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Programs

Children, Youth and Families Programs

Heart and Shield

Parents and children who have experienced domestic violence in the past participate in hands-on activities to foster family bonds, enhance communication and problem solving skills, and focus on healthy relationships. Parents learn about their child’s development, parenting styles, guidance, coping skills and health and wellness while children and youth build friendships, listening and other social and emotional skills. Each session of the 12-week program includes a healthy snack or meal, separate parent and child meetings, family-based activities, a health and wellness tip and a closing activity. Parent interact with one another during the parent meetings through group discussions, role play and other experiential-based activities. Children and youth learn important skills through play, group discussions, theatre arts, games and other hands on activities.

Issue:

Needs assessments in Elko (2012) and Churchill (2004 and 2014) Counties have indicated that domestic violence (DV) prevention is a high-priority issue for county residents. Nevada ranked number one in the nation in the rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender homicides for 2012. Locally, five Elko County women were murdered by their intimate partners in 2011. Children living in violent homes have an increased risk for abuse. As children witness violence in the home, they develop attitudes about violence and power in relationships which can be passed onto future generations (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/domestic_violence/, 2014). Children who witnessed violence experience long-lasting difficulties such as adult depression, anxiety and trauma-related symptoms (Lilly, Howell & Graham-Bermann, 2011) and increased tolerance for and use of violence in adult relationships (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/domesticviolence.cfm2013). Self-regulation skills such as emotional awareness, anger management, stress management and coping skills, problem solving skills can improve the well-being of children exposed to domestic violence. Strong evidence links parenting competencies such as parental acceptance and responsiveness, maternal warmth, strong parent-child bonds and emotional support to positive outcomes for children exposed to DV. The positive outcomes for children include decreasing the risk of antisocial behavior, lowering the likelihood of running away and teen pregnancy while improving relationships between children and mothers (https://childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/guide-domesticviolence/, 2015).

What Has Been Done:

A five-year Children, Youth and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) grant was awarded in August 2013 to provide an educational program for former domestic violence (DV) survivors and their children in two rural communities - Elko and Fallon, Nevada. Our grant was one of nine accepted submissions in the U.S., and the first awarded for a DV prevention program. Initially funded for $574,000, we have received an additional $33,000 in the first three years, increasing the grant amount to be awarded for 5-years, at this time, to $607,000. The grant, titled Heart and Shield: A Program to End Domestic Violence, addresses three main components: 1) direct education and non-crisis intervention for children and families who have experienced DV, to promote resiliency and strengthen positive future relationships, 2) educate community members and leaders about the impact of DV and create a supportive community in which DV is not tolerated, 3) develop an on-line law enforcement DV training that addresses the dynamics of DV from the 911 call to successful prosecution. The direct education and non-crisis intervention component provides a 12-week education program for children, youth and parents and a monthly family activity to foster attachment and bonding among family members.

Curriculum topics for adults include Team Building/Goal Setting, Communication, Child Development, Parenting Styles, Guidance and Discipline, Family Roles, Problem Solving, Healthy Relationships, Safety Planning and Characteristics of a Strong Family. Age-appropriate curricula for children include the same content areas, but include topics on Emotion Awareness, Empathy, Self-Regulation, Making Friends and Conflict Resolution. An extensive literature review conducted by the program team revealed these topics demonstrate positive impacts to building resilient families following violent situations. The draft curricula is over 400 pages, inclusive of handouts.

Building collaborations with community organizations and agencies has been key to promoting the program and recruiting program participants. Twenty-two presentations about the Heart and Shield program in Elko have been delivered to family court judges, school counselors, child and family social workers, preschool directors and childcare providers, family resource center parenting instructors, mental health counselors, early intervention developmental specialists, preschool mothers’ groups, home visitors and other community stakeholders. The purpose of the community demonstration was to introduce the program and teach people how they can help victims of domestic violence. Agency personnel participated in several Heart and Shield activities in hopes that they can better explain and promote the program to their clientele.

Pam Powell, Churchill County Extension Educator and Jill Baker-Tingey, Elko County Extension Educator submitted a proposal and were invited to serve as panel members for the Data Usage session of the 2015 CYFAR Professional Development Conference.

