Tag Archives: washtenaw county

MSU Extension partnership event highlighted on Jackson County local news station

Jackson County local news station JTV interviewed Michigan State University Extension program instructors Jae Gerhart and Angela Maniaci about their partnership with the Jackson County Agricultural Council and the Grand River Brewery in Jackson, Michigan, to put on a community event that took place June 4. Jae is the Washtenaw County food systems program instructor, and Angela is a nutrition and physical activity program instructor based in Jackson County. The purpose of the event was connecting people with local produce and providing examples of ways to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables.

Jae engaged a local farmer to provide produce, and Angela put together and cooked recipes using the local produce for the event held at the Brewery. The tasting event allowed participants to vote and see their selection appear on the Grand River Brewery’s menu for the season.

You can watch the JTV interview with Angela and Jae by visiting their website.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, communication, Events, Food, Nutrition, Partnerships

Strategic Connections and Housing Education in District 12

Photo of the side of a house that is made of gray wood with a stair case in front of it. The wall of the house has a window with blue shutters. Over top of the photo is the title of the blog post "Strategic Connections & Housing Education in District 12."

This month we’re highlighting Terry Clark-Jones’ strategic connections with the Washtenaw Housing Education Partnership (WHEP) in District 12. Terry is a Michigan State University (MSU) Extension senior educator who provides programming on two work teams: Financial and Home Ownership Education, and Social Emotional Health.

MSU Extension was a founding member of WHEP in 2001, a partnership designed to bring together housing education providers. The group formed as a response to increased educational requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for their affordable housing programs.

Why is housing education important?

“For many potential first-time home buyers, the challenge is coming up with the up-front funds it takes to purchase a home,” Terry said. “It’s important to educate the consumer of the affordable housing programs available to them, such as Michigan State Housing Department Authority Down Payment Assistance, Federal Housing Authority, USDA Rural Development Loans, Habitat for Humanity and the Federal Home Loan Bank Home Ownership Opportunity program.  These programs also require that potential first-time home buyers participate in this education. Research done by Freddie Mac and NeighborWorks show that homeowners who participate in these classes are less likely to foreclose.”

Now, in 2017, the partnership is still going strong, growing from three to eight organizations: Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley, the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, POWER Inc., Housing Bureau for Seniors, the Washtenaw County treasurer’s office, the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and MSU Extension. How it works: participants are welcomed and registered through MSU Extension, then they attend our home ownership education classes, and then they move on to the other partner organizations depending on their needs. WHEP has made affordable housing education and programs a seamless process to provide the best and most custom service to prospective buyers.

“This partnership has created many opportunities, including referrals, increased grant funding opportunities, visibility in the community and leads to new partnerships beyond housing education,” Terry said. One funding opportunity helped to create an affordable housing program in Washtenaw County. Because of the partnership, the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development received a federal grant to create a special affordable housing program in the county. It was a rehab/acquisition program where participants in a targeted income range could purchase a home and receive up to $35,000 in assistance to help with repairs and a down payment. If they stayed in the home for 20 years, the loan would be forgiven. This program lasted 18 months and helped about 30 families.

Through working with WHEP, Terry has learned that building and maintaining partnerships take a lot of work.

“Partnerships are hard to keep going and productive,” she said. “Their success can be decided by the personalities at the table. But with time and a common goal, it can be a great experience with awesome outcomes.”

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Filed under Housing, Partnerships, strategic connections

Youth voices come together at National 4-H Youth Conference

4-H hosted its National 4-H Conference April 9-14. This year, Jackie Martin, our MSU Extension 4-H leadership and civic engagement educator, led a group of four outstanding 4-H individuals to Washington, D.C. for the conference: Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young.

MSU 4-H youth Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young pose for a photo with Congressman Huizenga.

MSU 4-H youth Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young pose for a photo with Congressman Huizenga.

This conference is the premier civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members ages 15 to 19 to increase their knowledge, resources and skills. It engages youth in personal development experiences as they discuss topics affecting youth and programs nationwide. It empowers and mobilizes them to create positive social change in their communities.

Jackie Martin shared about the conference and the many engagement opportunities for the youth.

“National 4-H Conference brings youth together from across the country to research an issue presented to them by one of many federal agencies,” she said.

