FamilyMeans Back to School Newsletter

FamilyMeans Back to School Newsletter

Aug 16, 2019


Table of Contents

School-Based Mental Health Staff Introductions

Mental Health Tips for a Successful School Year

Back to School Shopping: Ways to Save

FamilyMeans Youth Development Still in Need of School Supplies!

Memorial Walk for Hope & Healing: Register Today! (September 7)


School-Based Mental Health Staff Introductions

FamilyMeans is excited to introduce three new counselors to our School-Based Mental Health team!

Alex Maas, MA
Stillwater Area High School, ALC & Transitions

Maggie Reyerson, LMFT
Andersen Elementary, EP Rock Elementary, Hudson Prairie Elementary & Hudson Middle School

Jenny Johnson, LPCC
Tartan High School & Oakland Middle School

Along with these three new counselors, we have seven additional therapists returning to 23 total schools in 5 districts across Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Our licensed therapists are specially trained to help students ages 5-18 through life’s challenges – anxiety, depression, suicidal or violent thoughts, academic stresses, relationship troubles, and more. We are looking forward to a healthy and successful 2019-2020 school year!

Rachel Dowling, MA LAMFT
Afton Lakeland & Stonebridge

Nora Eiesland, LMFT
New Richmond High School & Stillwater Area High School

Anne Gettle, MSW, LMFT
Castle Elementary

Cori Hildebrandt, MA LPC
Hudson High School

Kari Kelcher, LMFT
Rutherford Elementary & Stillwater Middle School

Lindsey Sachs, MS
New Richmond Middle School
& Richardson Elementary

Jacob Tone, MS
Lily Lake Elementary &
Lake Elmo Elementary


Mental Health Tips for a Successful School Year

Back to School Mental Health Tips

A new school year should bring lots of excitement and fun for your child. Unfortunately, many times this excitement may also exist with or be replaced by fear, anxiety, and even depression. FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy encourages parents to follow these 10 mental health tips to help your child have a safe and productive school year.

  1. Establish a routine: a consistent, regimented schedule helps to provide structure. Early bedtimes will make for a more restful night’s sleep.
  2. Electronic Free Communication: set aside time to talk to your child without electronics distracting the conversation. Discuss concerns about the school year and what they are looking forward to.
  3. Monitor Social Media: set clear social media expectations such as open accounts and facilitate conversation surrounding what your child is seeing on social media and how it makes them feel.
  4. Foster Positive Relationships: many youth worry about friendships or loneliness. Encourage them to reconnect with a friend before school starts and make plans to sit with each other on the first day back.
  5. Create Homework Strategies: for many, a lot of stress comes from completing homework. Create a plan to complete assignments on time and incorporate homework help into your family’s daily schedule. Check in with teachers regularly to be sure your child is staying on task.
  6. Stay healthy: be sure to encourage your child to stay healthy by washing hands, eating nutritious foods, and getting lots of sleep. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time so you are not tempted to grab the quick and unhealthy options.
  7. Validate fears/anxiety and work on ways to overcome: if your child has fear of starting a new school year be sure to validate those fears by acknowledging that starting something new can be hard but will become easier each day. Attend back-to-school orientations and allow your child to get comfortable in new setting.
  8. Mistakes are okay: many times students feel that they cannot mess up or fail. Discuss that failing is part of life, mistakes are bound to happen, and that together you will move forward and learn from this mistake.
  9. Make things “talkable” at home: create an environment where your kids feel they can bring up thoughts or feelings with which they struggle. The more comfortable they feel bringing up smaller things then the more comfortable they will be to bring up bigger things as they get older.
  10. Have fun: back to school can be stressful for everyone in the family. Make sure to have fun and do things that are enjoyable for everyone. Practice taking turns to pick a family activity in the evening or on weekends.

