Impact Reports

Latina Total Wellbeing

2016

There are more than 700,000 Latinos in Washington (12% of the total population) and more than 71,000 in Snohomish County (9.5% of the total population). First-generation immigrant Latinos face multiple challenges to operate in an unfamiliar and sometimes hostile “system.” Some challenges include language and cultural barriers, health disparities, low educational achievement, under-banking, lack of awareness and access to services and resources available to them, and discrimination. Furthermore, our experience suggests that Latina women are at an even greater disadvantage, in part because they tend to be more isolated since they often stay at home caring for their small children, have a lower level of literacy/education, and confront the “macho” culture of some male household members.

There are more than 700,000 Latinos in Washington (12% of the total population) and more than 71,000 in Snohomish County (9.5% of the total population). First-generation immigrant Latinos face multiple challenges to operate in an unfamiliar and sometimes hostile “system.” Some challenges include language and cultural barriers, health disparities, low educational achievement, under-banking, lack of awareness of and access to available services and resources, and discrimination. Furthermore, our experience suggests that Latina women are at an even greater disadvantage, in part because they tend to be more isolated since they often stay at home caring for their small children, have a lower level of literacy/education, and confront the “macho” culture of some male household members.

The Latino Community Studies and Outreach program (LCSO) at Washington State University Extension, partnering with the Latino Educational and Training Institute (LETI), a nonprofit serving the Latino community in Lynwood, WA, established the Bienestar Total de la Mujer Latina (Latina Total Wellbeing) project. With seed funding from United Way Snohomish County obtained by LCSO, the Latina Total Wellbeing project provided assistance and support to Latina women with information on health and mental healthcare, health insurance plans, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, school and college education, healthy and active living, stress reduction, and cooperatives. We developed a series of 8 Spanish-language workshops, one per week for 2-3 hours each, in which 20-25 women participated regularly in 2015. LCSO program leader Dr. José García-Pabón and LETI executive director Rosario Reyes planned and organized the topics after consultation with Latino community leaders. Speakers made presentations, and materials and information were distributed. Additional resources and services were discussed. To promote attendance, childcare was provided and all attendees received a certificate of participation. Latina women with 100% attendance were awarded gift baskets.

Enthusiasm grew rapidly among the participants, who by word of mouth brought more women to the workshops. Toward the end of the series, the classroom filled beyond capacity. The Latina women became more empowered as a result of the workshops. For instance, they took the lead and organized a potluck for their graduation ceremony, in which they received their certificate of attendance and a gift basket. In a session on education with the local school superintendent, they grilled him with questions and comments about issues impacting their children.

In an on-site debriefing, participants indicated they feel more comfortable talking to their children’s school teachers and counselors; they plan to enroll their families in the Affordable Care Act insurance plan; and they plan to attend English classes at the local community college. Additionally, they signed up for a variety of other classes including small-business development, financial literacy, and GED preparation. Approximately 24 hours of instruction were provided and many more hours of one-on-one personal coaching occurred with Rosario Reyes, Dr. José García-Pabón, and volunteers.

Due to the success of the workshops, LETI, with the cooperation of LCSO, repeated the series three times in 2016 with additional funding obtained by LETI from the Hazel Miller Foundation. The response was positive and now an increasing number of Latina women are enrolling in other classes and showing interest in topics related to cooperatives, mortgages, credit and financing to buy a car, starting a small business, and more. We plan to conduct a follow-up evaluation in the summer and fall of 2016 with former Bienestar Total de la Mujer Latina participants. Given the success of the program in meeting the needs of Latina women in Lynwood, we see similar efforts from Extension educators occurring in Yakima and Pasco. In addition, we plan to continue the series in Lynwood and expand to other rural locations in Snohomish and Skagit Counties.  Our long-term goal is to provide training and empowerment opportunities to immigrant women, Latinas, and other disadvantaged communities throughout the state.

