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Accomplishments & Program Outreach

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Accomplishments & Program Outreach

2007—2008 Civil Rights Accomplishments

The following summary list identifies Affirmative Action achievements made by UMass Extension Administration, the Diversity Working Group and Programs during 2007-08.

  1. Initiatives & Priorities: The completion of  Extension’s 2006-2010 Civil Rights Plan and Implementation Timeline for NIFA/USDA involved formation of the Extension staff  Diversity Working Group (DWG), representing all four programs, to plan & implement Priority Goals & Objectives in September, 2007:
    2007 -08 Focus Areas: Staff Training, Communications, Policy Development, CR Plan
    Development and Implementation, Board Diversity Recruitment & Disability Access
    1. Compilation and distribution of census data on racial, ethnic and low income concentrations in the state by major city and rural areas to inform new program outreach.
    2. “Multi-Cultural Communications” trainings held at two sites across the state for all Extension staff.
    3. Implementation discussion of Civil Rights Plan, Tracking tool and AA issues with Extension Directors Council.
    4. Revisions of public concern procedures and non-discrimination statements for use on publications, and program achievements and resources updates to Extension Civil Rights section
    5. Data on all program participants’ demographics compiled for federal ES-237 & PRISM on-line planning and reporting.
    6. Listing of translated Extension publications & forms created for “English as a Second Language” speakers; translated new materials.
    7. Ethnic/ minority organizations and publications added to organizational database for communications, promotional mailings, staff recruitment. 
    8. Discussion with Extension partnering organizations re: board member diversity e.g.: Board of Public Overseers, 4-H Camps & advisories.
    9. Staff training held and ethnic partner agencies listing created for “Building Extension Programs in Diverse, Underserved Communities” workshop, Annual Extension All-staff Conference.
    10. Survey of disability access in Extension field offices & counties designed with data collected to inform staff policy updates on “Reasonable Accommodations” standards for public audiences and for AA planning.  
    11. Staff needs assessment survey designed to inform planning of “Sexual Orientation Awareness & Gender Harassment” training for all staff and counties in winter 2008-09.
  2. Extension Programs Highlights:
    1. Agriculture & Landscape:
      1. Ethnic Food Production & Immigrant Farmer Training: Flats Mentor Farm.  Involves agricultural education and community building to support Hmong, African and Portuguese farmers and food marketing in Boston and surrounding cities. Sponsored by Heifer International, UMass Extension, National Immigrant Farming Initiative, Growing Power Inc, the Massachusetts Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, USDA, and the Flats Mentor Farm.
      2. “Ethnic Data Base” listing of diverse organizations across MA contact information for ethnic media outlets in New England and New York.
      3. Weed Identification Training: Dual Language workshops: English & Spanish, for Spanish speakers entering landscape and pesticide work fields.
    2. Nutrition Education Program:
      1. Farmers Markets:  Outreach, education, and multi-lingual printed materials and recipes at the Holyoke and Springfield Farmers’ Markets with Latino and minority ethnic food groups. 
      2. Tween Power Curriculum: A dialogue and discovery-based curriculum on healthy eating, physical activity, and consumer skills for minority, undeserved middle-school youth.  The curriculum includes an English/Spanish Music Video promoting fruits and vegetables.
      3. Nutrition education:  NEP delivers culturally appropriate nutrition and multi-language materials to diverse limited-resource families in seven primary geographic areas of Massachusetts through two major programs:  the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), which reaches families with young children, and the Family Nutrition Program (FNP), which reaches families either on or eligible for food stamps.  NEP also provides nutrition education and training for educators, caregivers and  agency staff serving children, youth and elderly (Nutrition and Health  Program); and food safety education and training for consumers and food  workers in child and elder care, school food service, and community agencies (Food Safety Program).
      4. The Massachusetts Partnership for Food Safety Education: The Partnership is a coalition of state, regional and federal agencies and associations that promotes safe food handling to consumers, regulators and food workers in food production, processing, food service and retail establishments to reduce food-borne illness in Massachusetts.  As a leader in this Partnership, UMass has established a website with many multi-lingual materials.
      5. Food Equipment and Safety Training (FEAST):  With funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), NEP helped to produce a series of videos on food equipment safety, which are being translated in to 3 languages.
    3. Massachusetts 4-H Program
      1. Festival del Jibaro, Holyoke Latino Community & Youth 4-H Club Cuenta Conmigo (Count on me) weekend event celebrating Puerto Rican heritage, hard work & connection with the land, in collaboration with MA. Cultural Council & Nuestras Raices.
      2. Purple Camp, 4-H Military Kids support program supporting diverse youth with parents deployed in military services at 4-H Camp Marshall & YMCA Camp Lyndon on Cape Cod.
      3. “Youth with A Future” Extension workshops, field trips, manual & website in collaboration with Holyoke Planning Network (a partnership of local colleges and community programs in Holyoke) as funded by US Dept of Housing and Urban Development to empower minority underserved youth to succeed in school, go to college & obtain a rewarding career.
      4. 4-H Workforce Preparedness UMass Campus visits for Boston minority youth, funded by USDA’s Children, Youth & Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program, in collaboration with UMass Amherst Student Bridges organization of student volunteers who tutor & mentor youth in Holyoke & Springfield.
      5. 4-H Camp Howe hosted 12 Latino youth from two 4-H clubs in Holyoke; youth were able to attend camp for a week free of charge.
      6. 4-H Foundation Funds were used to provide scholarships for underserved youth to attend 4-H programs and to conduct programs in underserved areas (example - 4-H Babysitting program at the Germantown Community Center in Quincy).
      7. 4-H &_21st Century Learning collaborated in grant program delivery in underserved minority areas in Sunderland, Quincy, Hyannis, Taunton and Fall River.
      8. 4-H worked with the Blackstone Children's Action Corps program and with the Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion in Boston for Latino youth program delivery.
      9. 4-H & Cape Cod Community College have disability awareness education programs.  

