Human Development & Family Science Programming 

A Matter of Balance 

A Matter of Balance is an award winning program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falls. This program is taught by University of Missouri Extension Specialists and consists of eight, two-hour sessions. The sessions help participants learn how to view falls and the fear of falling as something controllable. There will also be information on how to set realistic goals for increasing activity, as well as how to change their environment to reduce fall risk factors. In general the program promotes exercise to increase strength and balance to help reduce the risk of falls in older adults.

MU Health Sciences and research states that falls are the most common reason for adult emergency room visits. If falls can be prevented, adults can save thousands of dollars in healthcare expenses. Missouri citizens have identified aging and living independently as priorities for educational programming.

To find classes in your area:

Search for “Matter of Balance” on the MU Extension Events Calendar 


Building Strong Families

The Building Strong Families: Challenges and Choices program helps families find their strengths, build on those strengths, and learn skills to create stronger families, improve relationships, and increase communication. The program covers 13 topics and uses hands-on activities to involve participants.

Building Strong Families is based on research showing family members can make significant changes in their behavior by focusing on strengths rather than on problems.

Building Strong Families covers: 

1. Family Strengths  8. Working
2. Communicating  9. Positive Discipline
3. Managing Stress 10. Money Matters
4. Child Self-Care 11. Setting Goals
5. Food and Fitness 12. Consumer Beware
6. Kids and Self-Esteem 13. Healthy Home
7. Balancing Responsibilities  


Focus on Kids 

More than half of all marriages end in divorce, and the majority of these involve children. Conflict between parents, both before and after a divorce, is associated with many negative outcomes in children. The purpose of this workshop is to help parents learn how to nurture and support their children during and after their divorce.

Focus on Kids satisfies the Missouri law that requires parents who are divorcing to attend an educational parenting program. It is conducted in cooperation with Missouri’s circuit courts. 

To see where classes are currently be offered, please visit the Focus on Kids website.


Mental Health First Aid for Adults

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an 8-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 8-hour certification course as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. Program overview

The 8-hour Mental Health First Aid USA course has benefited a variety of audiences and key professions, including primary care professionals, employers and business leaders, faith communities, school personnel and educators, state police and corrections officers, nursing home staff, mental health authorities, state policymakers, volunteers, young people, families and the general public.

Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

To find a local course, visit the Mental Health First Aid USA website.


Stay Strong Stay Healthy - Level 1

Missouri’s SSSH program is designed to increase aging adults’ access to a safe, structured and effective strength training program. Over 8 weeks, participants learn exercises to improve their strength, flexibility and balance. During each session, a prescribed set of 8 upper and lower body strengthening exercises are done along with warm-up and cool-down stretches. Participants are made to feel comfortable regardless of their current fitness level so they can safely participate and gradually build the strength beneficial to health.

SSSH is modeled after the evidenced-based StrongWomen program developed by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science at Tufts University. While the original Tufts program includes only women, University of Missouri Extension has adapted the curriculum to include men.

To find classes in your area:

Search for “Stay Strong Stay Healthy” on the MU Extension Events Calendar 


Stay Strong Stay Healthy - Level 2

The SSSH–Level 2 program was developed in 2009 by a team of MU Extension Specialists to meet the increasing need for a follow-up program to the 8-week SSSH program.

The goal of the SSSH–Level 2 program is to expand the fitness base acquired from SSSH by adding new and more challenging exercises. SSSH–Level 2 is designed to challenge older adults in new and different ways, to help avoid staleness and plateaus, and to improve daily living activities. This 8-week program features exercises using resistance from body weight, hand weights and ankle weights. It also features balance exercises, core exercises, low back exercises and flexibility exercises.

To find classes in your area:

Search for “Stay Strong Stay Healthy” on the MU Extension Events Calendar 


Tackling the Tough Skills 

Tackling the Tough Skills is a program on building life skills. The curriculum includes sections on attitude, responsibility, communication, decision making, problem solving, and preparing for the workplace. Participants will learn basic life skills necessary for a happier, more productive live. They will learn skills needed to find and keep employment.

This curriculum works well with low literacy audiences. It is simple to use and understand. Many hands-on activities are included. This curriculum works well with incarcerated adults, clients of domestic violence shelters and many community action agency clients and DFS clients.


Taking Care of You

The Taking Care of You program was developed to help participants reduce stress levels and improve lifestyle behaviors. Over the eight program sessions, participants learn about concepts and practical strategies they can incorporate into their everyday lives to better deal with life’s challenges and stressors through discussions, mini-lectures and experiential opportunities. Program participants are provided opportunities to practice strategies during the program sessions and are encouraged to use program strategies outside of class.

Taking Care of You is based on concepts and strategies from the evidenced-based group program Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn of University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, as well as research-based concepts and strategies from the field of positive psychology.