Entering the New Year, those searching for a new interest or searching for new profound knowledge can take full advantage of the UFM Community Learning Center’s new opportunities this Spring.
Executive Director Linda Teener, of the UFM Community Learning Center, tells KMAN there are several classes coming up. Highlighting the importance of protecting your security, three different cyber-security classes are being offered through Zoom: Protecting your online identity, Web browsing & E-mail security, and Using & Being secure with your phone.
“It seems like increasingly, we’re hearing about problems with hackers. Maybe not on my particular computer, but on big ones, but it moves down very quickly,” Teener said. “So you want to be aware of what’s going on and protect yourself online. We’ve got a recent graduate of MATC, who has been teaching classes for a while on cyber-security, who’ll be doing these classes for us. So I highly recommend everybody participate in them, just to protect yourself online, on the web and on your phone.”
Teener also mentions another event dealing with professional development, which will be offered online and taught by professionals around the country allowing those seeking additional classes to receive certifications in a number of the areas.
“We’ve got teaching online, we’ve got coding, we’ve got digital marketing, conversational Spanish, some contact tracing classes… You can get certified in that and many, many more, that are not even listed in our catalog,” Teener said. “Generally, it’s three classes to get a certificate in something, there are some you can just take one class, some of them are optional. They’re all non credit, but they’re very professionally done, and we’ve had excellent feedback from those that have taken the classes here locally. And so it gives us a lot of confidence to be able to offer something to the community that is not available otherwise.”
As February approaches, Teener highlights the signups for the Manhattan Community Garden, for both new and returning gardeners, will take place as, ‘it may be cold outside but people are thinking about gardening all the time…’
Two classes will be offered in the month of February on the 6th at 930 a.m. and the 23rd offered at 530 a.m., and one each in March and April with dates yet to be finalized.
“That community garden is designed specifically to let anyone in the community have some space to garden. You can grow whatever you want, assuming that it’s legal, and you can take care of it as though it were your own plot. We’ve got 100-150 plots there that are available for people to garden, you sign up once you get it for the whole year. If you like it and want to continue, then you can have that same plot in the following years,” Teener said. “It’s been a very successful program, and we had last year about 180 families that gardened with us. And we have in the neighborhood of about 250 plots total that are available for people in the community.”
Teener states during the time that you have it, there’s a small fee that’s charged once to rent the plot, and the plot rental goes to cover things like mulch, water, electricity, all the kinds of things that you need to run a community garden.
As many are making new year’s resolutions and want to eat healthier, incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diet, this is a good way to do it, and Teener reminds folks this is available to anyone.
“We have special fees available and scholarships for people in low income areas so that they can participate. We help in every way we can this year, we also got a grant to do some special gift cards and things for gardeners through a COVID program. So we’re working really hard to get the gardens filled, as we don’t like to have plots sitting around empty,” Teener said. “Each family receives a plot and they grow what they want for themselves. It’s not a community garden in the sense that ‘I’m growing it but you can come in and take my tomatoes’; it doesn’t work that way in our community garden, yet it’s fun to walk through because we have people from all different kinds of cultures, who grow things that they’re familiar with, and adapt their own gardening styles to our space. So it’s very interesting to see what people grow and how they go about growing it.”
UFM has two locations for these plots, one at Ninth and Riley Lane, and plots also at Collins Lane, which is about a mile south of town on Manhattan Avenue.
With one foot in the Garden and another with a newly landscaped yard, UFM’s home landscape design class pairs well with those with a green thumb. Taught by Greg Stone of the Riley County Extension, interested parties will learn how to plot out their yard and put in a new landscape that suits their property ‘better’.
“I actually took that class and designed my own landscape that I’ve been very pleased with,” Teener said. “If you don’t have any bushes or plantings around your house, He will help you with that. It’s a good way to plug out and really design your home so that the outside is attractive, as well as the inside. So it’s a great class.”
Additional classes on the horizon deal with the History of Manhattan’s Main Street, coordinated by the Riley County Historical Museum, with a walking tour as available, and topics pertaining to leadership during World War Two, deciphering how the various generals managed obstacles offered by Robert Smith, from the the Fort Riley Museum.
Interesting as all these are, Teener could not wait to announce the joint course sponsored by UFM and Parks and Recreation, called “Development of Youth Performance using Sports Psychology”, a course that is offered by local psychologists and designed for parents, educators, and coaches, who want to learn more about how you can use Mental and Emotional training during early athletic years to improve performance and reduce stress.
There’s no charge for this course, but Teener is asking for donations that would go to either the UFM, or the Parks and Recreation scholarship funds to keep youth engaged in sports activities in the community.
For a full list of events you can visit the UFM website at tryufm.org.