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Showing posts from March, 2023

Tips for evaluating grant funded programs

By Samantha Grant For the past year, I’ve been in a new Extension role as a research project director for the Center for Research and Outreach (REACH) . I’ve learned so much about grant funded projects because our team supports the professional development, evaluation, and technical assistance of 41 Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) programs around the country. Do evaluation requirements for a grant project have you stressed out? Writing and managing grants can be a big undertaking. Many large, national grants require certain evaluation measures. These measures vary by grant. I spent many years evaluating grant projects in Minnesota 4-H, and now I’m on the other side of the table enforcing grant guidelines. The biggest thing I’ve learned from my new perspective is that the funder is often trying to tell a larger story of how all their funded programs connect to the community change they want to address. Sometimes these evaluation measures are a perfect fit for your individu

Andragogy in youth work?

By Karyn Santl A youth worker works with youth, right? They do! But they also interact with adults including parents, volunteers and other staff. In the organization I work with we have adult volunteers that lead various learning opportunities for youth. Our paid staff lead and manage volunteers as part of their position. They also interact with the parents of our youth members. Adult learning principles A youth worker will likely interact with adults in a variety of ways: facilitating group training, serving on a committee with other adults, in one-on-one conversations, or alongside an adult to coordinate an event. Whether you're training adults or working alongside them, a good resource to rely on is the adult learning principles. These principles are known as andragogy , the “art and science of teaching adults”. I’ve summarized these principles from a University of Kentucky Extension article and a National 4-H curriculum . Adults are independent and self-directed learners. They

Building healthy partnerships

By Karen Beranek Youth development professionals want to make a difference in the lives of the youth they serve. With so many youth-serving organizations, working together can make a deeper impact in reaching more youth.  University of Minnesota Extension partners to deliver local programming throughout the state. Our  Minnesota 4-H program  greatly values the many youth organizations we have the opportunity to work with including: PreK-12 schools  Higher educational institutions Government agencies Tribal communities For-profit businesses Nonprofit organizations Community groups  What does a healthy partnership look like? It starts with the idea that we can do more together than separately. My colleagues describe  developing a partnership mindset  as: Persistent effort Effective relationship skills Transparent communication Adaptability Minnesota 4-H supports successful partnership-building by understanding that each partnership will look unique based on the diverse needs of the youth

Benefits of creative writing in groups of youth

By Sarah Odendahl The secret artist - it’s a popular media trope. A teenager who enjoys writing, drawing, or writing songs does so in private, with most of their family and friends oblivious to their talent. It can make for a compelling story, but research is showing that youth have much more to gain by performing their creative endeavors in a group of their peers. There is a wealth of research spanning decades that shows that creative and artistic formats can help improve mental health and emotional well-being.  More recent research adds to what we know by exploring the impact of creative work that is made and shared in a group setting. Engaging in creative writing in a group setting can help youth: Develop and understand their identity . A writing group that creates a safe environment for participation allows youth to "feel free to be authentic (be how they like to be) and honest about their thoughts and feelings." Develop relationships between peers . Youth have an opport