Family & Food











In partnership with Iowa State’s College of Human Sciences, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach engages you through research-based education, empowering you to live your best life. Our education helps you become closer to family, raise healthy children, talk with your teens, improve relationships, enjoy a lifetime full of memories, save more money, live a healthy life, have access to trusted resources, and care for yourself and others. We invite you to join us in person, virtually, or on-line!

Family & Relationships

These programs are designed to enhance relationships, strengthen networks and develop resilient Iowans.

Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14

An evidence-based parent, youth and family program; participants build communication skills, increase family bonding, and learn to solve problems together.

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Our Bookshelf

Prepare your preschooler to read through fun activities you can do at home. This program is available in English and Spanish.

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Healthy Baby Showers

Receive important information about pre-natal nutrition and how to support your baby's development during pregnancy. Scroll down this page for more information.

Small Talk for Early Literacy

Did you know? Reading to your baby can help build literacy skills and language development in very young children. Create a rich language environment for your child. Scroll down this page for more information. 

Early Childhood Education and Training

ISU Extension has resources for child care providers. Learn about creating safe, healthy environments to promote learning at your child care center or for children in your care. 

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ACT Raising Safe Kids

Have you ever wondered if you are on the right path when parenting your children? If you would like to strengthen your parenting skills with children birth to age 8, join other parents and caregivers to learn about positive parenting practices that help create stable, safe, healthy, and nurturing environments and relationships.

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What About Me? My Wellbeing

Enhance your wellbeing and quality of life through learning how to make time for yourself, build relationships, and improve physical and financial health. 

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Question. Persuade. Refer

Learn three steps to help save a life from suicide in this training. Available in both English and Spanish.

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The Science of Parenting

Find tips and strategies for handling everyday and challenging parenting moments on the Science of Parenting blog and weekly podcast!

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Financial Wellness

Financial wellness education helps you take control of your financial security.

Small Change: Building Financial Security

Learn to make more informed decisions about financial management, and learn small actions that can make a difference. This class is designed for city and county employees, and educators or other school personnel. 

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Your Money, Your Future: Making Ends Meet

Learn to set financial goals and make your money work for you.

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Writing Your Retirement Paycheck

It's never too soon to start planning for your financial future. Learn how health insurance, inflation, required minimum distributions, and taxes will impact your retirement paycheck.

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More financial education and resources from ISU Extension are available here

Food & Nutrition

Health starts from the inside out. Education on food and nutrition sets the tone for overall health.

Kids in the Kitchen

Info coming soon!

Buy. Eat. Live Healthy

Our educators teach you how to eat well on a budget. Learn about nutrition, cooking, how to manage your grocery budget, and live an active lifestyle.

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ServSafe® Certification

Learn best practices in food handling and safety through this certification course for food service managers or employees.

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Preserve the Taste of Summer

More fresh garden produce than you can eat? Learn to preserve food safely through canning, freezing, and drying. 

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Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Cook healthy and delicious meals the family will love - and stick to your budget! Spend Smart. Eat Smart. has resources to help with meal planning, and tons of great recipe ideas!

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Mental Health Resources

You can count on Polk County Extension and ISU Extension and Outreach to provide reliable, research-based resources to guide and support all Iowans of any age during challenging times. Whether it's managing stress, coping with unemployment, or learning to recognize the warning signs of suicide, we're here for you now. Always.


Farm and Ranch Wellbeing
Stress: Taking Charge

Disaster Recovery

Mental health resources specifically for times of disaster or crisis.



Iowa Concern 1-800-447-1985
A confidential, free resource answered 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, aimed to support Iowans with legal, finance, stress, and crisis/disaster concerns. Language interpretation available. Dial 711 for TTY/TDD.

  • 24/7 Phone Support: Trained staff take your calls via the toll-free hotline.
  • Email an Expert: Send your questions related to legal issues, finances, stress and crisis or disaster to our staff.
  • Live Chat: One-on-one, secure communication through typed text with a stress counselor.

AnswerLine 1-800-262-3804
Information and resources for consumers with home and family questions. Toll-free Monday through Friday, 9 am-12 noon and 1-4 pm.

  • 1-800-735-2942 (Relay Iowa phone linkage for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals)
  • Email an Expert: Send your home and family questions to our trained staff.

Healthy Baby Showers

You're invited to a Healthy Baby Shower for expecting mothers, hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach in Polk County and Nutrition 4 Young Children. Healthy baby showers are available in English and Spanish.

Learn about pregnancy and nutrition from an ISU Extension and Outreach health educator to give your baby the best start possible. Participants will receive a backpack full of baby gifts after attending a virtual or in-person shower. 

For more information or to register, contact our staff. Registration is intended for expecting mothers who are residents of Polk County with limited resources.


2023 showers for English speakers are tentatively scheduled 7:00-8:00 p.m. for:

  • February 23, 2023 (virtual) 
  • May 10, 2023 (in-person) 
  • August 16, 2023 (in-person)
  • November 15, 2023 (virtual) 


2023 showers for Spanish-speakers are scheduled 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.:

  • February 16, 2023 (virtual) 
  • May 3, 2023 (in-person) 
  • August 9, 2023 (in-person) 
  • November 1, 2023 (virtual)



Asista a un “Baby Shower” Saludable en español, para mujeres embarazadas, organizado por ISU Extension, en asociación con Nutrition 4 Young Children.
¡Aprenda sobre la nutrición prenatalcon un educador de salud de extensión de ISU para darle a su bebé el mejor comienzo posible! Los participantes se reunirán a través de computadora o en persona. Después del “Baby Shower,” todos los participantes recibirán una mochila "Healthy Baby" llena de regalos con valor de  $100, de Nutrition 4 Young Children.
Para más información o para inscribirse, póngase en contacto con Rosa Gonzalez, 515-490-2298,
Baby Showers - Español
Los “Baby Showers” de 2023 para hispanohablantes están programadas de 7:00 a 8:00 pm:

16 de febrero (virtual) 
3 de mayo (en persona) 
9 de agosto (en persona) 
1 de noviembre (virtual) 


Contact us


Cassie Odland 
Family Wellbeing and Nutrition Educator 



Rosa Gonzalez
Human Sciences Specialist, Family Wellbeing 

Small Talk for Early Literacy

adult reading to a baby.

Yes, you can read to babies! Through “Small Talk,” Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Polk County is helping parents build literacy skills in very young children. 

“Small Talk” is a series of free classes for parents of children up to 30 months of age. The community-based program shows parents how they can create a rich language environment to help their child’s brain develop. During the classes, parents receive direct instruction, watch educational videos and participate in small group discussions. Then they take what they learn in class, and practice at home.

Check out our upcoming session!

Contact us

Michelle Schott
Family Life Educator
(515) 957-5785