A program that helps Indiana families maintain positive and productive relationships has earned the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists Association’s top award.

The Ann Hancook Award honors Purdue Extension educators and specialists who work together to develop programs that benefit families. This year’s winning team implemented across Indiana the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 - named by the World Health Organization as the most effective substance use and misuse prevention program.

The award was presented during Extension’s annual Professional Development Conference on Thursday (Nov. 2).

For many parents, a child’s early teen years can present new family challenges and opportunities. The Strengthening Families Program works to delay the onset of adolescent substance use, lower levels of aggression in youth, increase resistance to peer pressure, reduce youth conduct problems and improve parenting skills.

The team consists of Deb Arseneau, Health & Human Sciences Educator, Purdue Extension – Newton County; Barb Beaulieu, Human Development Extension specialist in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies; Liz Beiersdorfer, Purdue Extension – Dearborn County Director / Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator; Meagan Brothers, Purdue Extension – Vanderburgh County Director / Health & Human Sciences Educator; Megan Broughton, Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator, Purdue Extension – Washington County; Jay Christiansen, Health & Human Sciences Educator, Purdue Extension – Vigo County; Jan Dougan, Purdue Extension – Dubois County Director / Health & Human Sciences Educator; Peg Ehlers, Purdue Extension – Switzerland County Director / Health & Human Sciences Educator / Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator; Teri Hornberger, Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator, Purdue Extension – Decatur County; Jennifer McGuire, Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator, Purdue Extension – Dubois County; Mandy Medbourn, Health & Human Sciences Educator, Purdue Extension – Pulaski and Starke counties; Joni Muchler, Health & Human Sciences Educator, Purdue Extension – Washington County; Monica Nagele, Purdue Extension – Montgomery County Director / Health & Human Sciences Educator; Amy Nierman, Purdue Extension Southwest District Director; Marcia Parcell, Health & Human Sciences Educator, Purdue Extension – Dearborn County; Angela Rathert, Health & Human Sciences Educator / Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator, Purdue Extension – Jefferson County; Alice Smith, Health & Human Sciences Educator, Purdue Extension – Jasper County; Karenlee Spencer, formerly of Purdue Extension – Parke County; and Abby Sweet, Indiana 4-H Youth Development Educator, Purdue Extension – Montgomery County.

The Hancook Award is named in honor of the late Ann Hancook, a former associate dean of the school of consumer and family sciences at Purdue and assistant director of Purdue Extension. The award is co-sponsored by the Indiana Extension Educators Association and the Alpha Lambda chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, the Extension honor society.

Other awards presented:

Team Award: Purdue Rainscaping Education Team – Purdue team of Laura Esman, Water Quality Program Coordinator, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources; Jane Frankenberger, professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering; Rosie Lerner, consumer horticulturist, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture; Kris Medic, Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator and Community Development Educator for Purdue Extension – Bartholomew County; John Orick, Purdue Master Gardener State Coordinator, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture; and Kara Salazar, Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

Graduate Student Award: Drew Lugar, Department of Animal Sciences.

Early Career Award: Kara Stewart, assistant professor, Department of Animal Sciences.

Mid-Career Award: Ron Lemenager, professor, Department of Animal Sciences.

Career Award: Bob Nielsen, professor, Department of Agronomy.

Leadership Award: Keith Johnson, professor, Department of Agronomy.

Spirit of Extension Award: Kim Polizotto, KRP Agronomic Consulting.