March is Living Well Month – Ideas to promote our Organization and Profession

February 14, 2018

Let’s create some March Madness energy and celebrate NEAFCS Living Well Month. The goal is to promote and support Extension local and state initiatives in nutrition, healthy lifestyles, food safety, financial management, parenting and environmental health. As family consumer science professionals, let’s share how we help Minnesotans gain knowledge and skills to make informed decisions to live productively.

Here are some ideas for you to promote Living Well Month living-well-logo-color-tagline-stacked

• Write a news release talking about your program and submit to local media. Use this template. Grab your year-end reports, award application or impact statements to write the article.
• Add the Living Well logo with the slogan, “Raising Kids, Eating Right, Spending Smart, Living Well” on your email signature. Get NEAFCS and Living Well Logo here.
• Wear your NEAFCS lapel pin to community meetings during your public workshops and meetings.
• Download bookmark template and give to participants.

Please share with us, how you promoting Living Well month during our NEAFCS-MN March Madness month.
Suzanne Driessen and Becky Hagen-Jokela,

NEAFCS – Minnesota Affiliate Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs


Last Reminder – Apply for Awards!

Hopefully as everyone completed their 2017 Assessment & 2018 Plan of Work you were able to identify exceptional projects and work to include on an NEAFCS Award application.
Awards need to be submitted by February 15 to allow time for MN Affiliate level judging before the committee forwards MN winners by the mid March National deadline.
Please note that the MN Affiliate board met in January and approved the following wording regarding who is appropriate to include on award applications:
Receiving NEAFCS Awards is a benefit of membership.  To honor and encourage membership the MN Affiliate requires team members listed on award applications to be NEAFCS members. Those individuals not eligible for membership (such as community partners) may be included as team members on award applications. Those eligible for NEAFCS membership who are not members may not be listed on the awards application. NEAFCS membership is accepted throughout the year, however national membership must be received by December 31 (dues must be to state treasurer by December 1) to be eligible for any awards given that year.
Each year Minnesota is well represented at the Regional & National award ceremonies.  Please showcase your work … it is important for us to tell our story and share our great MN work  with the rest of the nation.
Please be sure to verify membership of team members as applications are prepared and submitted.  If you have any questions please contact me at  or 320-226-6052.

Apply for NEAFCS Awards

As you are preparing to complete your 2017 Assessment and 2018 Plan of Work (& NEAFCS Impact Statements Suzanne Driessen recently emailed about) please plan to submit an NEAFCS Awards Application! Our MN Affiliate members do a lot of really good work & it is important to share our accomplishments with others across the nation!  It is time to tell your story!

NEAFCS MN Affiliate Award applications are due February 15, 2018.  Award applications and all supporting material need to be uploaded into the national on-line system.  Here are some tips for submitting your application(s):

  •  All NEAFCS Awards information is available on the NEAFCS Awards web page
  • Identify which award categories your project fits into by reviewing the Awards-at-a-Glance document.
  • Note there are six new award categories for 2018:
    • Social Media – Video Award
    • Social Media Award
    • Excellence in Teamwork Award
    • Snap-Ed/EFNEP Educational Program Award
    • Innovation in Programming Award
    • Excellence in Multi-State Collaboration Award
  • Application and supporting documents should be merged to create 3 files.  Each file should not exceed 25 MB.  If needed, the “Combining Files Using Adobe Acrobat Pro” Power Point is available.
  • Upload merged files using one file per upload space.
  • The Awards Manual has specific and detailed instructions plus Judging Sheets.  Review the Judging Sheets for specific criteria.
  • Examples of national award-winning entries, as well as articles on Award Winning Applications FAQs and Award Winning Tips are also available under the Awards tab at this time.
  • To ensure high quality applications it is strongly recommended that submitters have their application materials reviewed prior to submitting online by someone else to ensure that the application is complete, easy to read & understand and contains no typos or grammatical errors.
  • Please note — MN Award applications will be accepted up until February 15. 
    • If you need to edit your application prior to our February 15 deadline, you will need to re-upload all of your files again. You cannot delete a file that has been previously submitted.  To remove the file, re-upload the files you want included, and upload a blank page for the file you want to delete.
    • There will not be an opportunity to edit/change your application after the Minnesota February 15 deadline

The Awards Committee has asked the MN Affiliate Board to approve the following at their January 19 Board meeting:

Receiving NEAFCS Awards is a benefit of membership.  To honor and encourage membership the MN Affiliate requires team members listed on award applications to be NEAFCS members. Those individuals not eligible for membership (such as community partners) may be included as team members on award applications. Those eligible for NEAFCS membership who are not members may not be listed on the awards application. NEAFCS membership is accepted throughout the year. however membership must be received by XXX (date) to be eligible for any awards given that year.

