This is the second in our series of articles about how our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension colleagues are connecting with stakeholders, if you have a story that you’d like to share, send an email to Katie Nicpon at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope these stories will honor the efforts you are making, encourage you, and give you ideas on the strategic partnerships and connections that are in your area.
This month, I’d like to highlight the strategic connections and partnerships that MSU Extension program assistant Maria Millet is making in Saginaw County. Maria took on MSU Extension’s Early Childhood program and implemented the new 8-week parent workshop Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES). MSU Extension educator Gail Innis shared that Maria had a plan for making new contacts, rebuilding existing partnerships and staying open to possibilities. In the past year, she has developed relationships with multiple individuals and agencies that are helping unite Extension’s BEES program with interested participants.
Because of Maria’s efforts, agencies such as Early Head Start and Head Start offered space for Building Early Emotional Skills classes. Health Delivery Inc., the Saginaw Housing Commission and the Housing Resource Center are recruiting participants for upcoming classes they will be hosting together.
The Commission on Aging partners with Maria and MSU Extension. They agreed to aid BEES by providing supervised activities for the children of parents who are attending the series. Maria partners with Foster Grandparents, and individuals over the age of 55 who qualify are eligible to provide supervision for the children.
Maria also built a unique partnership with Dawn of a New Day. This local coffee shop provides catering services weekly for one of Maria’s parenting series. Dawn of a New Day also provided a connection that allowed her to bring WNEM TV 5 to MSU Extension on the day of the program’s open house. The local TV coverage allowed them to air on the morning show about every 15 minutes over a 2-hour period.
From agencies partnering to provide space and recruit participants, to catering and TV spotlight, Maria’s strategic connection building has caused the BEES program to flourish.