Tag Archives: wanda roberts

Honoring our retirees as they begin new chapters

It’s the time of year when we honor and say goodbye to all of our retirees during the Michigan State University (MSU) retirement reception and banquet on Tuesday, April 12. I want to give one final shout-out to our MSU Extension colleagues who have made their marks on our organization and Michigan.

Elaine Bush joined MSU Extension in 1987 as a 4-H program assistant in Benzie County, and then spent many years in Manistee County as a 4-H agent, county Extension director and finally, as an Extension educator. Throughout her career, she enjoyed working with clientele, local government officials and organizational leaders. Coordinating the MSU Extension Firewise outreach program was one of her career highlights. Elaine enjoyed working with national Extension staff involved in disaster education as the point of contact for Extension Disaster Education Network.

Gerald (“Jerry”) May’s educational programs included environmental issues relating to livestock production concentrating on air quality concerns for livestock producers, rural residents and agency staff who work directly with livestock producers. He focused on odor issues related to livestock production, selecting sites for livestock facilities and the National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool. He also provided quality assurance education programs for pork producers on a regional basis. Jerry’s greatest pride and enjoyment came from relationships he developed working with farm employees and owners, state agency staff, 4-H youth and his Extension colleagues.

Jane Herbert joined Extension in 1996 as a water quality educator responsible for design, development, coordination, promotion, teaching, evaluation and budgeting of regional and statewide water quality programs and activities. In 2008, she became the lead educator for the MSU Extension inland lake shoreline restoration programing and was a founding member of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership that developed the Certified Natural Shoreline Professional program. She provided leadership for a series of natural shoreline workshops and train-the-trainer sessions to equip natural resource professionals to educate lakefront property owners.

Patricia (“Pat”) Dignum began her career as a 4-H educator in Kent County and later moved to Montcalm County. In Kent and Montcalm counties, she provided educational programming and oversight of 4-H Youth Development, along with volunteer and leadership trainings for community partners. In Kent County, she also developed afterschool programs in science and nutrition for urban elementary schools and at-risk secondary students. In recent years, as a supervising educator, she provided support to the 4-H staff in 10 counties.

Theresa Silm has devoted her life to 4-H and youth. After graduating with a B.A. in child development and elementary education from Michigan State University, she accepted a position as a 4-H program associate in Clinton County in 1977. She later became the 4-H youth agent. She has provided both youth programming and family education, and has worked with community partners to develop programs, curriculum and trainings for children and teens.

Wanda Roberts began as the Grand Traverse County 4-H Extension agent in 1990. In her role, Wanda facilitated meaningful partnerships with community organizations to provide educational programming for community members, especially youth. As supervisor of local 4-H program coordinators, she was also dedicated to mentoring and helping her colleagues be successful. Following her passion for financial literacy, Ms. Roberts served for five years as a financial educator with the Financial and Homeownership Education Team. She was instrumental in creating a partnership with Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services in investor education. She also served as the co-chair of the national Financial Security for All eXtension Community of Practice. She is a member of the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

I also want to take time to honor and remember Thomas (“Tom”) Schneider who unexpectedly passed away in Laos earlier this year while doing what he loved. For the past 13 years, he would travel to Laos to train local indigenous hill tribe members who in turn provide an education to the local children as a step in helping build a sustainable local economy. He joined Extension in 1977 as an Extension 4-H youth agent in Oakland County. In 1988, he became an Extension program leader responsible for developing the new property donation to MSU and managing the Tollgate Extension Center located in the heart of Novi, Michigan. Throughout his career, Tom committed himself to helping young people and adults achieve success in their lives. Tom was a strong advocate for the staff he supported and worked with, serving on numerous committees related to staff development and leadership. As a co-creator of the MSU Extension Facilitator Excellence training, he was instrumental in helping professionals across Michigan and the country improve their group facilitation skills in support of community and youth development efforts. Tom is survived by his wife, Brenda, and daughter, Jennifer. We join them in remembering how he changed our lives.

To all of our retirees, thank you again for all of the important work that you’ve done for Michigan residents and your service to our organization. You have made a difference in all of our lives.

Comments Off on Honoring our retirees as they begin new chapters

Filed under Retirees

Money management classes taught in the deaf community

One of our values at Michigan State University Extension is the commitment to reaching out to diverse clientele and finding ways to adapt our content to their needs. This November, Wanda Roberts, Extension educator in Oakland County with the Financial and Homeownership Education Team, taught a Money Management Workshop Series at Faith Assembly Deaf Church in Pontiac.

The program reached 21 people who are deaf, three who are deaf and blind, and three who are hard of hearing. The program engaged eight sign language interpreters each week to work with the group. Topics presented during the series included making money decisions, creating and managing a spending plan, managing credit and debt, as well as saving and investing.