2006—2007 Civil Rights Accomplishments

Click on link below to go to information about that program:

UMass Extension Program

UMass Extension and UMass Amherst Outreach are in partnership with a coalition of area colleges and grassroots community groups addressing tough urban problems in Holyoke. Low-income, Latino neighborhoods in the city are the focus of a community-based effort that draws on university research and outreach to help residents broaden educational opportunities, highlight cultural resources, increase home ownership, and revitalize Holyoke’s downtown without outside gentrification. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing $400,000 for the three-year project under its Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) Program, coordinated by UMass Extension 4-H staff Karen Barshefsky and Dr. Shirley Mietlicki who serves as Principal Grant Investigator. This group works in collaboration with the Holyoke Planners Network, a coalition of academic and community groups promoting a community-driven approach to sustainable development. It offers Holyoke’s growing Latino and low-income populations a variety of research and outreach activities in four major focus areas: education, economic development and community planning, capacity building, and fair housing and lending. Along with UMass Extension and several academic departments within the University of Massachusetts, the initiative also involves faculty and staff from Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College and Holyoke Community College.

Agriculture and Landscape Program

Several current initiatives offer information and experiences to help meet the learning needs of Massachusetts’ many ethnic populations, growers and landscape businesses:

  • Educational programs offer information on production and marketing for crops popular among Brazilian, Asian, African and Hispanic groups and presentation to immigrant and refugee farmers, such as programs offered through the “Flats Mentor Farm.”
  • A web site organized by countries in the world provides information on agricultural crops that can be grown in the Northeastern United States and highlights crops popular among ethnic groups living in this region. For example, a grower who sells in Holyoke, Massachusetts would want to check out the crops under "Puerto Rico" on the web site as more than 75% of the customers at the farmers' market there are Puerto Rican.
  • A publication report, "Producing and Marketing Vegetable Crops for Ethnic Markets," that teaches how to identify ethnic groups in markets and crops used in many world cuisines.
  • Workforce development programs teach horticultural skills to Spanish speaking workers. A recent workshop series on correct weed identification as a part of effective weed management approaches was attended by 130 Spanish speaking people. Using a classroom presentation, potted weed herbarium and a “weed walk,” the workshop is presented in both English and Spanish by Extension staff.
    For more information on Extension’s Agriculture and Commercial Horticulture Programs

Nutrition Education Program

Most participants of the UMass Nutrition Education Program are low-income, minority audiences. The Family Nutrition Program serves Massachusetts food stamp eligible residents while the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program reaches low-income families. Programs are tailored to be culturally relevant and literacy-appropriate to the people we serve. Below are examples of ways we reach the people of Massachusetts:

Educational Materials

  • “CHOICES: Steps Toward Health”(available in both English and Spanish) is the first dialogue-based curriculum designed for low-income participants of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Based on formative research it has been shown to improve the dietary behaviors of people from underserved ethnic and racial populations and won the 2005 Northeast Extension Director’s Award for Excellence.
  • The Pumpkin Post” (“El Recaito” in Spanish) is an educational and fun newsletter series developed by the UMass Extension FNP for parents or caregivers of preschool children with special inserts designed for the children themselves. This newsletter recently won first place from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
  • Many of our food safety materials through the Massachusetts Partnership For Food Safety Education are available in downloadable PDF format online in eight languages, including resources on hand washing, sanitizing, time and temperature, and pest control.
  • "It's More Than A Meal" a nutrition resource manual for adult day health programs is currently being completed. This resource will contain fact sheets for elder care givers that will be translated into Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Polish.