  • 358 participants (356 women and 2 men) attended one of 5 eight-week series in 2015 and 2016.
  • 100% of participants expressed interest in learning English.
  • About 50% want to learn more about starting a small business.
  • About 80% are interested in financial support (grants, loans) for a potential small business.
  • 8 women enrolled in GED classes as a result of the workshops.
  • 32 women enrolled in financial education classes.
  • 34 women enrolled in First Steps Series, a business development course through the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship at Pinchot University.
  • 15 women have completed the First Steps Series and have enrolled in the Access to Capital workshop through MercyCorp.
  • 3 women attended a 4-H activity and are interested in enrolling their kids in 4-H.

“I had a difficult time, but this program helped me to grow as a woman and I can help other women now.”

“We live in a world of ignorance and with these classes we learned to have a better life, and now I can help others who are going through difficult times.”

“Here I learned about fraud; some people cheat us and take advantage of us and we do not use the opportunities to learn like this one when we have the time. There is childcare here and it is in our language. What else can we ask for?”

For more information, please contact Jose Garcia-Pabon, Latino Community Studies and Outreach,
600 128th St. SE, Everett, WA 98208,  (425) 357-6008, or garciajl@wsu.edu.

Ideas for Healthy Living

2016

The health and well-being of a changing society is a critical concern for Skagit County.  A recent community health needs assessment identified excessive weight, obesity, and improving nutrition (fruit and vegetable consumption) as priorities. Lack of access to healthy food is one contributing factor to the health status of community members. While the Skagit Valley is a rich agricultural area, access to food is difficult for many county residents. It is estimated that 1 in 9 households experience food insecurity, including the 27% of households with children who struggle to put food on the table. The Department of Health chronic disease profile of Skagit County reports that 27% of adults, and 13% of 10th graders are overweight. Only 25% of adults consume the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and just 1 in 10 youth report eating more than 1 serving of fruits and vegetables daily.

The health and well-being of a changing society is a critical concern for Skagit County and lack of access to healthy food is one contributing factor to the health status of community members. A recent community health needs assessment identified excessive weight, obesity, and improving nutrition (fruit and vegetable consumption) as priorities. While the Skagit Valley is a rich agricultural area, access to food is difficult for many county residents. It is estimated that 1 in 9 households experience food insecurity, including the 27% of households with children who struggle to put food on the table. The Department of Health chronic disease profile of Skagit County reports that 27% of adults, and 13% of 10th graders are overweight. Only 25% of adults consume the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and just 1 in 10 youth report eating more than 1 serving of fruits and vegetables daily.

The Ideas for Healthy Living (IFHL) program at Skagit County WSU Extension has designed interactive learning experiences for each step along the consumer food pathway – selection and purchase, growing and harvesting, preparing and cooking, storage and waste reduction, and movement and physical activity. Choosing healthy foods no matter where someone shops, whether at the supermarket, corner store, farmers market or food bank, is promoted through supermarket tours, recipe tastings, and educational displays. Culinary skills needed to prepare easy and delicious meals are presented in small, group classes for young and old alike. A food safety and food preservation advice phone line, instructional classes, and handouts present best-practices for preserving food, and information on how to reduce food waste and incidence of food-borne illness. Promoting healthy habits to reduce the risk of chronic disease and help maintain a healthy weight occurs in small, group meetings, after-school programs, early learning centers, and at health fairs. Skagit County WSU Extension incorporates best-practice theory in interactive learning that is engaging and meaningful to participants. Additionally:

  • Parents, childcare providers, and preschool teachers learn proper food portions and nutrition tips for preschoolers to support the development of positive eating habits for preschoolers and youth;
  • Food bank shoppers learn how to select and prepare items available at the food pantry through educational displays and recipe demonstrations;
  • Older adults and seniors adopt new strategies for meal planning and physical activity with the support of  a  lifestyle coach in the Diabetes Prevention Program;

» More …

Farm to Fork Field Day Program

2016

Funding and Partners

Washington State University Extension programs have promoted healthy living through a variety of delivery methods for individuals and families for more than 100 years. Today, health issues continue to be significant to youth and families in our state. In Washington, 24% of youth ages 10-17 and 27% of adults are overweight or obese (Department of Health, 2013). There is a strong need for people to identify the health benefits of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and recognize the bigger picture of food systems. Putting food on the table is not only an experience that begins at the grocery store, and it is important to understand that it grows locally and each person can be involved in its production and/or finding more of it locally. This is especially critical in urban settings where people are farther removed from the production of their own food. Teaching and showing youth where their food comes from and how it gets to their table can influence their desire to increase their local selection of produce for a healthy diet.