The participant feedback was very positive. Two participant responses follow:

  • I enjoyed learning. I’m prepared for the future. I can now protect myself and my family. The three classes were worth it! Many deaf and hard of hearing wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn these details.
  • I’m very impressed since I actually understood all of it. I’m not even anxious a bit. I like the way the instructor was patient with all questions and was open about our concerns.

Our commitment to Michigan individuals and families extends to many diverse audiences, and it’s exciting to see how the partnerships we make can help facilitate that.

Comments Off on Money management classes taught in the deaf community

Filed under curriculum, diversity

Financial & Homeownership Education work group has all the answers at Money Smart Week event

Money Smart Week, April 5 to 12, is a national public awareness campaign coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to help individuals and families better manage their personal finances. More than 400 free Money Smart Week events took place throughout Michigan on topics ranging from kids and money to managing student loan debt, household budgeting and retirement.

Our Michigan State University Extension Financial and Homeownership Education (FHE) work group participated in 12 Money Smart Week events throughout the eight days. One of the largest events was the Fox 2 News “Ask the Expert” program held the morning of April 7. This program consisted of both a live call-in program in the Fox 2 News studios and a live webchat on the MyFoxDetroit.com website. TV viewers either called in to the studio or went on the Web to ask questions on debt, credit, budgeting, homeownership and mortgages, retirement and investing, and fraud and scams.

The FHE team members who participated in the studio taking calls were LaShawn Brown, Terry Clark-Jones, Mike Krauch, Angela Miles, Wanda Roberts, Pam Sarlitto and Rob Weber. This group answered more than 250 calls and also talked with Fox 2 News financial reporter Murray Feldman on-air on a variety of money issues.

Answering questions in the online webchat were FHE team members Jim Buxton, Bill Hendrian, Khurram Imam, Brenda Long, Julie Moberg, Jinnifer Ortquist, Beth Waitrovich and Vivian Washington. This team provided replies to more than 100 questions that came into the chat room.

Money Smart Week provided a great opportunity for the FHE work group to enhance their mission of providing financial education throughout Michigan. And I think the Ask the Expert call-in/live-chat model they’ve developed with Fox 2 News is something that might be appropriate for other program areas and work groups to consider in the future. We’ll hear more about that on the May 5 MSUE Update Webinar.

Comments Off on Financial & Homeownership Education work group has all the answers at Money Smart Week event

Filed under Financial education

Staff is right on the money ‒ and the media ‒ during Money Smart Week

Our Michigan State University Extension staff are shaking up the airwaves assisting people with financial issues during Money Smart Week.

A group of our colleagues staffed the phones and talked to about 60 people during the Fox 2 News Detroit morning show April 22 from 6:30 a.m. to noon. Participants included Extension educators Terry Clark-Jones, Mike Crouch, Jean Lakin and Wanda Roberts and Extension program instructors Pam Sarlitto and Khurram Imam.

Jean said, “The problems people called about are far too complicated to solve in a quick conversation. But educators were able to direct people to the correct professionals ‒ housing counselors, attorneys.”

In addition to answering the phones, each staff member appeared on air at least twice to discuss financial management questions with Murray Feldman, Fox 2 News.

Kelly Masters, a consultant who was hired by the Federal Reserve to coordinate Money Smart Week events in the Detroit Metro area, set up the opportunity. People from partner agencies also staffed the phone lines.

In this economy, people need all of the help they can get and that’s where MSU Extension comes in.

Jean said, “Our job isn’t done. Based on the volume of calls, financial issues are definitely something people are struggling with, and we’re here to help people work through those issues.”

In addition, MSU Extension educator Erica Tobe was one of four presenters April 20 at a special live broadcast presentation with WTVS, a Detroit PBS station. The show, presented in a lightning round/game show format to an overflowing audience, educates consumers on protecting, saving, managing and growing their money. It will air July 20 at 8 p.m.

Jean described both of these events as “out-of-the-box ways to promote financial literacy.”

It’s how our colleagues usually perform and the way we get things done – out of the box.

Educators throughout the state are doing similar programming, and I’m afraid to start mentioning them for fear I’ll forget someone. If you’re doing a Money Smart Week activity, please tell us about it in the comments below.

Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that was designed to help consumers manage their personal finances more effectively. It runs April 20–27. Events will take place throughout Metro Detroit, Michigan and the United States.

Listen to this Oakland County podcast on Money Smart Week featuring Wanda Roberts: http://www.oakgov.com/podcast/Pages/Episode.aspx?EpisodeId=194

1 Comment

Filed under Financial education