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4-H program supports youth with learning disabilities

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0997_12_003.jpgNigel Gannon, 4-H's State Healthy Living Program Specialist, recently co-presented Teaching Public Speaking Skills to Dyslexic Learners at the 41st Annual Everyone Reading Conference at New York University. The session described a successful and replicable model for schools to use in preparing students for formal and informal public speaking challenges. His co-presenters were John Simms, Reconstructive Language Teacher, and Kathleen N. Rose, Reconstructive Language Department Chair, of The Gow School. Kathy is a former 4-H volunteer, which led her to reach out to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) -Erie County to develop a partnership. The Gow School in South Wales, NY serves students with dyslexia and learning disabilities. Gannon connected with Simms and Rose through Erie County's 4-H Public Presentations program, which is under the stewardship of Angela Northern and Teraisa Buratto.

Angela Northern, Regional 4-H Research Specialist in Erie County, wrote the Public Presentation program as a six-lesson series to provide guidance to staff at the Gow School in supporting students to systematically develop a public presentation. The series uses existing 4-H resources to build skills in developing and presenting illustrated talks and demonstrations. The expertise of Gow staff in the area of dyslexia and other language disorders allows them to support their students in using 4-H resources to develop their skills and then to participate in the county-level 4-H Public Presentation events without additional modifications. All students from Gow give a county-level public presentation in the winter. When the top 15% of county 4-H presenters are invited to the Western District Public Presentation event in the spring, there have always been representatives from the school who have qualified. The NYS 4-H Public Presentation event resumed in 2013, and Gow School students once again were represented among those who qualified. This year the state event will be held on Saturday, May 17th, in Morrison Hall on the Cornell campus. If you are interested in participating as an evaluator, please contact Nigel Gannon directly. Using this model, and with campus resources and partners in The Disabilities Institute, NYS 4-H is preparing an initiative focused on supporting county educators in their work with behaviorally and/or intellectually challenged students.

Nigel Gannon is the Healthy Living Program Specialist for New York State 4-H Youth Development. Nigel joined the 4-H State Office team in June 2012. In this position, and in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension educators and volunteers, Nigel is promoting a holistic view of health that supports healthy eating, active living, thriving in adolescence, and social-emotional wellness. Nigel has twenty years of experience in education and youth development as an educator, advisor/mentor, and researcher. He earned his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago with a focus on adolescent mental health, secondary education, and urban sociology. He remains a kid at heart.

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Annual NY 4-H conference features cross-center connections

(0) Comments  |   Tags: 4-H,   ACT for Youth,   CCE,   Janis Whitlock,   Jutta Dotterweich,   Nancy Schaff,   Nigel Gannon,   Stephen Hamilton,  

The Annual New York State Association of Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Educators Conference was held October 15-17, 2013 in Lake Placid, NY. This year's theme was Go for the Gold: Make the Best Better at Work, Home and Play. Over 73 individuals who work in the area of 4-H youth development in New York state attended.

Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock

New York State 4-H Youth Development is housed in the BCTR and this event brought together researchers from projects across the center, including:

  • The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell Program on Self-Injury and Recovery. Her talk, Adolescent Wellbeing: Setting the Stage for a Well-lived Life, emphasized the importance of resilience, gratitude, empathy, openness, and integrity as keys to a joyful life. Whitlock tied these concepts in with working with adolescents, encouraging those who work with youth to be invested and engaged in order to effect positive changes in the lives of young people.
  • Stephen Hamilton, BCTR Associate Director for Youth Development, and P.I. of Cornell Youth in Society, and Angela Northern gave a workshop on Supporting 4-H Volunteer Leaders
  • Jutta Dotterweich of ACT for Youth gave a workshop, A New Youth Development Curriculum

New York State 4-H staff presented the following workshops:

  • 4-H Common Measures: What, Why and How - Nigel Gannon, State Healthy Living Program Specialist
  • 4-H Connects Kids to Nature - Nancy Schaff, State STEM Program Specialist
  • Linking Healthy Living Programs and Careers in Health Professions - Nigel Gannon
  • Citizen Science in 4-H - Nancy Schaff
  • National 4-H Science e-Academy - Nancy Schaff

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Gannon delivers training, “Risk and Thriving in Adolescence”

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On February 12, 2013, Nigel Gannon (4-H NY State Healthy Living Program Specialist) presented a training to 60 social workers, school counselors, and teachers who work with youth in Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison counties. His presentation, Risk and Thriving in Adolescence: Understanding and Supporting Youth Decision-Making, was part of Cornell Cooperative Extension's annual training event, "Connecting with Kids."

In his talk, Gannon addressed why adolescents take risks and what communities can do to help keep them safe. The interactive presentation highlighted current research about adolescent risk-taking and ways to support youth approaching or passing through this stage of development. Gannon also reviewed a training tool recently created by NY State 4-H educators to develop a safety net that offers services, opportunities, and support to developing youth. In addition, the presentation addressed the social-emotional needs of youth and adolescents with suggestions for promoting wellness in this area.

Risk and Thriving in Adolescence: Understanding and Supporting Youth Decision-Making was based on the work of the Risk and Thriving in Adolescence Program Work Team (PWT), a group of Cornell Cooperative Extension and 4-H educators, campus faculty, and external stakeholders who meet to assess and direct programming. This PWT is co-chaired by ACT for Youth's Jutta Dotterweich. The Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior's Janis Whitlock serves as its faculty advisor.

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4-H Adds four new staff members

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Katie Donnan, is a former 4-Her, and Cornell class of 2012 graduate. who joined the NY state team this week and will be with 4-H full-time throughout the summer before she shifts her focus to earning a masters degree in Agriculture and Biology Education.

Allison Dywer is a first-year Policy Analysis and Management doctoral student, who will work as a 4-H research assistant during the summer. Her focus will be on reviewing research articles on Youth Development.

Nigel Gannon earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and will be joining 4-H June 18th as the Healthy Living Specialist. Nigel’s experience includes serving as a H.S. teacher and as an evaluator for community and school-based programs that serve children and youth.

Kary Young is the new part-time 4-H Program Assistant. One of Kary’s responsibilities is to serve as the state liaison for 4-H Volunteers, which includes updating and maintaining the Handbook. With experience working with faculty and researchers to create curriculum for children, youth, and women she is a welcome addition to the state team.


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