Membership will be notified of the outcome of the Board’s discussion.

Also … please consider nominating someone to receive the Friend of NEAFCS – MN Affiliate Award. The nomination form can be requested from any Awards Committee member.

In addition, we encourage members to submit a proposal to present at the 2018 NEAFCS Annual Session September 24-27, 2018 in San Antonio, TX.  Proposals are due January 31, 2018.  Find more information on the 2018 Annual Session web page. 

If you have questions about the awards submission process please feel free to contact me (Sara Croymans – or 320-226-6052) or MN Affiliate Awards Committee members Kelly Kunkel & Mary Caskey.

We look forward to seeing awards applications from Minnesota Affiliate members!  Please reach out with any questions.

Sara Croymans

Reminder: Submit a NEAFCS Presentation Proposal 2018

Just a reminder to submit a proposal to present at the 2018 NEAFCS Annual Session. Share the good work happening in Minnesota!

Share Your Work: Submitting a 2018 NEAFCS Presentation Proposal
Jami Dellifield (OH), Co-chair Program Development Subcommittee 

Starting December 1, you can submit your 2018 NEAFCS presentation proposal. You can choose to submit a proposal to present during a Concurrent Session or at the Showcase of Excellence. We have exciting news for 2018 as we are in the planning process for our Showcase of Excellence presenters to participate in the “World Café Roundtable”.

We know that you are doing wonderful work that your colleagues would love to hear about!

Put your thinking caps on! What programs could you submit? Our program tracks for 2018 include:

  • Administration/Leadership/Community Development/Public Affairs
  • Life Span Development:  Aging, Human Development and related topics
  • Child Care/Child Development
  • Sustainable Living:  Textiles, Clothing, Housing, Environment and related topics
  • Life Member
  • Financial Management
  • Food Safety
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Parenting Education
  • Technology
  • 4-H and Youth Development
  • Potpourri (This track is for your innovative proposal that may not fit into one of the above tracks.)

Please join me and co-chair, Marcia Parcell (IN) on December 19, 2017 at 2 p.m. (EST) for a webinar on “How to Submit a Winning Proposal”.  We will share tips with you, and also help you learn more about submitting your proposal using the Catalyst System.

As you prepare to submit your proposal, ask yourself:

  • Does the program address an emerging issue, a relevant problem, or a community need?
  • What are the objectives or outcomes for my presentation?  What will my participants learn?  Will they learn a new skill, ability or knowledge?
  • How was the program evaluated?  What methods or tools were used?  What impacts did the evaluation show?

All proposals must be research-based.  Research is defined as a literary review, citing your own research base, or your own research. Please include citations in your submission.

  • Is the program based on published research, approaches, and/or practices?  Please include references in your proposal.
  • If the program is a pilot or prior tested research explain the methodology.
  • If you are presenting a curriculum be able to explain how it was reviewed. Did the review check for science based, effectiveness, and accuracy? By whom was it reviewed?
  • Provide what evaluation tool was used and who and how the tool was validated.  If it is a pilot of a new tool, compare it to similar tools.

You have 400 words when submitting your proposal, so use them wisely. Last, but not least, ALWAYS make sure your proposal is communicated clearly using good grammar. Have one of your peers read your proposal before you submit it to make suggestions on how you can improve it.

Since our proposal process is a blind peer review, please make sure you eliminate any reference to your name, your team member’s names, your state and your University. If your state or University is in the title or used any place in the proposal, just use the word “state” or “university” instead.

After submitting your proposal, you will have until January 31, 2018 to make changes. The last day for submitting proposals will be January 31, 2018.

