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Extension > Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners > August 2015

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On this blog, we share regular updates about the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners partnership between Extension's Children, Youth & Family Consortium and Bruce Vento Elementary School.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Creating a Labyrinth to Calm

By: Sara Langworthy

One thing I definitely never thought my job at the University of Minnesota would entail is painting a labyrinth on an elementary school wall.

I'm not very artistically inclined. But thanks to the two College of Design students Emily Devore and Rachel Grothe, who were kind enough to share their skilled sketch, we were able to project the image on the wall and trace it freehand in a soothing peach color.

You can see the process and end result in this cool time-lapse video:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where Real Learning Happens: A Grad Student's Perspective

By: Nora Fox

As a graduate student in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, I have learned many theories, clinical practices, and policies related to field work. Social workers get to work with various populations and in many settings, like schools, hospitals, clinics, county service agencies and a host of other community settings. And as student interns, our clinical placements provide some of these opportunities. But as students, we need many experiences to prepare us for work beyond school. I count myself one of the few lucky graduate students who has been able to further my learning experiences beyond my clinical placement… and I credit this to the Bruce Vento grant project.

About 8 months ago, I was perusing the U of M’s employment website (as I often did, searching for graduate assistantships and other part-time jobs that would fit with my rigorous schedule), and stumbled on the Bruce Vento research assistant position. In my excitement, I could barely finish reading the requirements, qualifications, and other details surrounding the position without skipping ahead to the application instructions. I immediately g-chatted my sister, who serves as both my editor and guidance counselor for all employment-related opportunities, and sent her the link to the position description. “This is perfect!” I wrote; minutes later she responded “You HAVE to apply for this!” I polished up my resume, sent it to her to proofread, whipped out a cover letter, and submitted my application to Judy Myers.

I was delighted to be invited for an interview and met with Judy and Dr. Sara Langworthy soon after. As I asked for more details about the project (what were they looking for in a GRA? What types of duties were involved?), I felt excited as they described their work. Judy and Sara talked enthusiastically about their collaboration with Bruce Vento Elementary School and the strong connections they already had with the school’s principal and behavior specialist. They named current and potential partners, events, and meetings on their radar; I could barely write down all of the details fast enough. Sara and Judy’s commitment, creativity, and perseverance was inspiring and I knew I wanted to be part of this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Volunteers Needed for Day of Service

By: Taylor Johnson

As many of you may know, maintaining a garden is no small task. It takes hard work, persistence, and a willingness to get your hands dirty. The work being done in and around the garden at Bruce Vento is no exception to this. Since the Bruce Vento students have, understandably, not been around as frequently as during the school year and the engineering staff have been very busy with interior preparation for the start of school, the bushes and trees around the school are in need of a little love. The efforts of our volunteers is crucial to keeping the garden and grounds well cared for a fresh start this fall!


Judy Myers, a CYFC Extension educator, was working in and around the garden and spent several hours clearing trash, trimming bushes, and weeding but found she did not get very far on her own. She realized, “With a lot more hands to help, we could accomplish a lot more.” Thus, the staff at the CYFC and Bruce Vento are issuing a call for help.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Saint Paul Police Teach Kids How to Tend School Garden

By: Taylor Johnson


When was the last time you saw a police officer picking beans in a school garden?

At Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul, where staff from University of Minnesota Extension's Children, Youth, and Family Consortium (CYFC) have been working since 2014, this is a common sight. The Saint Paul Police Department regularly staffs the Bruce Vento school and community garden with police officers. These officers not only help tend the garden, but also engage with members of the community to get them involved in gardening.

Officer Mon Nottakun at the school garden.
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