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June 2015 Newsletter
Professional Staff Award for Excellence

Congratulations to Linda Tortorelli, Coordinator of The Autism Program (TAP), for winning the College of ACES Professional Staff Award for Innovation and Creativity! Whether it's creating materials for local teachers or providing consultation services to parents, TAP is a critical part of our community, and Linda is one of the driving forces behind it.

Abriendo Caminos Kickoff

The Family Resiliency Center hosted a kickoff reception for Abriendo Caminos on Monday, June 8th in Doris Kelley Christopher Hall. Directed by Drs. Angela Wiley and Margarita Teran Garcia, Abriendo Caminos is a 3.4 million USDA multi-site integrated project that is based on the Abriendo Caminos pilot study. The pilot study, which was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Christopher Family Foundation Food and Family Program, demonstrated an increase in healthy eating behaviors by building on elements of a traditional diet, improving family-meal quality, and increasing physical activity.

The goal of this multi-function integrated project is to implement, adapt, and evaluate the effectiveness of a community workshop-based curriculum to prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy nutrition and life-style behaviors among low income, low literacy Hispanic-heritage families in five different locations: California, Illinois, Iowa, Puerto Rico, and Texas. This project will result in an effective, low-cost obesity prevention intervention (available in both Spanish and English) that can be disseminated by educators and community agency staff across the U.S.

Relationship Building, Needs Assessment, and Healthy Lifestyle Programming

As part of a Community-Based Participatory Research Project (CBPRP), Dr. Henna Muzaffar has helped establish a collaborative relationship between members of the University of Illinois and the Multicultural Community Center (MCC). The MCC is a non-profit organization in Rantoul, Illinois, that provides services in areas of education, cultural arts, recreation, community development, health, and social services to families of Latino workers, as well as to others in the local community. Part of the Health Transitions in Immigrant Families Initiative, which is supported by the Christopher Family Foundation Food and Family Program, the project’s intent is to help build the relationship between the MCC and the University of Illinois and teach healthy eating and nutritional skills to the children and their parents. Click here to learn more about the project and Dr. Muzaffar's work with the CBPRP.

Sprouts at the Market

On Saturday, May 16th, the Family Resiliency Center hosted Sprouts at the Market, a free nutrition and farm linkage program at Urbana's Market at the Square geared toward kids ages 3-8 years old. Based on the FRC's Growing Healthy Habits curriculum, participants were sent on a scavenger hunt to meet local farmers and ask them questions, plant seeds to start their own garden, and create their own cookbook featuring healthy seasonal ingredients. Project Coordinator Elizabeth Villegas loved seeing the families interacting with farmers. "My favorite part is that the kids and families get to learn about what farmers do and how they live. As volunteers, we also get a chance to learn from the farmers as we assist families in asking questions and having open conversations about the hardships and successes of being a farmer."