Another way to learn about writing a winning proposal is to become a reviewer.  You do not have to be a member of the committee/subcommittee to be a reviewer. Look for the email or check the NEAFCS website for details on how to sign-up through Sign-Up Genius.  If you choose to review proposals they will be sent to you to review and return between March 1-17, 2018.

Focus on relevance, relationships and results from 2017 programming efforts

You do great work – share your impact with the nation!
Deadline is January 12, 2018

Are you busy reflecting and writing your 2017 accomplishments for your year-end professional assessment? As you write about your program’s’ reach and impact, please also complete this Share Your Story Template. Send to Becky by January 12th, 2018. (Becky and Suzanne will review and notify you if more information is needed.) Your great work will be shared with legislators at the 2018 Public Institute Leadership Conference in April.

You can complete more than one form. Categories are: childhood obesity includes prevention and youth SNAP-Ed and EFNEP, community health & wellness include PSE–policy, system and environment and adult SNAP-Ed, diabetes, financial management, food & nutrition, food safety, healthy homes & the environment include preventing falls, improving children’s lives, and protecting our resources – family life. Minnesota can submit three impact statement per category.

Tips for submissions

  • 40 word limit per section. Don’t repeat anything you already submitted on the form, ie. Program names, numbers reached, etc.
  • Consider three questions as you frame your story: (AFNR intranet, January 1, 2017)
  1. What was the need or problem you were trying to solve?
    a. Focus on one issue
  2. What service (course, conference, materials, curriculum, etc.) did you provide/facilitate to address the need?
    a. Pick 1 or 2 things that had the biggest bang.
    b. the Relevance to improve people’s health, the economy and the environment
    c. Use active verbs
  3. How did your service improve the lives of people in the community, etc.? The results
    a. Lay it out like a sports page—who’s playing– identify your audience, what happened and how, what was the score or so what, ie. Affect—numbers with $ or %. Why does this score (program) matter? What is interesting or surprising? (Top 9 Tips for your Impact Statement, Purdue Extension).
    b. Our impact statements ask for quotes on the benefit of the program. Include a quote from program participants, any partners or collaborators and the need and benefit of your program to illustrate or extend the story. Quotes should illustrate and extend your story. For example, “Though I was skeptical at first, planting cover crops improved my overall yields over the past three years.”
  • Community partners include volunteers.
  • Photos are optional but are very powerful. Submit high-resolution photos with some visible branding, ie. UMN Extension logo shirt, logo on curriculum, logo on screen or display.
  • You can submit any other supportive materials, ie. program summaries, reports, links, etc.

Information is compiled into a National NEAFCS Impact Statement report. This report is shared with our USDA stakeholders and legislatures. See previous reports here.

Becky Hagen-Jokela and Suzanne Driessen and NEAFCS – Minnesota Affiliate Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs

2017 NEAFCS – MN Affiliate Awards

The NEAFCS – MN Affiliate Awards were presented yesterday, August 10, 2017, at our Professional Development Day, Different Perspectives of Storytelling for Extension Educators, in Brainerd, MN. Congratulations to the  MN Affiliate Award Winners list below.  The Regional and National awards will be presented at the Annual Session in October 2017 in Omaha, NE.

