Winter 2019 Newsletter

Winter 2019 Newsletter

Feb 12, 2019


Table of Contents

Power of the Purse Fundraiser – March 31st!

Financial Solutions DMP Repays Over $5 Million in 2018

Memory Cafés Support Individuals with Memory Loss

Play Therapy: It Really Works!

Next Generation Council Shines at Taste of the Valley

FamilyMeans Logo

FamilyMeans Program IconsSave the Date May 19th for Youth Bike Program Fundraiser

Power of the Purse Fundraiser – March 31st

For the 11th year, FamilyMeans is hosting the Power of the Purse fundraiser to support our diverse programming. This event brings together over 300 women for brunch, mimosas, a silent auction of beautiful purses and a short program.

The silent auction is made up of unique purses, bags, and specialty items. These items are donated by generous individuals and businesses and help to make the event a success while supporting FamilyMeans! Are you interested in donating an item or funds to purchase an item for the auction? Check out our wish list and see how you can help!

Power of the PurseWe need your help with the silent auction!
View our wish list here!

Jane WhitlockThe keynote speaker at the event will be Jane Whitlock. Jane is a trained end-of-life doula who provides support and guidance to individuals and families as they prepare for a death. She will speak about her own experience as a caregiver to her husband as he battled kidney cancer and eventually lost his life, and how she found herself in her current role as an end-of-life doula. Although a somber topic, Jane will bring laughter, joy, and uplifting guidance as she shares her journey. Leaving the attendees of Power of the Purse with a new appreciation of life.

This year, the Power of the Purse will be held at the stunning JX Venue in the heart of Stillwater. With brunch catered by Lake Elmo Inn, over one hundred beautiful purses and a gathering of community friends, you can be sure to have a wonderful time. Tickets purchased before March 1st will receive an early bird discount. Tickets are selling quickly so be sure to purchase soon if you are interested in attending!

Click here to purchase tickets!

Financial Solutions DMP Repays Over $5 Million in 2018

Unexpected bill? We can help.

Home mortgages, medical bills, credit card payments, car payments, student or personal loans are all dragging more and more Americans into debt. This debt leaves many people feeling stressed and hopeless. FamilyMeans Financial Solutions offers resources to individuals and families to help pull them out of debt and get back to happy.

The FamilyMeans Debt Management Program (DMP) supports clients in resolving credit problems and repaying debts while assisting creditors in receiving the money owed to them. Using a structured debt repayment plan may reduce interest rates, stop late and over-limit fees, lower monthly payments, and pay off debts in fewer than 5 years. In 2018, FamilyMeans DMP helped 1,171 families pay off $5 million of debt.

I’ll be debt free in February, and I paid my credit card off too. My credit score has gone up over one hundred points!
-Debt Management Program Client

Don’t let debt rule you. Visit to learn more about Financial Solutions and begin your journey towards financial freedom!

Memory Cafés Support Individuals with Memory Loss

Over 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Yet, many that are living with the disease and their caregivers are unaware of the resources available to support them as they navigate life with memory loss. FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging has many resources for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers, including support groups, informational sessions, caregiver coaching and consultation, in-home and group respite, and Memory Cafés.

The Memory Café concept is quickly spreading across the United States. These cafés are community social gatherings for those with memory loss and their care partner. Hosted in a public space, they provide participants opportunities to engage in open conversation about everything from the weather to struggles with memory loss. One FamilyMeans memory café participant said, “The Memory Café gives us a chance to have conversations about dementia, but also allows us to have conversations NOT about dementia.”

FamilyMeans offers four different Memory Cafés each month. In 2018, over 100 individuals found support, had fun, and left feeling good after their visit with others at a Memory Café. To learn more about these cafés or any of the other memory loss support services that FamilyMeans Caregiving and & Aging provides please contact us at 651-439-4840 or visit

Memory Cafe

Play Therapy: It Really Works!

