Agency Newsletter - August 2021

Agency Newsletter - August 2021

Aug 04, 2021


 FamilyMeans Logo


What's in this issue?

Click link to be taken to full article.

School-Based Mental Health Matching Grant: Support Stillwater Ponies
Counseling & Therapy: Back to School Anxiety Support
Center for Grief & Loss: Memorial Gathering for Hope & Healing
Caregiving & Aging: Dementia Empowerment Services
Youth Development: Summer Fun at Cimarron & Landfall!
Financial Solutions: Debt Repayment Calculator

Gifts in Memory of Arba-Della Beck 
From the Desk of President & CEO, Jim Kroening
Coffee for Sale in Support of FamilyMeans Programming



School-Based Mental Health Matching Grant:
Support Stillwater Ponies

With just weeks to go until the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, the FamilyMeans School-Based Mental Health team is diligently preparing to return to over 20 school buildings in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Hopes, dreams, anxieties, and challenges may all feel more complex as students return to in-person learning, undoubtedly changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our mental health therapists are here to help navigate the complexity of this time.

FamilyMeans therapists have been present in Stillwater Schools since the 1990s. We work with teachers and school staff to provide embedded and collaborative therapeutic support to students through outpatient treatment, crisis intervention, support groups, and education. Even during the pandemic months, over 700 Stillwater Area High School (SAHS) student mental health sessions were conducted either in-person or online.

Our mental health work in the Stillwater Schools receives no funding from District 834. We rely on private foundations, state grants, and donors like you. We use students’ family insurance coverage when available, but no student is turned away from crisis or ongoing outpatient care. Donations also cover the collaborative time spent outside of therapy sessions. Placing therapists directly in the schools reduces barriers and allows young people to get the treatments they need in a familiar and supportive setting. In providing trainings for families and educators we work to de-stigmatize mental health and contribute to a stronger community. And, we know that working in tandem with other school professionals to support the students make the therapeutic process richer. We cannot do this vital work without strong support like yours.

One way we need your help is by supporting the challenge grant to fund therapist time at Stillwater Area High School. Since 2016, FamilyMeans has had a donor match for $10,000 a year to support the mental health services for all school days at Stillwater Area High School. We hope you will consider supporting this initiative. Thank you, and Go Ponies!


 SBMH Donation Button
Ponies Button


Counseling & Therapy: 
Back to School Anxiety Support

As we prepare for the upcoming school year, your child may begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Parents can play a vital role in easing this anxiety and helping to make the back-to-school transition an easy one.
Here are 5 tips from FamilyMeans Counseling & Therapy on how to support your child this fall.

 Let them talk graphic
 don't get frustrated
 spend quality time
 teach ways to cope
 praise accomplishments

 contact familymeans sbmh






 CGL Staff Memorial Walk 2020

Center for Grief & Loss:
Memorial Gathering for Hope & Healing

For over 11 years, the FamilyMeans Center for Grief & Loss (CGL) has held an annual memorial walk to bring together the community for remembrance and reflection.

With public health in mind, we have decided to offer this event in a virtual format in 2021. 

As in the past, this event will include a brief program presented by the CGL staff which includes a candle lighting ceremony, poems, and reading of the names of individuals that we gather to remember. 

In place of the usual walk, we will welcome certified yoga instructor, Dallas Rising, for a gentle guided meditation session and grief ritual.

We hope you can join us for this virtual, live-stream event on Thursday, September 23rd from 7pm-8pm. It is free to participate, with a suggested $10 donation to help support the CGL programming.


        Learn More / Register 



 Belwin Conservancy

Caregiving & Aging:
Dementia Empowerment Services

A new component of our Caregiving & Aging suite of services is programing called Dementia Empowerment (DE). This offering is specifically designed for persons with early-stage dementia or memory loss diagnosis. DE increases awareness of dementia, creates agency for the client, helps to reduce stigma, and builds broader community empathy. (Plus, often while participants are engaged in meaningful programming, their caregivers are given a break.)

One popular DE program is Community Connection (CC) which helps people with early memory loss connect with others and explore new topics.

CC is designed as a short series over 4-6 weeks on varied topics with small group facilitators online or in-person as the activity and public health guidelines allow. So far, series participants have partnered with a naturalist at Belwin Conservancy, learned about birds of prey from the Raptor Center, discovered more about time capsules at Washington County Historic Courthouse, wrote poetry with COMPAS artist Zoe Bird, composed a State Fair tune with songwriter, Ann Reed, and had intergenerational pen pals with FamilyMeans Youth Development participants. Some future topics will include touring rivers and prairies with the Belwin Conservancy and boating down the St. Croix River.

DE also offers a twice-monthly support group, called Journey Together, and one-to-one dementia coaching or consultations. These sessions provide emotional support for a diagnosis along with resource awareness, goal setting, and support system planning. 





 adventure club snail search

 Landfall Mural

Youth Development:
Summer Fun at Cimarron & Landfall 

After a school year of distanced learning, the kids in our Youth Development Program are excited to mask-up and join together in-person this summer for programming at our Cimarron and Landfall sites! Youth from these communities, ages 5-18, are welcome to participate in fun educational activities that foster growth, learning, and exploration.

