FamilyMeans Newsletter February 2020

FamilyMeans Newsletter February 2020

Feb 13, 2020


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FamilyMeans President, Arba-Della Beck Announces Retirement
U of M Grad Students Evaluate FamilyMeans Virtual Reality Dementia Experience
Learn a bit more about Hannah and Mingyang (U of M Grad Students)
Counseling & Therapy Offers Specialized Services
Financial Solutions Service Highlight - Debt Management Program
Employee Assistance Program Celebrates 35 years!
Landfall Teens Start a Photo Club


FamilyMeans President, Arba-Della Beck Announces Retirement

 24 Years of Leadership, 1996 to 2020

Arba-Della Beck 1996 Headshot Arba-Della Beck 2019 Headshot

 1999 Name Change from Family Service St. Croix to FamilyMeans

 FM name change article photo

 2003 Imagine…Campaign to fund FamilyMeans Main Office Location

 FM Stillwater Building Photo

Three Mergers!  

2000 Consumer Credit Counseling of Minnesota
2004 Rochester Family Services Consumer Credit Counseling
2012 The Center for Grief, Loss, and Transition

 Center Site Photo

 2012 Cimarron Youth Center Campaign to Fund New Site

 Cimarron Youth Ground Breaking     Cimarron Site Photo

 Click here to read the full press release outlining Arba-Della’s many accomplishments and the next steps for FamilyMeans as we search for our next President.


POP Invite  

 Purchase Tickets


VR Glasses

U of M Grad Students Evaluate FamilyMeans Virtual Reality Dementia Experience

In November 2019, FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging launched a hands-on, immersive educational program called Virtual Reality Dementia Experience. In individual or group sessions, users view the world through the perspective of a person living with dementia. Putting on a headset, they embody this person, from diagnosis to late stages. The purpose of this simulation is for caregivers and community members to gain a better understanding of the impact of this disease and build empathy for a person with the diagnosis.

Using virtual reality (VR) technology to educate caregivers and community members is a very new concept. As such, data is still being gathered to confirm the benefits of this type of education. To help show results, FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging has teamed up with graduate students at the University of Minnesota to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using VR to improve understanding and empathy for people with dementia.

These students, Hannah Salen and Mingyang Zheng, helped to craft a survey to measure results and evaluate outcomes. Prior to each VR experience, the participant is asked to complete a survey. This survey asks questions about understanding of a dementia diagnosis and empathy towards individuals who are living with memory loss. When the VR experience is complete, the participant will take the same survey again to measure changes in results.

Although the study is still in process, initial results show clear benefits behind using this VR simulation for dementia education.  Mingyang states “It seems that caregivers really like VR dementia training and provide a lot of positive feedback about the training.”

In just three short months, nearly 350 people have participated in the Virtual Reality Dementia Experience education. Hannah thinks these high participation numbers show that “community members and caregivers are very willing to learn about dementia and have so many questions. People are looking for resources and often don’t know where to start.”

Hannah and Mingyang will continue to evaluate the VR Dementia Experience into the spring. At that time, they will review results and present them to FamilyMeans staff.

If you are interested in participating in an individual or group VR session, please contact Jenny West at or 651-789-4015. 

 Learn a bit more about Hannah and Mingyang

Hannah Salen Headshot

Hannah Salen is in her last year of graduate school at the University of Minnesota. She will be graduating this May with a Master of Public Health degree. After a summer internship with Richfield Dementia Friends, Hannah found a passion for those living with dementia and realized how many people dementia touches. Hannah hopes that all communities become dementia- friendly and encourages community members to ask questions to learn how they can help! She also hopes caregivers ask for help if they need it – mental health is just as important for caregivers as it is for those in their care!

 Mingyang Headshot

Mingyang Zheng is currently pursuing his PhD in Social Work at the University Of Minnesota School Of Social Work. His pursuit of dementia research stems from personal experience. His grandfather was diagnosed with Dementia, and as a result his grandmother and mother became full-time caregivers. Therefore, he knows first-hand the obstacles that those diagnosed with dementia and their caregivers face. Mingyang hopes that community members and caregivers come and participate in the FamilyMeans VR dementia experience. He would love to know what you think!


Brain and Flowers

Counseling & Therapy Offers Specialized Services

FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy programs have been providing care to adults, adolescents, children, families, and couples for 57 years. Our counselors are highly trained and experienced.  They truly enjoy helping people through the struggles they bring to counseling. Counselors provide a safe and open environment to make changes within areas of concern. Counseling experiences are unique to each person as are their situations. There is no “one size fits all” in counseling and our skilled clinicians work with clients to reach their goals.

Because each session is customized to client’s needs, different treatment modalities are helpful in providing the best care. Therefore, many of FamilyMeans’ clinical staff have furthered their knowledge base with extensive training in different Evidence-Based Treatment Modalities. These specialties include:

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TFCBT)
TFCBT is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents/caregivers. Research shows that TFCBT successfully resolves an array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with trauma experiences.

