Tag Archives: molly frendo

National Mentoring Resource Center website to feature MSU Extension Mentor Training Toolkit

Our Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development educators recently created Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit to assist mentoring program staff in delivering interactive, evidence-based training. The Capacity Building team is responsible for pulling together this curriculum, specifically Lisa Bottomley, senior mentoring specialist; Christine (Sisung) Heverly, 4-H program coordinator; Jillian Tremonti, Extension program worker; Anna Elden Brady, Extension program worker; and Molly Frendo, who was an associate program leader during her time at MSU Extension.

While releasing the curriculum is already a success on its own, the curriculum is also going to be featured as a recommended resource on the National Mentoring Resource Center website, after Lisa and Molly successfully presented it at the 2014 National Mentoring Summit and it passed the Board’s review.

Michael Garringer, director of knowledge management at the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC), welcomed the contributions, saying, “I want to express my appreciation for your submission of this great resource. I’m really impressed with the quality and design of the training content and am happy that listing it on the NMRC will help practitioners around the country learn about and access the materials.”

The entire curriculum contains 56 activities divided into five modules: Cultural Competency; Building the Mentoring Relationship; Communication; Setting Boundaries and Youth Development.

The following Ready to Go units are available individually through University Stores:

Congratulations to the Capacity Building team on finishing this curriculum and making an important connection with the National Mentoring Resource Center!

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Follow these tips to promote your ‘baby’: Part 2

Last week, I gave you a real-life example of how some of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues have successfully marketed their curriculum resulting in at least moderate increases in sales of the product in the MSU Extension Bookstore. Today, I’d like to offer another example.ReadyToGo-Thumbnail

Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit (4H1642PDF) assists youth mentoring programs in the training of new and existing mentors and other youth-serving organizations in training volunteers working with young people. Nearly 88 percent of sales of the curriculum came from outside Michigan. MSU Extension 4-H senior mentoring specialist Lisa Bottomley, the project’s director, attributes national interest to the multiple presentations presented by MSU Extension staff members at national conferences. These included the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in Orlando, Fla., the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C., the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism in Frankenmuth, Mich., and the Galaxy IV Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. In addition, staff members did a workshop at the 4-H National Mentoring Program grantee training. This year, Lisa will present a workshop and promote curriculum at a table at the training in January. Two out of the five hours she spends training will be on the curriculum. She and associate program leader Molly Frendo will also present two sessions on the curriculum at the National Mentoring Summit again this January.

Lisa found that articles she wrote for the MSU Extension website has drawn in interested customers. Articles such as “Why Boundary Setting Matters in Mentor-mentee Relationships,” contain Lisa’s contact information, encouraging readers to contact her for additional information or mentor training materials.

Some even have obtained permission to adapt some of the sections to their curriculum. The Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada) adapted material from Ready to Go for their twin Peer Mentoring guides, one for family support practitioners and one for family support volunteers. (See the section on boundaries in each guide.)

Next week, I’ll tell you about another curriculum and how two of our colleagues marketed it.

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Extension staff member wins national technology award

Many of our Michigan State University Extension staff members are busy earning advanced degrees while continuing to work full-time for our organization. MSU Extension 4-H associate program leader Molly Frendo has not only been pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology and educational technology (EPET) at the MSU College of Education, she has also won a national award while balancing both worlds. Molly has been selected to receive the National University Technology Network (NUTN) 2013 Student Recognition Award.

NUTN is a consortium of higher education institutions that provides a networking and professional development arena for the advancement of teaching and learning. The NUTN Student Recognition Award recognizes students whose use of distance learning has been both exemplary and impactful in providing opportunities for personal and professional advancement. Molly received the award because of her use of technology in contributing to her work and in advancing her own goals personally.

MSU faculty members Punya Mishra and Leigh Graves Wolf nominated Molly for the award, which she’ll receive Sept. 17 in Albuquerque, N.M., at Network 2013, the NUTN annual conference.

Molly has been at the forefront of advancing technology in Extension, lending her expertise in the area of volunteer management and administration.

She helped create a virtual community of AmeriCorps volunteers through Moodle. She’s led and co-led a variety of workshops on technology on topics such as creating effective and engaging webinars, facilitating effective conference calls and using social networking in a professional manner. More recently, the topics have included using virtual communities to support volunteer retention and using technology to build capacity in volunteer administration. Additionally, she was the closing keynote speaker for the 2013 National Extension Conference on Volunteerism, where the title of her speech was “Finding your Sense of Adventure: Technology and the 21st Century Volunteer.”