Impact:

Program efforts have focused on finalizing curriculum for implementation, recruitment of CYFAR participants, and direct education for parents and their children. Completed CYFAR common measure pre-surveys were collected and data was uploaded. A qualitative evaluation was approved through UNR Office of Research Integrity. While not yet administered, CYFAR staff have already observed behavior changes in participants such as an increase in family functioning and reduced family behavior issues. To promote the Heart and Shield program, CYFAR staff designed promotional materials and conducted community/agency demonstration workshops utilizing activities from the Heart and Shield curriculum.

Contacts: Julie Woodbury, Site Coordinator and Parent Facilitator, 775-238-3118
Melinda Gomez, Site Coordinator and Child Facilitator, 775-738-7291

Children, Youth and Families Programs

Programs Program Information

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

4-H Youth Development

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

All 4 Kids

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by UNCE faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

Bootstraps

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed Bootstraps, a high-risk youth program that helps teens return to school and/or gain meaningful work.

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A Workforce Readiness Program

The Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! is a workforce readiness program for high school students focused on skill development for workplace and job success. Career Edge helps high school students prepare to get their first "paying" job while working toward their dream job or career. Career Edge provides information and training on interview skills, résumé development, filling out applications, finding job leads and selecting appropriate clothing for the workplace. In addition, many "soft skills" needed in the workplace such as decision-making, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership are integrated throughout the program.

Caring 4 Kids Self-study Guides

Child Passenger Safety Program

Churchill County Community Readiness Network

Nevada communities need rapid access to information during an emergency. In an effort to enhance community preparedness, safety and available resources and by using GPS and GIS mapping, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s 4-H youth and adult leaders in Churchill County are working with community emergency managers to address evacuation and shelter mapping.

Exploring Your True Colors: Building an Effective Team--Team Development Course

Exploring Your True Colors is a fun, dynamic and interactive personality program that is based on the Myers-Briggs and Keirsey-Bates studies. Individuals explore and discover their basic temperament and characteristics associated with that temperament. Through personal assessment and experiential activities, participants acquire a deeper understanding of themselves and those they work with. They also discover valuable insights that have innumerable applications in work, family, and personal relationships. The Exploring Your True Colors program encourages teamwork, promotes effective communication and enhances customer service and overall workplace productivity.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Heart and Shield

Parents and children who have experienced domestic violence in the past participate in hands-on activities to foster family bonds, enhance communication and problem solving skills, and focus on healthy relationships. Parents learn about their child’s development, parenting styles, guidance, coping skills and health and wellness while children and youth build friendships, listening and other social and emotional skills. Each session of the 12-week program includes a healthy snack or meal, separate parent and child meetings, family-based activities, a health and wellness tip and a closing activity. Parent interact with one another during the parent meetings through group discussions, role play and other experiential-based activities. Children and youth learn important skills through play, group discussions, theatre arts, games and other hands on activities.

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting, and Responding to Child Maltreatment

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a high priority in Elko County. Child caregivers, youth workers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what they can do to prevent child abuse and neglect can attend this workshop. Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, understand their reporting requirements and their role in preventing child maltreatment.

Little Books and Little Cooks

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Little Books & Little Cooks program is a national ward winning program (from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences) to address parenting and nutrition information. The program teaches both parents and their young children (ages 3-5) important milestones of early learning and literacy, school readiness and good nutrition through a seven-week program. Topics for seven weeks include: proper hand washing procedure, food safety and kitchen safety rules, USDA MyPlate (five food groups), benefits of cooking with children, multicultural foods, parents’ feeding style and hunger and fullness cues, picky eating behaviors, and importance of eating fruits and vegetables. Reading children’s books about nutrition and healthy eating as well as cooking and eating together allow both children and parents to learn about healthy eating and nutrition and gain positive parent-child interaction skills. This program offers children a way to learn important pre-kindergarten skills, including math, science, physical development, health and nutrition, literacy development, social development and creative arts, as well as to try new, nutritious foods.

Nevada State GEAR UP

Partners in Parenting

Partners in Parenting promotes positive parenting and child health and development, thereby preventing child abuse and other poor childhood outcomes.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.