design elements that are safe and accessible. Since the school district is interested in renovating school playgrounds, we anticipate completion in the next few years.

Teacher Sanctuary

An important part of creating successful learning environments is reducing stress and promoting well-being for teachers and other school personnel. We are working with the University of Minnesota College of Design to create a Teacher Sanctuary space at the school, and specifically have engaged two design students with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to transform Bruce Vento's existing staff lounge into a sanctuary space that will promote resilience in the school's staff. Construction, painting, and furniture installation are now underway!

School Dining Room Redesign

The partnership grant from the University of Minnesota Department of Interior Design is reaching its end. Design student Miranda McNamara presented her design concepts to a team of school administrators and facilities personnel. Features that the principal and staff prioritized were noise reduction, nature themes, and more communal eating spaces. Grant money paid for the new dining room tables that will arrive this summer. This fall students will enjoy eating at smaller round tables with attached benches. We hope the communal tables will allow students quieter conversations and reduce the noise level in the dining room. Miranda's other noise reduction features and design elements including a teaching kitchen and learning corrals will wait until the district completes their school renovation plans. Learn more about the CYFC-Bruce Vento Partnership and read the MinnPost article How one St. Paul elementary school is building a trauma-informed learning environment.

Online Case Study — Early Childhood Mental Health

graphic showing the several layers of positive and negative influences on a child

CYFC has completed the online learning tool "Brianna and Tanya: A Case Study about Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health". By incorporating current research, quiz questions, and interactive activities, this internet-facilitated tool teaches professionals and students serving young children and families ecological, developmental and interdisciplinary approaches to infant and early childhood mental health. The case study was recently piloted in several professional and academic sites and will be available for use in the fall. If you are interested in partnering with CYFC staff to use the case, contact Cari Michaels at Learn more about our case studies on the CYFC website.

Related Community Resources

Recent Presentations

National Urban Extension Conference

This past May, CYFC staff presented two workshop sessions at the 2017 Urban Extension Conference. Packed rooms viewed our videos and other resources related to "Historical Trauma and Cultural Healing" and "Children's Mental Health as a Public Health Issue" and discussed how they related to their professional experiences and implications for future work.

Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health (MACMH) Annual Conference

CYFC presented "Children's Mental Health: Considering a New Framework" to an audience of social workers, educators, health professionals and others on April 24.

Educational Equity in Action Conference

CYFC staff and Bruce Vento Elementary School principal facilitated the session "ACE Study and Bruce Vento Elementary: Key components in a creating a trauma sensitive school climate" on June 21.

Recent Mentions

The National Council on Family Relations highlights the current issue of the eReview on their Resource Library page.

The eReview issue Falling behind: Understanding the educational disparities faced by immigrant Latino students in the U.S. received a University of Minnesota 2017 Communicators Forum Maroon & Gold Award.

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