Although over the past year we have not been able to gather for in-person events, hopefully that tide is changing! Soon we will once again be able to share meals and provide refreshments to program participants – making it a good time to review these guidelines and remind ourselves about the importance of nutrition, which is so integral to adolescent health.
By making simple changes to the food and drinks we serve at programs, groups, and community events, we can impact young people’s health in positive and powerful ways. As a provider of youth services, you are in an ideal position to help young people improve their health by offering healthy food choices, raising awareness about nutrition, and engaging participants in menu planning and food preparation activities. This publication provides you with easy and practical ideas on how to accomplish these tasks, including factual information, recipes, money-saving tips, and implementation strategies. In the process, your program may help to support healthy eating habits and life skills that not only ensure proper growth during a critical development stage but will continue into adulthood.
We hope that by following these Guidelines, you can make a difference in the lives of our youth and in the generations to come.
I’m writing to let you know about transitions that will be happening during this year. Jutta Dotterweich, our long-term Director of Training and TA, will be retiring in June 2021. Jutta has been with ACT for Youth since it began in July of 2000 and has built our training program. She has been an extraordinary leader of our training/TA efforts – whose vast knowledge of positive youth development, and vision for how best to build capacity to promote adolescent health and prevent risky behaviors, has been appreciated by generations of youth workers, educators and colleagues across NYS and beyond. To say she will be missed is an understatement!
As we move forward during this transition period, some of Jutta’s responsibilities will be passed on to Mary Maley. An experienced trainer with expertise in evidence-based programming, Mary has been with ACT for Youth since 2011, most recently leading our CDC-funded research. Mary will provide research support for developing training and web resources, cover Jutta’s caseload of provider assignments and take on additional training responsibilities as needed. She will join Heather, Michele and Marisol on the training/TA team.
We will miss Jutta but rest assured you will continue to receive our expertise and support in meeting your goals and needs.
You are all on our minds during this
difficult time as we hunker down, physically separated but sharing similar
experiences, fears, and hopes. Connecting virtually is not new to our far-flung,
statewide network, but important to do—now more than ever. At ACT for Youth—now
operating out of each of our households—we are focusing on online connection
and professional development. We are here for you.
EBPs are suspended—outreach (virtual) is not. We know that young people continue to need your support, even as normal programming is suspended. (From Mandy, here’s how to record any incomplete EBP cycles.) No evidence-based programming can continue without in-person meetings, but some of you already have expertise at maintaining your relationships with young people and getting them critical information and education online. Which brings us to…
Sharing your social media expertise. On a learning community meeting attended by over 200 providers last week, many of you shared how to locate your social media accounts (check the chat document. We will also have a future post on this topic). CAPP provider Eloise McAviney suggested that we connect our community of educators across the state with #CAPPsexEd – so keep your eye on that across social media (And this means you, too, PREP providers!) We are actively looking for ways for you to share your expertise with your colleagues. Share your thoughts in the comments!
Look for more Hub posts, as we will be using this blog to share updates and ideas.
More professional development opportunities will be coming your way soon. First, we are asking supervisors to give us the background information we need to be sure we’re on the right track. Supervisors, check your email for the survey link that your TA provider sent you Monday 3/23 and please complete the survey. Jutta and the TA team are meeting just about constantly, retooling the training calendar and planning new ways to move forward on your behalf.
Questions about your funding may be at the top of your mind. We expect guidance from the Department of Health soon, though we know that they are in the eye of the storm. We do not have any inside knowledge at ACT for Youth. Supervisors are welcome to direct your questions and concerns about funding to Eric Zasada. In the meantime, rest assured that time spent in online outreach and professional development is time well spent.
Thank you for your dedication and collaborative spirit. We will get through this together.
~ The ACT for Youth Team: Jane, Jutta, Mandy, Brian, Heather, Jenny, Karen, Marisol, Mary, Michele, Paula, Vanessa, Vicki
We are excited to introduce our newest ACT for Youth staff member, Vanessa Amankwaa. Vanessa recently graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Development Sociology, Distinction in Research, having minored in both Global Health and Human Development. Her research honors thesis focused on disparities in drug sentencing between the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s and the current opioid epidemic. Vanessa has also spent time conducting research and health promotion in Tanzania, working with HIV positive women, among others. Originally from the Bronx, she is nevertheless prepared for Ithaca winters thanks to her years at Cornell!
Vanessa is a member of the evaluation team, and much of her effort will be concentrated there. She is also taking over some of Amy’s previous administrative responsibilities. (Never fear, Amy is still with ACT for Youth, but she has taken on some new responsibilities with another research project here at Cornell.) Vanessa will now be your point of contact for training registration, so you will be hearing from her now and then. She can be reached at email@example.com or 607-255-8790.
Please join me in welcoming Vanessa to the ACT team!