Diversity Initiatives

  • NEP leaders and Nutrition faculty participated in a year-long colloquium, “Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom” (TLDC), delivered by the UMass Center for Teaching. Inspired by this series, NEP field staff began teaching Community Nutrition students about their cross-cultural teaching experiences and approaches. NEP staff and Nutrition faculty also jointly attended a retreat for planning outreach and research with minority audiences that is on-going.
  • The Department of Nutrition was awarded a grant to provide support to undergraduate minority students who major in Nutrition. NEP as a part of this academic unit benefits since these students can provide assistance to Extension outreach activities.

Research : Tween POWER

Associate Professors Jean Anliker, and Elena Carbone were awarded a USDA National Research Initiative Obesity Prevention grant. Called “Tween POWER,” it involves an assessment of food purchasing patterns of White and Latino adolescents, and the design and testing of an intervention to promote healthier choices. More information about the UMass Extension Nutrition program

Massachusetts 4-H Program

  • In North Adams, the local 4-H Educator works with youth who are on probation or involved with a CHINS (Child in Need of Services) petition in collaboration with the probation officer, judge and school officials. The goal is to reduce the recidivism rate of youth entering the juvenile justice system and enhance their employment skills.
  • 4-H Educators are involved with “Operation Military Kids”, working collaboratively with professionals from the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, 4-H Camp, Department of Education, American Legion and several branches of the military. The focus is to provide support to military youth of all ethnicities and races, many of whom have family members deployed. In addition, 4-H is working to start 4-H clubs on military bases.
  • 4-H is working in the South End and Lower Roxbury (Boston) by bringing together youth from ethnic neighborhoods in workforce readiness programs. Boston Urban Stewards is a community based tree stewards training program for underserved youth ages 13-17 in Boston.
  • 4-H staff work with Nutrition Programs on “Tween Power” research to promote healthier youth food choices utilizing curricula resulting from the study.
  • 4-H Camp Howe offers the popular “Echo Camp” for disabled youth each summer. In 2005 in collaboration with UMass Extension it received a “Building Community Inclusion for Youth with Disabilities” grant from the National 4-H Council and Mitsubishi Electric American Foundation.
  • A 4-H club at the Nuestras Raices Farm in Holyoke works on livestock and environmental issues. Youth recently hatched “Cubalayas” chickens, a breed originating in Cuba.
  • In an effort to recruit more diverse youth to 4-H, this year clubs were started around the state focusing on computers, robotics and engineering and ATV safety.
  • Implementation of the grant-funded Companion Animal Assisted educational program (COMPACT) started in 2005. Teams of youth and their pets will be trained to visit healthcare facilities in the Greater Boston area to work with the elderly and special needs youth.
  • 4-H “Project Forward,” in collaboration with Cape Cod Community College, works with mentally challenged youth adults, ages 18-21.
  • In February 2006, Massachusetts 4-H established the Urban Program Committee. The charge of this group is to establish a new 4-H program focus area that provides opportunities for increased access to 4-H youth development programs for many urban audiences. More information on the Massachusetts 4-H Program

Natural Resources and the Environmental Conservation Program

  • NREC Extension staff work with the Eagle Eye Institute and the Massachusetts 4H Program to introduce underserved youth from urban communities to natural resource careers through the "Learn About Forests" program. The University Forest at Mount Toby was a site for programs.
  • For years, when NREC had a water protection specialist at UMass and a county-based specialist on Martha's Vineyard, UMass Extension had a strong working relationship with the Wampanoag Tribe. It is a high priority for the NREC program to create a new water resource specialist position. This will allow us to resume our partnership with the tribe on water resource protection issues.
  • NREC is working with faculty in the Department of Natural Resources Conservation on an National Science Foundation grant for a research project on vernal pools and amphibian dispersal. As part of that project we are proposing to partner with an urban school system to train and employ students from underserved communities as technicians for the project and use the experience to help provide information in their schools about natural resource based scientific research. More information on the UMass Extension Environmental Conservation Programs