There is more evidence now than ever that children need play in order to live healthy lives, and play therapy is improving children’s mental health and overall well-being across the world. However many question, what is play therapy and how does it differ from average play? In celebration of National Play Therapy Week, February 3 – 9, FamilyMeans would like to explore these questions with you.

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is an effective and creative approach compared to the traditional sense of counseling and therapy. Designed to better communicate with children, play therapy utilizes their language, play! Research shows that children are unable to express their thoughts and feelings the way a mature adult would. Typically, they are better able to express themselves and their emotions nonverbally through play and art. Play Therapists are trained to recognize themes in play, promote emotion regulation, self- control, and mastery. Play therapy provides children with the skills to cope with stresses, thoughts, and feelings that may otherwise be difficult for them to overcome.

Why is Play Therapy Effective?

When placed in the right therapeutic environment, and with a good therapist relationship, a child will gravitate towards acting and working through tough problems that cannot be verbally expressed. Giving the child an outlet to make progress and explore emotions is essential for the mental health of the child. Providing good mental health habits when the child is developing will help them into adulthood.

What Makes Play Therapeutic?

It is important to remember that therapeutic play is very different from regular play. Play therapy is all about the relationship between the child and the therapist. This safe, encouraging relationship can be beneficial to the child. Play is also instinctive, sensory, perceptual, and potentially symbolic. In play, tangles of deep emotions and impulses are unraveled. Allowing a greater understanding and insight of the child’s world from their perspective.

Meet FamilyMeans Play Therapist Leah Koenigs, MA, LPCM

Leah KoeningsLeah specializes in Experiential Play Therapy, utilizing the child’s language of play to process and explore the child’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. She believes play therapy provides children with the therapeutic experience they deserve.

In addition, she enjoys working with children, early adolescents, and parents through various other theoretical approaches as they best meet the needs of each individual.

Contact Leah to schedule an appointment or get more information about play therapy by calling 651-439-4840 or visiting

Next Generation Council Shines at Taste of the Valley

Next Gen Taste of the ValleyNext Gen Taste of the Valley

Each year Stillwater Noontime Rotary and the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce host a delicious and impactful evening with the Taste of the Valley event. On January 24, Guests were invited to try samples of popular dishes from local restaurants, participate in a raffle, silent and live auctions, and place their vote for their favorite restaurant. This year, 13 local restaurants battled it out for the bragging rights that come with being named Taste of the Valley Voter’s Choice. Proceeds from this event supported two spotlight charities, FamilyMeans and Tubman.

FamilyMeans Next Generation Council members, Sebastian Hearne, Marissa Lucio, Birgitte Nielsen, and Riley Watson represented FamilyMeans at this event. They had the opportunity to speak with the 200+ guests about FamilyMeans programming, help sell raffle tickets, and mingle with guests.

One attendee said, “As a Rotarian, I love to see young people getting involved and helping the community! Having the FamilyMeans Next Gen members at the event was great!”

FamilyMeans is grateful for the funds raised for our Day Out! program at Taste of the Valley. This support will provide materials for crafts, music, games, treats, beverages, staff time and even special guest visitors at our weekly group respite program!

What is the Next Generation Council?

The Next Generation Council (Next Gen) is a group of young volunteers, ages 20-40, who have an interest in learning about non-profit boards, philanthropy, and want to give back to their local community. Sometimes referred to as a “junior board”, members of Next Gen assist in planning and executing the goals of FamilyMeans.

How can I get involved?

We are looking for new Next Gen Members! Do you know someone that may be interested? Contact Melena at to learn more and apply.

FamilyMeans Board of Directors 2018-2019

Elizabeth McGinley, Chair | Brian Gunderson, Vice Chair | Kristin Kroll, Secretary | Cary Stewart, Treasurer
Johan Nielsen, Past Chair | Charles Bransford, MD
Brad Hallett | Heidi Hubbard, MD | Lynn Ogburn | Donald Schuld
Linda Skoglund | Susannah Torseth | Josh Zignego | Arba-Della Beck, President

Contact Melena at or 651-789-4029 if you would like to be added to our electronic newsletters mailing list.