Extension and Outreach

TeleOutreach/Extension Workgroup

The TeleOutreach Extension Workgroup includes partnerships with the TeleOutreach Center, University of Minnesota Extension, the MN Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (MNLEND) fellowship program, and community stakeholders. The workgroup holds the following goal, to develop bidirectional relationships across Minnesota so that children, youth, and families across the state are better included in supports, services, training, technical assistance, and research at the Masonic Institute of the Developing Brain at the University of Minnesota.

To address this goal, the workgroup has the following aims: 1) development of a community mentorship and training program, and 2) development of satellite site locations to provide teleoutreach equipment and support to children, youth, and families in Greater Minnesota.

About the community fellows mentorship program:

Together with the MNLEND fellowship program, medium-term trainees will form pairs to co-develop training and technical assistance resources to support their communities, to help families and providers understand how to support child and adolescent development and mental health well-being and inclusion of children and adolescents with disabilities or behavioral health needs in community programming.

Seeking 2022-23 UMN Extension Educator Fellows for Community Dyad Mentorship program

Downloadable flyer with all the program details

Three UMN Extension Educators will be selected to develop telehealth training with a mentor on topics related to supporting children, youth and families with developmental or mental health needs in your region. All training materials and resources will be personalized to serve the unique and varied needs of your community area. Priority is given to projects that will partner, co-discover, and co-develop with rural and/or urban communities.

Applications are brief and open! The deadline is extended to Friday, November 18, 11:59 pm. Notification of acceptance will occur by December 1, 2022

To apply, fill out the form here!

Meet the Community Fellows

Infant mental wellness dyad

Cari Michaels

Cari Michaels is a public health educator who works in partnership with leaders across campuses and community organizations to promote mental well-being. For over 25 years, she has served in community and university settings to strengthen families and children. Her work has brought her to rural health centers, urban crisis agencies, and many projects and partnerships in higher education. Cari holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a self-designed undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in public health and child development.

Through strong community engagement, Cari creates educational curricula, interdisciplinary training events, and long-term partnerships that address social determinants of health and promote equity. She is passionate about addressing the needs of parents of young children and using socio-ecological approaches to educate about mental wellness. Currently, she serves on the University of Minnesota Presidents Initiative for Student Mental Health (PRISMH). As a LEND fellow, Cari aims to strengthen services and education offered to pregnant and new parents as they navigate such issues as mental well-being, self-care, trauma, and isolation.

Lauren Moberg

Lauren Moberg is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Specialist. She currently works as the Infant and Early Childhood Director at the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health.  She also provides mental health consultation and reflective consultation to professionals working with or on behalf of infants and young children and their families/caregivers. 

Creating college & career pathways for youth with disabilities (U of M Campus Immersion program) dyad 

Jenny Cable

Jenny Cable is a 4-H Extension Educator with the Center for Youth Development where she supports youth, families and volunteers in Ramsey County. Prior to 4-H, Jenny worked at the YMCA of the North where she spent a number of years providing leadership for youth programs focused on addressing health inequities. She completed her undergraduate degree in journalism and environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Born in Wisconsin, Jenny now resides in North Saint Paul with her husband, two children, and two furry companions.

Jenny is grateful for the opportunity to connect and learn alongside others engaged in the MNLEND program. As a parent of a child with Down syndrome, Jenny is hopeful she can find intersections between her lived experiences as a mom and her current role as an educator. She is passionate about equipping leaders and volunteers in the county with the skills and knowledge to create welcoming and inclusive spaces for young people to feel valued and to feel a sense of belonging in 4-H. Through the MNLEND program, she hopes to broaden her knowledge of neurodevelopmental disabilities, identify and address some of the barriers that exist for individuals with disabilities in accessing 4-H programs and services, gain leadership skills through interdisciplinary collaboration, and continue her growth as an advocate for her son and other young people with disabilities. 

Courtney Hess

My name is Courtney Hess and this is my tenth year teaching. I currently work at Mounds View High School as a work coordinator. My previous teaching experiences include working at St. Anthony Village High School and Project SEARCH, Fairview Lakes through Forest Lake Public schools. I have my developmental cognitive, autism spectrum, and Work Based learning teaching licenses.

I am an adjunct professor at Augsburg University where I teach two courses (behavior management and a transition class) to undergraduate and graduate learners. I have had the wonderful opportunity of working at Down Syndrome Camp through the Down Syndrome Foundation as well as Camp Hand In Hand through the Autism Society at Camp Knutson in Crosslake, Minnesota. I was also a social skills instructor through the Autism Society classes. This school year, I was nominated as a candidate for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

I believe that our world is a better place when we include people of all backgrounds and abilities in our communities and workforces. I owe the start of my career to my good friend from high school who loves thrift stores, McDonalds coffees, and is diagnosed with a developmental disability. I love hanging out with my three kids Eli and Lainey, 2 years old, and Elizabeth, 5 years old, and my husband.

Employment for neurodiverse youth

Cassandra Silveira

Cassandra Silveira (she/hers) is an Extension Educator in the Center for Family Development, where she is the state program coordinator for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). EFNEP is a federally-funded program through USDA | NIFA that promotes nutrition education through a paraprofessional model to limited-resource families and children in all 50 states and U.S. territories. In that role, she provides leadership and development to further the mission of the program, expand audience reach, and increase impact. Cassandra is a registered dietitian and has earned her master’s degree in public health nutrition. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Human Resource Development in the department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development.

As the parent of a young autistic adult who will soon enter the workforce, she is acutely aware of the lack of educational services available after age 21, as well as the high unemployment rate in this population. Through her MNLEND fellowship, she will explore employment training programs that result in meaningful and dignified employment for those with an autism diagnosis as well as filling a need for employers.

Joy Kieffer

Joy Kieffer is a lifelong educator, Bachelor of Science in Education from university of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Master’s Degree in Special Education from Mankato State University, Sixth Year Certification in Education Administration from University of Minnesota- Mankato. She taught in general education and special education from 1979- 1989, and worked as a Special Education Coordinator and then as a Director of Special Education Services until she retired in 2015 (to care for and serve as guardian/conservator her son who sustained a traumatic brain injury.) Currently, Joy Kieffer is the Executive Director for Mind Shift, a 501(c)3 whose mission is providing sustaining employment for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Mind Shift develops strategic business partnerships with companies in Fargo, ND and surrounding areas, Minneapolis, MN and surrounding areas, Milwaukee, MN and surrounding areas, and Denver, Co and surrounding areas. As a non-traditional staffing business, Mind Shift recruits and works with candidates to prepare them to be valuable resources for the Mind Shift business partners. Currently, Mind Shift has brought talent to manufacturing, tech, insurance, shipping, and non-clinical hospital and research businesses. Mind Shift, a 501(c)3 providing sustaining employment for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Upcoming training and engagement events 

Coming soon! 

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