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Does Inclusivity Really Matter? The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Farm-Based Internship Programs

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Current farming demographics in the United States indicate an aging and overwhelmingly white group of farmers, stimulating the need for engaging a younger and more diverse population. There is an

Current farming demographics in the United States indicate an aging and overwhelmingly white group of farmers, stimulating the need for engaging a younger and more diverse population. There is an opportunity to engage these populations through farm-based internship and apprenticeship programs, which are immersive programs on small-scale, sustainable farms. These programs are unique in providing hands-on training, housing, meals, and a stipend in return for labor, presenting a pathway to social empowerment. The potential outcomes of increasing diversity and inclusion in farm programs are absent from the research on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in other work environments, such as the corporate setting. This paper presents the results of a study aimed at determining levels of diversity and inclusion in United States farm-based internship programs, and the viability of these programs as an effective opportunity to engage marginalized young people in farming. The study of 13 farm owners and managers across the U.S. found that the participants are focused on fostering education and training, environmental benefits, and a sense of community in their respective programs. All participants either want to establish, or believe they currently have, an inclusive workplace on their farm, but also indicated a barrier to inclusivity in the lack of a diverse applicant pool. Future recommendations for removing that barrier and involving more young, diverse interns include increased outreach and access to these programs, the use of inclusive language, and further research.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Marvel at The Ordinary: A Community-Centered Gratitude Movement

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This project was generated out of a desire to understand and explore a novel twist on a well-traversed route to happiness. I set out looking for a new perspective on

This project was generated out of a desire to understand and explore a novel twist on a well-traversed route to happiness. I set out looking for a new perspective on fulfillment and found sustainable, everyday joy through gratitude. In doing so, I created a space where a group of people could practice and share gratitude as a community. Gratitude is familiar to most as a feeling, but putting intention behind gratitude turns it into an action, and even a virtue. In fact, Roman philosopher Cicero says, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." I created a Facebook community called Marvel at The Ordinary (MATO) applying principles rooted in the Theory of Change to express this greatest virtue. I found both success and earnest support from others in this novel approach to current gratitude practices. Defined by Dr. Robert Emmons, an expert in the science of gratitude, practicing gratitude is a two-step process: "(1.) affirming goodness in one's life, and (2.) recognizing that the sources of this goodness lie at least partially outside of the self." There is substantial research touting the worth of gratitude journaling, in fact, few things have been more repeatedly and empirically vetted than the connection between gratitude and overall happiness and well-being. Yet there is one facet ubiquitously overlooked in current gratitude research: what happens when gratitude journaling is shared with others? With anecdotal evidence, short-form interview analysis, thematic analysis of journaling lexicon, and a case study on the growth and engagement of Marvel at The Ordinary as a social movement, there is reason to believe that a social media-based community centered around gratitude may support and even enhance the practice of gratitude, which is typically practiced in isolation. It was also found that communities of this sort are highly sought after, based on the engagement within and growth of the Facebook group from 50 to 600+ members in a period of 2 months. MATO set out with the aspirations of creating a community which encourages others to gratitude journal, raising awareness about gratitude journaling, and building a community which fosters empathy, optimism, and awareness in an everyday sense. In each of these goals, overwhelming success was found.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Effect of Social Support on Health Empowerment and Perceived Well-Being in Adults Impacted By Cancer: A Program Evaluation

Description

Background: Cancer impacts the lives of millions of patients, families and caregivers annually
leading to chronic stress, a sense of powerlessness, and decreased autonomy. Social support may improve health empowerment

Background: Cancer impacts the lives of millions of patients, families and caregivers annually
leading to chronic stress, a sense of powerlessness, and decreased autonomy. Social support may improve health empowerment and lead to increased perception of well-being.

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of social support provided by a cancer support agency on health empowerment and perceived well-being in adults impacted by cancer.

Conceptual Framework: The Health Empowerment Theory maintains that perceived wellbeing is the desired outcome; mediated by health empowerment through social support, personal growth, and purposeful participation in active goal attainment.

Methods: Twelve adults impacted by cancer agreed to complete online questionnaires at
baseline and at 12 weeks after beginning participation in social support programs provided by a cancer support agency.
Instruments included: Patient Empowerment Scale, The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS), and The Office of National Statistics (ONS) Subjective Well-Being Questions.

Results: Four participants completed pre and post surveys. An increase was seen in
empowerment scores (pre M = 1.78, SD = 0.35 and post M = 3.05, SD = 0.42). There was no
increase in perceived well-being: SWEMWBS pre (M= 3.71, SD= 0.76), post (M= 3.57, SD=
0.65); ONS pre (M= 7.69, SD= 1.36), post (M= 6.59, SD= 1.52).

Implications: The data showed an increase in health empowerment scores after utilizing social support programs, lending support to the agency’s support strategies. It is recommended that the measures be included in surveys routinely conducted by the agency to continue to assess the impact of programming on health empowerment, and perceived well-being.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05-03