Agricultural literacy is an important way to encourage healthy eating behaviors through education about food systems. Pairing this with hands-on activities involving growing food increases the chances youth will make changes in their food choices.

Washington State University Extension programs have promoted healthy living through a variety of delivery methods for individuals and families for more than 100 years. Today, health issues continue to be significant to youth and families in our state. In Washington, 24% of youth ages 10-17 and 27% of adults are overweight or obese (Department of Health, 2013). There is a strong need for people to identify the health benefits of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and recognize the bigger picture of food systems. Putting food on the table is not only an experience that begins at the grocery store. It is important to understand that it grows locally and each person can be involved in its production and/or finding more of it locally. This is especially critical in urban settings where people are farther removed from the production of their own food. Teaching and showing youth where their food comes from and how it gets to their table can influence their desire to increase their local selection of produce for a healthy diet.

Agricultural literacy is an important way to encourage healthy eating behaviors through education about food systems. Pairing this with hands-on activities involving growing food increases the chances youth will make changes in their food choices.

In an effort to connect youth to local food access and help them understand where their food comes from, 4-H and Food $ense have worked together to develop the WSU Clark County Extension’s Farm to Fork Field Days. This field trip experience gives youth the opportunity to visit the Heritage Farm and learn about local food access.

In 2014, the WSU Clark County Extension faculty, staff, and volunteers worked together to pilot the Farm to Fork Field Day program. The goal was to increase the awareness and knowledge of agriculture and the role it plays in the lives of young people in Clark County. Through Farm to Fork, area youth from schools and community groups came to the Heritage Farm to learn more about how their food grows and gets to their tables at home.

Since the pilot project, Farm to Fork has been promoted in school classrooms and community youth programs encouraging youth to participate in hands-on farm experiences. Groups participate in farm- and food-topic-related workshop stations. The topics of these stations include: planting, weeding, and harvesting produce, worm composting, water resources, bees and pollination, uses of animals and animal byproducts, food systems, and other farm-based activities. » More …

Strengthening Families

2016

Reducing risky teen behavior by building family strengths – engaging communication, fun, and understanding.

While there is lots of good information for parents of younger children and for teenagers, there is very little information about parenting of children from ages 10 to 14, who are transitioning from childhood to adolescence.

Substance abuse is a serious and costly problem in Washington and nationwide. In a 2012 survey by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, 23% of 10th graders in Washington said they had been drunk in the past 30 days, and one in five had driven while drinking.

Families are important sources of support and guidance for children, and the welfare of children often is tied to the strength of their families. Strong family relationships promote healthy development and protect against teen substance use.

While there is lots of good information for parents of younger children and for teenagers, there is very little information about parenting children from ages 10 to 14, who are transitioning from childhood to adolescence. This is a risky period, and it is difficult for parents to accommodate their children’s growing need for autonomy while still monitoring their behavior and keeping them safe.

The WSU Extension Parenting team did a needs assessment and identified parents of children in this transitional developmental stage as underserved.

The award-winning Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth Aged 10-14, is a parent, youth, and family skills-building curriculum that focuses on strengthening parenting skills, building family strengths, and preventing teen substance abuse and other behavioral problems. The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) strives to improve parental nurturing and limit-setting skills, improve communication skills for parents and youth, and encourage youth pro-social skills development.

The program is seven weeks long. Each weekly session typically includes a group snack or meal, followed by separate workshops for parents and children, then family activities that encourage communication and closeness. Parents learn and rehearse best-practice parenting skills; youth learn peer-resistance skills, and how to understand and empathize with their parents’ concerns. » More …

Tagged
YF