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College of Human Ecology

Mailey, Wiles receive engagement grants for projects to promote healthy families

Monday, September 21, 2015

Two College of Human Ecology faculty members have received 2015 Engagement Incentive Grants: Emily L. Mailey, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, and Bradford Wiles, assistant professor and extension specialist in the School of Family Studies and Human Services.

Only five of the grants from the provost and the Center of Engagement and Community Development were awarded.

Mailey will lead a study on “InDependent: Creating a healthy, thriving community of military spouses.” She will develop a web-based program to serve the needs of military spouses, an often underserved population in the military.

Her team will work on a 12-week curriculum that features at home workouts, meal and activity planners and a discussion board. All components will promote healthy behaviors to strengthen the military family. The aim is to enroll 200 local military spouses.

The web-based program will promote teams of 5-8 group members and a team captain. The purpose is to develop leadership and cooperation. The individual and group objectives “provide instrumental and emotional support to each other, and ultimately work together to achieve collective health improvement,” said Mailey.
Long-term, Mailey plans to extend the reach of support beyond the boundaries of Fort Riley.

Wiles is involved with “Tap To Togetherness: Community‐based participatory research using kinesthetic learning among families and their young children.”

Also leading the project are Julie L. Pentz, assistant professor in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance, and Janice Schroeder, parent educator, Parents as Teachers.

They hope to build positive family relationships with tap dancing for children ages one to pre-kindergarten and their parents. Pentz will host the bi-weekly sessions.

The children and parents learn tap dance step by step. The interactions are the basis for new thinking and learning about parenting.

There will also be an online presence for families to continue to grow outside of the tap studio. Towards the end of the project, there will be options to submit feedback to discover what did and did not work in terms of positive family interaction.

Pentz anticipates positive outcomes as parents “engage with their children with specific, evidence‐based guidance on facilitating positive learning and social outcomes for children.”

This article was posted on Monday, September 21, 2015, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services, Kinesiology.