Kids in our Children’s Programs are having lots of fun in nature so far this summer!

The Animal Adventure Club takes walkable journeys throughout Landfall and to local parks to observe the natural world. Recently, the group went snail hunting and were able to witness these slimy creatures in their habitats. 

The youth have also planted a small garden, and recently reaped the fruits of their labor with some delicious strawberries and their first cucumber!

On-site, kids have participated in 4-H, drama, and craft clubs.

Youth at both sites also have the pleasure of working with an AmeriCorps Volunteer who has provided many new learning opportunities such as math bingo, a spelling scavenger hunt, and more! 

The Youth Bicycle Programs are also up and running. Kids are learning bike mechanics, earning bikes, and pedaling to eateries, water parks, and mountain bike trails.

The Landfall Teen Program participants (grades 6-12) have really embraced their creative talents and are having so much fun being together again!

Early in the summer, program staff supported teens in a program to recover school credits; this helps students get back on track in their academic endeavors.

A big project that the group is working on is a large mural that will be hung inside the teen center. They have learned about murals and painting techniques from volunteer artist from the nonprofit COMPAS.

Teens are also working on a fundraising campaign to support an end of the summer trip to Valley Fair. They have built wooden birdhouses (limited quantity, $10 each), and also put together a photo book with pictures from their photo club (limited quantity, $20 each).

In addition, the teens are continuing to work on plans for post-secondary life. They have higher education site visits and career panels scheduled for early fall.



Financial Solutions:

Debt Repayment Calculator

Financial Solutions created a new tool to help prospective clients – a Debt Repayment Calculator. By entering in a total unsecured debt amount, the calculator quickly generates a table to show how much could be saved by enrolling in a Debt Management Program (DMP).

When participating in a DMP, clients work with certified credit counselors to create a budget. DMP staff help clients negotiate reduced rates with creditors, thereby having more of the money going toward reducing the principal balance. Clients make one simple payment to FamilyMeans who then disburses funds to all creditors. 

Currently, the FamilyMeans DMP staff is managing $7.7 million in clients’ outstanding, unsecured debt. Payoff success is 81% for clients over 5 years--well above the industry standard.

Help yourself regain financial stability. Start with the calculator today!


 debt payoff calc

Gifts in Memory of Arba-Della Beck

In late June, we were sad to announce the passing of FamilyMeans President Emerita, Arba-Della Beck. Leading the agency from 1996-2020, Arba-Della was an essential part of the success of our programming and ability to help countless people through life’s challenges.

One of Arba-Della’s passions was growing the FamilyMeans program endowment fund. This fund helps to ensure that our essential support services will be available for generations to come, making a better life possible for our children, grandchildren, and beyond. Like most memorial gifts to FamilyMeans, the many gifts that we received in memory of Arba-Della support this fund.

FamilyMeans continues to receive gifts in memory of Arba-Della. We are humbled to announce that over $25,000 has been received thus far. Thank you for your generosity in paying tribute to a remarkable woman.


 Arba-Della by FM Logo


Jim Kroening Headshot

    From the Desk of President & CEO, Jim Kroening
    Summer in Full Swing at FamilyMeans

 This newsletter has highlighted just a handful of the amazing things happening at FamilyMeans this summer. I am proud of our staff and board of directors for persevering through this challenging time to support the community in innovative ways. 

From educational presentations by our Caregiving & Aging team, to Youth Development field trips, and mental health sessions, to budget counseling, the FamilyMeans staff continues to provide essential support services to individuals who are facing some of life’s toughest challenges.

Our staff and Board of Directors have been out and about helping to spread the word about FamilyMeans. Have you seen us? In mid-June we were able to participate in our first in-person promotional event in over a year, at the Stillwater Chamber’s Food Truck Extravaganza. Then, in July, our employees gathered for a quarterly all-staff meeting. It was so wonderful to gather in-person after over 15 months of meeting virtually. A foursome was also thrilled to participate in the Stillwater Chamber’s Golf Tournament in late July.

We continue to plan for activities as the summer continues, including:

Nature Immersion for Healing, August 13
MPR Day- The Minnesota State Fair’s Dan Patch Park, September 3
Memorial Gathering for Hope & Healing, September 23
Next Generation Council’s Townie Tuesday at Lift Bridge Brewery Stillwater, October 5

FamilyMeans staff are community-driven! Seeing our clients, volunteers, and friends in person again has brought great joy. We are excited to continue to serve the community!


 all staff photo 2021
 Chamber Golf Event 2021
 Food Truck Ex 2021




Coffee Sales


FamilyMeans Board of Directors

 Brian Gunderson, Chair | Melissa Harris, Treasurer | Susannah Torseth, Secretary
Charles Bransford, MD | Heidi Hubbard, MD | Marissa Lucio
Mike Lyner | Peter Matzek | Jessica Meletiou | Rajean Moone, PhD
Linda Skoglund | Josh Zignego | James Kroening, President & CEO


1875 Northwestern Ave S,  | Stillwater, Minnesota  55082
651 439 4840 |