Small changes for financial security

John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 12, 2018

Small change can mean a lot more than nickels and dimes. In terms of financial security, making even a small change can have a big impact over time. That’s the point of “Small Change: Building Financial Security.” Human Sciences extension faculty and specialists in family finance teach this new game-based, personal financial management course for educators and other school personnel, and city and county employees. Did you know?

  • The blended course includes one in-person class followed by self-paced online learning. Participants choose from lessons covering finance fundamentals, insurance, investing and retirement planning. The course uses game-based learning principles so people can tailor their learning to their own interests and needs.
  • Participants who complete the course can improve personal knowledge and skills. Educators also can prepare themselves to teach financial literacy, a key component of the Iowa Core 21st Century Skills and Social Studies for grades K-12. The course connects them with vetted curricula, resources and school-based programs for elementary, middle and high school levels.
  • Human Sciences is offering the course with a two-year grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Key partners include the State Library of Iowa, Iowa State Education Association and Iowa Public Employee Retirement System.

Cynthia Needles Fletcher, professor and extension resource management specialist, leads the project. In the grant’s first year, her team conducted focus group interviews and developed the curriculum. They piloted the course this summer with a group of teachers, and this fall and winter are offering it throughout the state.

Goodbye … and welcome

In October, we said goodbye to the following individuals:

  • Katie Diemer, Bremer County youth coordinator
  • Marisol Virgen-Axtell, Buena Vista County food and nutrition program assistant
  • Holly Frerk, Pocahontas County program coordinator
  • Kyle McClure, Davis County office assistant
  • Loralye Wibben, Lyon County office assistant
  • Stephanie Knox, Davis County program and NEST coordinator
  • Raquel Juarez, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Maria Regalado, extension program assistant I, Human Sciences
  • Cynthia Kendall, program coordinator III, Community and Economic Development

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Theresa Goode, Monroe County Family Matters coach/coordinator
  • Tammy James, Union County CACFP program coordinator
  • Linda Severson, Winnebago County office assistant
  • Ronda Morrett, Lucas County youth outreach educator
  • Mari Melvin, Davis County program coordinator
  • Lynn Bruess, Chickasaw County office assistant
  • Katlyn Fell, Winnebago County youth coordinator
  • Brenda Streeter, Clarke County program coordinator
  • Katie Goodell, Dickinson County ag program coordinator and office assistant
  • Rebecca Heckert, Story County office assistant
  • Billie Koester, communications manager I, Advancement
  • Bobbi Minard, program coordinator I, 4-H Youth Development
  • Doug Gass, extension program specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources

More notes

  • On Nov. 6, Kossuth County voters passed the Extension Referendum, making Kossuth the 100th Iowa extension district to do so. Passing the measure will increase resources available to the local council for extension work in the county.
  • The next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” workshop is Nov. 16 in the Extension 4-H Building on campus in Ames. Registration is open.
  • Please consider making a gift to Excellence in Extension. Your contributions help to improve and enrich the quality of ISU Extension and Outreach education as you support your extension colleagues. For more information, contact Alison Boelman,
  • The deadline to complete Structured for Success Survey 1 is noon, Nov. 19. Your responses will be confidential and your identity will be anonymous. The Structured for Success Committee will use the aggregated survey results to better address the committee’s primary objectives.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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