  1. Community Partnership Award, “One Vegetable, One Community – Community Partnership”; Megan Hruby,  Kirsten Fagerlund (Public Health/SHIP) & Amanda Lien (Chamber of Commerce); 3rd place Central Region
  2. Communications Radio/Podcast Program Award, “MFLN Family Transitions – Todd & Peggy Podcasts”; Sara Croymans, Anita Hering, Ellie McCann, Robert Bertsch, Mary Jo Katras, Karen Shirer, Vickie LaFollette; 1st Central Region and 2nd National
  3. Continued Excellence Award (CE) – Kelly Kunkel; (recognized at National)
  4. Food Safety Award, “Safe Food Sampling at Farmer’s Markets and Community Events”; Suzanne Driessen & Kathy Brandt; 1st Central Region; 1st National
  5. Educator of the Year – Kathleen Olson
  6. Communications Newsletters Award, “Backpack Nutrition Newsletter”; Kelly Kunkel, Betsy Johnson, Beth Labenz, Sharmyn Phipps, Heather Lee, Hannah Jastrom Aaberg, Jessica Barnes, Ruth Ellis, & Mary Vitcenda
  7. School Wellness, “Project BreakFAST: Making a Difference in School Wellness”; Mary Schroeder, Mary Caskey, Dr. Susie Nanney, Amy Shanafelt, Kate Grannon, Dr. Caitlin Caspi, Margaret Haggenmiller, Stephanie Hakes, Andrea Kronbach, Kam Schroeder, Diane Davis-Kenning, Bonnie Christiasen, Darlyce Rangaard, Kam Schroeder, Ellen Dodds,DeeAnn Leines, Mary Hearst, Dr. Lisa Harnak, Dr. Martha Kubik, Dr. Robert Leduc & Qi Wang; 1st Central Region
  8. Communications Educational Curriculum Package Award, “Educacion: Nuestra mejor Herencia (Education: Our Best Legacy)”; Silvia Alvarez De Davila, Kathleen Olson, Victoria Campoverde, Karen Shirer, Patricia Stoppa,Colleen Gengler, Jo Musich, Heather Lee, Mary Marczak & Patricia Olson; 3rd Central Region
  9. Marketing Package Award, “Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions”; Anita Hering, Sara Croymans, Ellie McCann, Mary Jo Katras, Karen Shirer, Bob Bertsch & Vickie LaFollette; 3rd Central Region
  10. Communications Photography Award, “Photo of a Military Child”; Sara Croymans; 1st Central Region
  11. Friend of NEAFCS – MN Affiliate, Debra Landvik – MN Department of Education; Nominated by Kathleen Olson, Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Patricia Olson & Mary Jo Katras

Photo -- Award Winners - NEAFCS MN Affiliate 2017

(front row) Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Mary Caskey, and Mary Schroeder

(back row) Anita Harris Hering, Colleen Gengler, Megan Hruby, Suzanne Driessen,    Kathy Brandt, and Sara Croymans

2017 Impact Statements Now Online

78% of Minnesota’s program impact submissions landed a spot in National’s final copy. The National NEAFCS Impact Statement reports are shared with our USDA stakeholders and legislatures. In addition, we created a Minnesota impact statement, which Anita Harris Hering will bring to Washington representing our association at the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference. Congratulations and thank you for your submissions.

The Minnesota programs featured in the 2017 NEAFCS Impact Statements are:

HEALTH AND NUTRITIONSchool food staff putting food on plate

  • Smarter Lunchrooms incorporates research-based strategies to increase healthy food choices by students. Extension Educators trained and certified 57 Smarter Lunchroom Technical Assistance Providers in Minnesota schools. As a result, children make healthier food choices.
  • Food pantries across Minnesota learned how to use techniques encouraging clients to make healthier food choices. Techniques include product placement on shelving, produce display containers, client choice, signage, recipes and support from volunteers. Through Extension’s Healthy Nudges at Your Food Shelf and Nudging to Health for Volunteers programs, over 200 staff and volunteers are now trained nudgers.


  • Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence online course taught 149 participants to identify and avoid overindulgence utilizing learning tools. 98% identified examples of overindulgence and 95% chose the “Test of Four” tool to determine overindulgence situations.


Lori, Becky, Sara webinar photo

  • 165 professionals use Taxes 101 while working with low- to moderate-income Minnesotans. 97% felt confident or very confident using Extension’s information to help their clients make the most of tax season.
  • Your Money, Your Goals financial toolkit trainings empowered 151 front-line staff from 77 agencies. 95% of the trainers agreed the training prepared them to use the toolkit.


  • Homemade food from cupcakes to pickles sold in Minnesota are safer because of Extension’s Cottage Food: Keep it Safe! Keep it Legal program. As a result, cottage food producer registrations increased by 95% to 1930 producers. Each producer can earn up $18,000/year—an economic impact of over $9 million to Minnesota’s economy.

These impact statements are an excellent resource to find out what other Extension educators are doing in your field. We look forward to seeing your impact stories from this year!

Suzanne Driessen and Becky Hagen Jokela
NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Public Policy & Relations Co-chairs