Additionally, FamilyMeans feels that students of all ages can benefit from visiting with a professional therapist. Sometimes, having someone to talk with or confide in outside of home can help children through life’s challenges in a different way then speaking with a parent or guardian. FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy offers many different types of counseling to meet the needs of each individual: school-based counseling, outpatient counseling, play therapy, individual and family sessions, and support groups. Visit or call 651-439-4840 to learn more about Counseling & Therapy services available to help support your child and family through the coming school year.


Back to School Shopping: Ways to Save

Back to School Shopping

Getting ready to head back to school? On top of the items that schools require each year, students often need clothes, shoes, sports fees, food and more when preparing to resume classes. The costs of these items add up quickly! According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend an average of $669 per child on back to school expenses. FamilyMeans Financial Solutions urges parents to follow these simple tips to help manage these back to school costs.

Prior to Shopping:

Evaluate what you have. 
Many times you will have leftover supplies from previous years that can be used again this year. Check with family and friends to see if they have anything that you can use instead of purchasing new! 

Create a budget and stick to it.
Decide how much money you have to spend and only purchase the essentials. Share your budget and plan with your child and use this shopping trip as a learning experience in how to stick with a budget.  

Establish a shopping plan. 
Do some research on which stores have the best prices and where coupons or discounts can be applied. Create a plan of what you are going to buy at which stores. Many stores such as the Dollar Store, 5 Below, or consignment stores have products at discounted prices! 

While Shopping:

Stay Focused! 
It is easy to gravitate towards flashy items that cost more and are not necessary. Remind your kids (and yourself) that basic items can do the trick and help you stay on budget! After you shop, you can get creative with decorating folders/notebooks! 

Prepare to say no. 
Shopping with your child can be a bonding experience and help them learn ways to save. It can also be more difficult as they may want to purchase items that are more expensive and outside the established budget. Stand your ground and say no to requests outside the budget. 

Shopping within an established budget can be difficult, especially if this is something that you are not use to doing. However, sticking to a budget can help you to save hundreds each year. Working your way to financial freedom is not always easy. FamilyMeans Financial Solutions can help you to establish a budget for your day-to-day needs and help you towards becoming debt free. Contact FamilyMeans Financial Solutions at 651-439-4840 or visit


FamilyMeans Youth Development Still in Need of School Supplies!

School Supplies Needed

FamilyMeans Youth Development serves youth ages 5-18 in the Cimarron manufactured home community in Lake Elmo and the City of Landfall, both eastern suburbs in the Saint Paul/Minneapolis region.

Our free, year-round programming equips youth to learn, thrive, connect and contribute throughout their lives

Each year, local businesses and individuals come together to provide back to school items for over 200 participants of the FamilyMeans Youth Development Programs. For families that may not be able to afford school supplies otherwise, these gifts help to foster success in the upcoming school year. 

Items that we are still looking to gather include: backpacks, 3-inch binders, notebooks, mechanical pencils, pens, calculators, folders, index cards, and other general school supplies. Donations accepted throughout the 2019-2020 school year and can be brought to FamilyMeans Stillwater Location (1875 Northwestern Ave. S, Stillwater, MN 55082).

In addition to school supplies, FamilyMeans Youth Development also is looking for donations to the Angel Fund, which supports students during the academic year. This fund is used to help youth in our programming cover fees or special equipment needed for extracurricular activities, such as, athletic fees and uniforms, driver’s education classes, musical instrument rental, student clubs, music, or art groups. Learn more and donate here. 

Thank you for considering making a donation to FamilyMeans Youth Development program! 


Memorial Walk for Hope & Healing: Register Today!

Memorial Walk

Join us for this special morning hosted by the FamilyMeans Center for Grief & Loss. Celebrate the lives of loved ones we have lost. Share in reflection and remembrance.

Saturday, September 7, 2019
Como Lake at Como Park 

8:00 am Registration
9:00 am Welcome
9:30 am Walk around Como Lake 
10:00 am Short Program

registration information