In addition, she used MSUE-developed curriculum to teach Grand Valley State University undergraduate social work students about setting appropriate boundaries on- and offline. She was a project manager for the recently published 4-H mentoring curriculum Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit. She also helped launch 4-H Tech Wizards in Michigan.

Active in eXtension, she’s co-facilitated online professional development on both the Learn and Campus sides of the Internet-based collaborative environment. She co-leads the eXtension Community of Practice focused on volunteer administration. She serves on the 2014 National eXtension conference committee, the MSUE I-Team (eXtension Institutional Team) committee and the I-Team website committee. She received an I-Team award last year at Fall Extension Conference for use of technology in programming.

Molly said, “My work here in Extension never was really meant to focus on technology (which is kind of the funny thing!), but I got started in the area of technology through running the AmeriCorps program and using Moodle to do an online community there. It was so successful that we thought about the ways that it could be helpful in other 4-H volunteer environments. In doing this work, we’ve been able to envision the role that technology can and should play on a wider level within the Cooperative Extension Service. There’s a lot of potential for us to innovate how we serve the public and partner together across the country – but the skill set to do that effectively is a new one and we’re working on equipping everyone to do it well. I’ve really enjoyed my work in this area; it’s what prompted me to begin my Ph.D. in this area to be more prepared to serve Extension on a broad level.”

Congratulations, Molly! And thanks for sharing your innovative spirit with MSUE!

Read more here: http://edwp.educ.msu.edu/news/2013/phd-student-wins-national-recognition/

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Mentors and mentees find community of peers at 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Many of us had parents or other adults in our lives who made a difference. We had someone we could count on for wise advice and a listening ear – maybe an older sibling, a teacher or a 4-H leader. Often kids may be searching for guidance and support but they lack strong role models. That’s where 4-H Youth Mentoring comes in. The program matches caring individuals with young people to provide support, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples.

For the sixth year, an event took place that helps to strengthen the youth mentoring community across Michigan. More than 90 participants congregated at Kettunen Center in Tustin July 19‒21 to take part in 4-H Mentoring Weekend. Michigan State University Extension 4-H mentoring educator Scott Lakin and Extension program instructor Dequindre Bell co-chaired the event under the leadership of campus staff Lisa Bottomley, senior Extension specialist, and Molly Frendo, associate program leader.

Senior Extension educator Barb Duvall and Extension educator Frank Cox led mentors and mentees from around the state in activities focused on financial literacy at this camp-style weekend themed “Making Cents for Life.”

In addition, participants explored conservation education, science literacy, service learning and healthy living. Mentoring partners strengthened their relationships through fun and interactive activities both indoors and outdoors, taking advantage of Kettunen Center’s beautiful setting on Center Lake.

Other Extension staff members who helped out with the event included Danielle Abrams, Kea Boyd, Barb Brow, Jessica Cotton, Lizz Duran, Susan Fenton, Derrick Harrison, Lisa Kelley, Jennifer Lasslett, Aaron Lawrence, Kim Lewis, Anetria Rhodes, B’Onko Sadler, Edward Scott, Katie Sosin, Barb Steele and Scott Victor.

Besides the learning and the fun, 4-H Mentoring Weekend provides both mentors and mentored youth with a community of peers who share their experiences.

To get an idea of the exciting atmosphere at the event, watch the following kid-produced video from the 4-H Mentoring Weekend Press Corp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-wnodtXCYg&feature=youtu.be

All I can say is “Jell-O Wars!”

Find photos of the event on Michigan 4-H Youth Mentoring’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/michigan4hyouthmentoring.

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Extension volunteer becomes Governor’s Mentor of the Year

Nic Bottomley received the Governor’s Mentor of the Year Service Award July 23 at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. The Mentor of the Year award is one of the Governor’s Service awards that pays tribute to outstanding volunteers throughout Michigan. Nic is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Grand Rapids through D.A. Blodgett.

Nic has many Michigan State University Extension connections. He’s married to MSU senior Extension specialist Lisa Bottomley. As you may have noticed, Extension spouses have a long history of volunteering for our organization.

Nic and his Big Brothers Big Sisters mentee Austin have become part of the Michigan 4-H Youth Development family by actively participating at five 4-H Mentoring weekends. Nic has delivered professional development webinars for the Children and Youth Institute on digital risk and safety, using his expertise as a juvenile probation officer and therapist who works mainly with youth who have committed sexual offenses. Nic also serves as an adjunct instructor at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). He has partnered with MSU Extension by having associate program leader Molly Frendo use MSUE-developed curriculum to teach GVSU undergraduate social work students about setting appropriate boundaries both on- and offline.

Congratulations, Nic, and thanks for all you’ve done for Extension!