Youth bring diverse perspectives representing youth voice together by preparing a presentation they share with federal agency representatives from programs and departments such as the Department of State, the Department of Energy, AmeriCorps and the Department of Education.

Each 4-H’er shared about her experience.

Samantha, from Monroe County, who takes part in 4-H in sheep, rabbits, chickens, still exhibits, leadership and community service projects, said, “National 4-H Conference allowed me to gain a new perspective on 4-H and the global opportunities it offers.”

Katelyn, active in 4-H in Muskegon County with sheep projects, still exhibits and leadership, said, “It changed my view on the political world and I got to see more in-depth what goes into the decision to go to college while working with a diverse round table group.”

Katie, involved in sewing, baking, crafting, public speaking and leadership in Emmet County, said, “National 4-H Conference helped me gain a better perspective of how Extension works as well as helped me broaden my knowledge of our government and peers.”

“National 4-H Conference gave me a better perspective on the different 4-H programs throughout the country,” Emma from Washtenaw County and active with 4-H chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, still exhibits, leadership and archery, said. “The visits gave me insight into a typical day for a government official and I’m considering my own future in political service.”

Jackie said, “Youth share their voice on Capitol Hill as they represent Michigan 4-H in meetings with senators, representatives and their staff. It’s always a joy to watch youth step up to a big challenge and exceed our expectations while gaining friends and perspectives from across the U.S.”

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Filed under 4-H, Conferences

Through Toyota 4-H2O grant, Michigan 4-H Youth Development continues to educate kids experientially

For the fourth year, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has received a Toyota 4-H2O grant. The $65,000 grant is divided between two areas: $50,000 goes to continue the yearlong 4-H2O projects in Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties along with a cluster of counties in northeastern Michigan. The remaining $15,000 supports the 2011 4-H National Youth Science Day activities that will take place throughout the state Oct. 1–8.

Oakland County puts the Toyota 4-H2O grant money to work with “I pledge my hands to larger service,” a campaign focused on involving elementary through high school-aged youth in water issues and water-related cleanup efforts. Youth also learn about water issues hands-on when they attend the 4-H2O Eco-Challenge summer weeklong camp at Indian Springs Metropark in August.

In Washtenaw County, the Huron River Watershed Council partners with MSU Extension to teach students about community-based water resources such as the Huron, Detroit, Ottawa-Stony and Raisin watersheds. The kids test the quality of the water and learn how their daily actions can have an effect on that quality.

In Wayne County, the grant allows students in the Detroit area schools to continue to engage in the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) “School Ship” cruises. Students study curriculum in the classroom that prepares them for the cruise. On the boat, students visit stations that involve them in learning about life on board.

Through Toyota 4-H2O, the Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give students in northeastern Michigan a chance to participate in shipboard learning experiences. Students will conduct water quality tests from Lake Huron, the Ocqueoc River and the Trout River. MSU Extension staff members prepare teachers who in turn teach the students.

The grant allows kids the opportunity to learn science using a hands-on approach and relate what they learn to real-world experiences. It also gives them a taste of career options that they previously may not have known existed.

This is just another great example of how we are effectively carrying out our I Know MI Numbers science literacy initiative, providing science education in a non-formal setting using an experiential, learn-by-doing method and sharing it with teachers in formal school settings.

The Toyota 4-H20 Project is funded by a grant from Toyota to National 4-H Council and the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

To read more about 4-H Youth Development and the Toyota 4-H2O grant, click here.

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Filed under 4-H

MSUE once again a HUD-approved housing counseling agency

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently reapproved Michigan State University Extension as a Local Housing Counseling Agency (LHCA). The reapproval allows MSUE to continue to provide housing counseling in the areas of home improvement and rehabilitation, financial management and budgeting, and mortgage delinquency and default resolution. They are also approved to provide workshops dealing with issues such as finances, credit repair, predatory lending and home buying.

 All of our districts participated in this successful approval. Macomb and Washtenaw counties served as MSUE’s on-site reviewed offices. Both counties articulated the excellence of our educational programming in the areas of financial education, housing and foreclosure prevention, and both counties continue to lead the way for our statewide efforts in this subject.

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Filed under Financial education