It is important to remember that almost any experience can be traumatic, especially to a child. Many times parents find it hard to distinguish grief reactions from trauma reactions. Click here to learn more about how to recognize trauma in your child.

Peri- or Postnatal Mood Disorders
This type of therapy is beneficial for mothers and fathers who have experienced changes in mood or increased anxiety during pregnancy or after the birth of their child.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a trauma-based therapy that is able to help clients reprocess events from the past, moving negative responses to integrated, helpful learning.  EMDR is most known for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet it is able to treat many other symptoms such as anxiety, grief, and depression.

If you are interested in learning if these specialty therapies are right for you, contact FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy to schedule a consultation at 651-439-4840 or


DMP Graphic


Financial Solutions Service Highlight

Debt Management Program

FamilyMeans Financial Solutions (consumer credit counseling) offers tools and education for people to regain financial stability and reduce unmanageable debt. We support clients through budget and debt counseling, the debt management program, credit report review, and financial education. Our nonprofit program is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Financial Solutions’ largest service area is the Debt Management Program (DMP). This program supports clients in managing credit card or other consumer debt by simplifying payments and reducing stress. In 2019, FamilyMeans Financial Solutions paid off over $5 million of debt for over 1,114 clients.

“I know we’re in good hands with FamilyMeans. Our credit scores have been going up and the phone calls stopped almost immediately. Wish I had done this years ago! I cannot express enough how much weight the DMP has taken off my shoulders! THANK YOU!!”

 The DMP helps you consolidate and lower monthly payments, pay less in interest, stop late and over-limit fees, pay off debt sooner, and improve your credit score.  

How the DMP process works:

1. Minnesota & Wisconsin residents can contact us by phone at 651-789-4014 (toll free 800-780-2890) or by online application at

2. Review your financial situation with one of our Certified Consumer Credit Professionals

3. FamilyMeans partners with you to communicate and negotiate with your creditors

4. Establish a structured payment plan. You make just one monthly deposit and FamilyMeans Financial Solutions distributes the funds to multiple creditors.

5. Pay off debts and learn how to better manage finances! Debt does not mean defeat!

Don’t let debt rule you for another day. Get started with FamilyMeans Financial Solutions DMP and take control of your finances! 


 EAP Graphic

Employee Assistance Program Celebrates 35 years!

In 1985, FamilyMeans established an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Thirty-five years later this program continues to be a valued resource to employers in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, supporting 17 local businesses and over 3,500 employees in 2019.

FamilyMeans EAP provides employees with support in their personal lives so that they can better perform on-the-job. Employers that offer FamilyMeans EAP to their staff are providing access to mental health support, financial solutions services, caregiver support, and legal consultation referral. In addition to services offered to individual employees, FamilyMeans staff also provide all-staff trainings and crisis support.

The Employee Assistance Program has continued to find success after 35 years because benefits continue to be proven! These benefits include improved productivity and employee engagement, better management of workplace stress, decreased absenteeism, fewer workplace accidents, and reduced healthcare costs. 


teen photo club

Landfall Teens Start a Photo Club

FamilyMeans Youth Development participants are given opportunities to explore passions and career opportunities through various programming at Landfall and Cimarron year-round. The type of programming that is presented is driven by the interests of the youth. In fall 2019, a local individual had donated a box full of cameras to FamilyMeans. This box of dusty cameras sparked an interest in Landfall teens, and after some searching, we were connected with Marine on St. Croix resident, Carl Wegener, the founder of

Carl works with students at the Marine Mills Folk School to teach the basics of photography. From terminology to camera settings, Carl’s classes teach kids as young as 10 to take stunning photos. gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to recycle their cameras for use by kids who participate in this program.  Assigning 1:1 cameras allows each student to take a camera home and continue their exploration of photography outside the classroom.

During December and January, teens in FamilyMeans Youth Development program in Landfall learned about photography with Carl. Each Wednesday, Carl volunteers his time to teach the teens about photography. They have learned how to shoot a variety of pictures such as exploring personal perspectives, capturing moving objects, and framing landscapes. The result has been beautiful photos of some of the individuals and scenery in Landfall.

At the end of 2019, the Landfall photo club did a formal photo presentation featuring 31 photos from 13 FamilyMeans Youth Development participants. These photos were matted and displayed in the Landfall Community Center, and may also be featured on the City of Landfall’s website!

The teens have now begun designing an 18-month calendar with the pictures they have taken. They plan to sell this calendars to community members and have a goal to make a profit to fund a fieldtrip to Valley Fair this summer.  The creation and sale of these calendars adds an additional entrepreneurship skillset that helps to further demonstrate the potential career opportunities in the photography field.

Carl is in the process of turning into a non-profit. Until that is established, you can find information about his program here, or click here to see his brochure.

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