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New mentoring curriculum is ready to go

One of the things that people in our organization do best is to realize there’s a need and then take the steps to fill that need.

Back in 2009, Michigan State University Extension 4-H staff realized that they lacked existing processes to help new mentoring staff and AmeriCorps members gain skills and resources for mentor training. A search for current hands-on mentoring training materials came up empty. The team decided to create a curriculum to meet the need.

The result, Ready to Go: Mentor Training Toolkit (4H1642PDF),provides mentoring professionals with a customizable mentor-training curriculum, support for using the curriculum and a toolkit to ensure that all mentors in planned youth mentoring programs have access to evidence-based training.

Led by MSU Extension 4-H senior mentoring specialist Lisa Bottomley, project director for the curriculum, the team includes project managers Molly Frendo, 4-H associate program leader; Anna EldenBrady, former 4-H program worker; Christine Sisung, 4-H program coordinator; and Jillian Tremonti, former 4-H program worker.

Numerous lead authors and contributors made the curriculum possible. They include MSU Extension professionals as well as partners from other organizations such as the Department of Human Services and Alma College.

The team piloted the curriculum at professional development trainings in 2010 and 2011. Peer reviewers made up of mentoring and other youth development professionals with related content-area expertise critiqued the activities. Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff edited and designed the final product, completed in October.

Lisa and Molly recently attended the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference Oct. 21-25 in Orlando, Fla. They had the opportunity to share one of the five modules of the curriculum with attendees.

Lisa said, “The new mentoring curriculum was very well received and participants showed enthusiasm for utilizing it as both a volunteer and staff training development tool. Though we designed it to train mentors, it’s proven to be an effective tool to train any youth-serving volunteers.”
Extension educator Scott Lakin found the curriculum to be an excellent resource.

Scott said, “As a new educator, I was able to easily plan a complete, two-evening training for volunteers wanting to become 4-H Tech Wizards Mentors. The training menu examples gave me a framework to adjust for our local needs and the organization of activities by modules ensured I covered all the basics with the new group. Each activity was thoroughly explained in a consistent format, making them easy to refer to during the training and giving me plenty of ways to extend the activity if there was extra time.”

Scott recognizes the versatility of the product.

“I can see this training curriculum being an excellent resource for our mentoring programs, a supplement to our other volunteer training programs and a great product for other organizations to take advantage of for their programs,” Scott said.

You can find the toolkit in the MSU Extension Bookstore as a downloadable PDF. View the free introduction and cover pages to get an idea of the scope of the curriculum.

MSU Extension staff members can purchase a PDF file of the entire curriculum at half price. To make this purchase, you must first log in to the MSUE Bookstore site and create a user profile (if you don’t already have one). You can also log in using a county email and password. Please note, this special offer is only for the full curriculum, not the individual unit modules. The product number for the half-price item is 4H1642PDFMSUE. You can find it by searching for that number or by entering the title.

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4-H Tech Wizards expand in Michigan

4-H Tech Wizards are up to new things in Michigan. Tech Wizards is a small-group mentoring program that matches professionals who work in the science, engineering and technology (SET) fields with youth.

4-H Tech Wizards strives to reduce and help prevent juvenile delinquency and school failure, and build supportive relationships as well as introduce mentees to opportunities within the SET fields. It also provides participants with meaningful opportunities to engage in service learning.

Michigan State University Extension in Macomb County will have three new 4-H Tech Wizards sites operating within a month of the start of the school year. The program began at Seminole Academy in June while meetings at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the Detroit Arsenal in Warren will begin soon.

Extension educators Scott Lakin and Ed Scott and Extension program instructor Alex Boyd work together to make this a regional program.

“Functioning as a District 11 4-H Tech Wizards team has led to greater success in our mentor recruitment efforts. I have found that attending various events and specifically targeted organizational presentations is the most effective way to get individuals to start the volunteer application process,” Scott Lakin said.

Scott designed a display booth to showcase the project areas and technology available. Talking to the public at events led to contacts with numerous adults soon to be trained as 4-H Tech Wizards mentors in all three counties in the district – Macomb, Oakland and Wayne.

Extension program instructors Barb Brow and Susan Fenton continue to work to expand the program in Ottawa County. Kristy Oosterhouse, program aide,piloted the program in Eaton County and assists other counties in efforts to replicate this program. Extension educator Dorothy Munn has secured two AmeriCorps positions to start the program in northern Michigan.

Senior specialist Lisa Bottomley and associate program leader Molly Frendo provide support from the statewide perspective.

“We are really excited to see this program expand to serve new communities and reach new audiences,” said Lisa.

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MSU Extension poised to share expertise on volunteerism on national level

Michigan State University Extension is leading the way in volunteerism. First off, we’ve been awarded the opportunity to put on the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism (NECV). The conference will take place May 20-23, 2013, at the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Conference Center in Frankenmuth, Mich. We’re expecting 175 to 200 participants from throughout the country to attend.

The NECV presents an opportunity for sharing and learning the latest research and trends in volunteerism, gaining innovative ideas for reaching new volunteers, investigating the best practices for developing and retaining current volunteers, and strengthening volunteer management efforts. Conference participants will gather tools and skills through interactive sessions and networking with colleagues and will develop plans to utilize new resources in their home state programs. Members of the MSUE Volunteer Management Systems Team will be actively involved in the scholarly presentations and learning as well as the logistics of the conference.

That’s not all of the good news regarding MSU Extension’s role in volunteerism. MSU Extension submitted a proposal to create a new eXtension Community of Practice (CoP) focused on volunteerism. We’ve recently received word that the proposal was selected. The carefully designed and implemented needs assessment was core to the success of the proposal. This reinforces the importance of that step in development of a logic model and program plan.

Molly Frendo, MSU Extension associate program leader, will co-lead the project with Jana Ferris, Washington State University Extension educator. Julie Chapin, director of the Children and Youth Institute, will act as administrative advisor, and Doug Brahee, Extension specialist, will lead the Content Development Team. Specialists and educators from other universities and the USDA will also be part of the leadership team.

As you know, we’ve been actively involved in eXtension since its inception, and I’m confident the resources and leadership we contribute to this new CoP will be a large part of its success. The CoP will build the skills of staff and experienced volunteers, foster collaboration and build scholarship in the area of volunteer administration. Volunteer managers will benefit from an online environment where they can find high-quality professional development tools, templates and resources that are research and evidenced based. And on top of that, they’ll belong to a community of peers through eXtension.

Molly said, “MSUE has such great work going on in the area of volunteerism, which makes them perfect for getting involved in this excellent scholarship opportunity. We’ll be doing a big push at NECV to recruit staff from around the country to participate in the CoP, and I can’t wait to show everyone why MSUE is leading the way in this field!”

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Learn to structure webinar content

As you know, we’ve talked a great deal about “embracing” technology as a means of expanding our programs’ reach and impacts, and we’ve made tremendous strides. But sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the technology that our attention is consumed by the software and the real purpose of the program becomes an afterthought. I often need to remind myself that technology is the method we use to get our message across, not the message itself. And whether the meeting is online or face-to-face, it’s important to be organized with a prepared agenda to follow.

 Molly Frendo, Michigan State University Extension associate program leader in the Children and Youth Institute, will lead a face-to-face three-hour workshop session to help participants to create effective and engaging webinars. Rather than focus on the ins and outs of the technology, this learning experience will zero in on structuring the content of a webinar to facilitate online learning opportunities that are interesting and keep participants’ attention.

 Capacity will be limited to 10 people so that attendees can work on actual webinar content and receive feedback and support. “Creating Engaging Webinars” takes place March 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the MSU campus, 95 Agriculture Hall. The cost is $15. Register by March 12 at the MSU Extension Professional Development Registration System by clicking on the session title. And if we find demand far surpasses supply, we’ll work to find a way to broaden the reach of this program – face-to-face or online!

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Mind your (conference call) manners

Talking about email manners in a recent Spotlight brought to mind the importance of following professional etiquette in conference calls. Have you ever been bothered by distracting background noise and side conversations, a few people dominating the discussions or an unclear purpose? A short paper by Lela Vandenberg and Kathryn Foerster lists a set of possible guidelines to make conference calls go more smoothly. But this paper goes beyond etiquette with lots of ideas for making virtual meetings as interactive, participatory and productive as possible organized around four key tasks: creating structure, building a sense of community, maximizing interaction and minimizing groupthink. You can find this paper on the Michigan State University Extension Professional Development website along with other resources. Click on the paper’s title, “Guidelines for Teleconferences,” to download this Microsoft Word file. Feel free to pass this along to your volunteers and advisory committees as well.

 In addition, Lisa Bottomley, MSU Extension specialist, and Molly Frendo, MSU Extension associate program leader, will conduct an hourlong professional development webinar Feb. 9 at 2 p.m., “Facilitating Effective Conference Calls.” This webinar will cover a variety of topics including creating an agenda for conference calls, keeping participants engaged, maintaining productivity and increasing interactivity. It’s designed from a youth development perspective; however, anyone interested in effective conference calls may attend. Visit the MSU Extension Professional Development Registration System. Scroll down to session 7459, and click on the title. Register by Feb. 6.

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