Agency Newsletter - November 2021

Agency Newsletter - November 2021

Nov 10, 2021




What's in this issue?
Click link to be taken to full article.

Lobby Dedication in Memory of Arba-Della Beck 
Caregiving & Aging Celebrates 35 Years!
Volunteerism During Covid & Charting a Path Forward
Youth Development Holiday Gift Drive

Counseling & Therapy Welcomes Clients in New Hudson Location
Financial Solutions Budgeting for the Holidays

Next Generation Council Supports FamilyMeans with Townie Tuesday Event
Save the Date! Better is Possible Gala - Thursday, April 7, 2022 
From the Desk of President & CEO, Jim Kroening: Welcome Back!



Lobby Dedication in Memory of Arba-Della Beck


 Lobby Dedication Pics

                                      Photos taken by Rachel DesJardins Photography


Over her 24 years of leadership, FamilyMeans President Emerita, Arba-Della Beck advanced the agency’s mission of strengthening communities by helping individuals and families through challenges in all life stages in many ways. Just a few of those accomplishments include: three merger acquisitions, a successful capital campaign for the construction of our headquarters in Stillwater and the Cimarron Youth Center, as well as leading daily operations for nearly 2.5 decades. She worked diligently year after year to ensure that FamilyMeans was available to people in the community when they need support most.

Following Arba-Della’s death in June 2021 after a long and courageous fight with cancer, FamilyMeans staff, board of directors, and agency friends brainstormed ways to honor her legacy within the agency. Jim Kroening, current President & CEO, remembers Arba-Della’s persistence when building the agency’s new main office in Stillwater. She was adamant that the building, especially the lobby, feel comfortable and safe for all. Arba-Della believed that the physical space should reflect the welcome and care that any person would receive when they sought support from FamilyMeans as they navigated life’s challenges. In that spirit and in her memory, FamilyMeans chose to name our reception area the “Arba-Della Beck Memorial Lobby”.

To celebrate this dedication, the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, October 18. In an abundance of caution, only a small group of individuals were invited including the FamilyMeans board of directors, management team, and Arba-Della’s children/spouses. We know, however, that Arba-Della had an impact on so many individuals who would love to honor and remember her. We welcome anyone who is interested to visit during regular business hours to see the newly dedicated lobby and signage in-person.

Befitting of her vision, Arba-Della’s legacy lives on in the programming, people, and spaces of FamilyMeans. We know she would be humbled and proud to see this dedication in a space she cherished so greatly.


Caregiving & Aging Celebrates 35 Years! 

In September 2021, FamilyMeans celebrated the 35th anniversary of our Caregiving & Aging program.

Established in 1986, Caregiving & Aging began with an emphasis on in-home respite for caregivers. During respite, caregivers have peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe and content while they get a well-deserved break to rest, recreate, run errands, or socialize. Group respite, called Day Out!, was added ten years ago for care recipients who desire more socialization in a welcoming and understanding group atmosphere. Starting with a core group of 11 volunteers, the respite program has since grown to encompass hundreds of volunteers over the decades—from retired persons to young adults or teens, couples or even families. Since 2002 alone, the Caregiving & Aging program has provided nearly 200,000 hours of respite to caregivers!

Over the years, the program has evolved into a successful and established multi-service caregiver support and education model that meets caregivers and care receivers wherever they are in the journey. Beth Wiggins, Director of Caregiving & Aging, states, “We learned that respite was the tip of the iceberg for what caregivers needed, so we added more.” Services now include coaching and consultation, information and referral, in-home and group respite, community education, support groups, and more recently launched health and wellness and dementia-specific programming.

Through these services, we help older adults, their families, friends, and neighbors more effectively care for each other and be meaningfully engaged in the community. We support and equip individuals and families to move forward with confidence and hope. We educate and involve the community in emerging issues related to aging, and engage people of all ages in meaningful volunteer activities.

We are thankful for all volunteers and staff over the program’s 35 years that have contributed to the growth and impact of Caregiving & Aging! Learn more about this program or volunteer opportunities at or call 651-439-4840.

 C&A Team Pic

Click the picture above to view a short video that celebrates the history of the program and vision for an age friendly future!


Volunteerism during Covid & Charting a Path Forward

At FamilyMeans, we have a strong legacy of impactful, skilled, and compassionate volunteerism.

Even amidst the pandemic, volunteers have safely contributed their time, energy, and expertise to help FamilyMeans realize its mission. Throughout the past 18 months, we continue to appreciate the many creative volunteer contributions that arose during times of physical distancing:

  • online tutoring with youth
  • delivering resources to caregiving families
  • providing reassuring calls and notes
  • leading group respite activities via Zoom
  • creating online resources
  • live-streaming healing events

At this time, we’re thrilled that volunteers are gradually coming back into our buildings to offer their skills and support and to resume in-person service under certain circumstances. Following the disruption of the pandemic, we recognize an opportunity in this moment to make adaptations that will improve our volunteer infrastructure and help us continue to achieve our mission.

In the year ahead, we are excited to focus on rebuilding and revitalizing our volunteer base following the challenges of the past 18 months which, in some instances, resulted in a complete pause of certain volunteer opportunities. We will focus on strengthening our volunteer infrastructure through partnering with local volunteer experts, enhancing and reducing barriers to volunteer onboarding and training, and diversifying volunteer options that have more flexibility. We learned a lot in the past year about how technology can help us in these efforts, and in some ways, make us more connected than ever before, even when physical distancing is required.

One avenue of support for these efforts, is a recent Community Care Corps grant awarded to Caregiving & Aging. Community Care Corps is a national program created to support innovative local programs, using volunteers to help older adults, persons with disabilities, and family caregivers in need of non-medical assistance to remain living in their homes.

We are excited about what is on the horizon for volunteers, our clients, and the agency! To all of the volunteers who have contributed their time, energy, and unique skills over the years, especially under the unprecedented circumstances of the past 18 months – THANK YOU!

Do you know an amazing volunteer professional? We are hiring a full-time Volunteer Resources & Respite Coordinator. Learn more and apply at



Youth Development Holiday Gift Drive 

Each year, FamilyMeans holds a gift drive in support of families in the under-resourced communities of Cimarron (Lake Elmo) and the City of Landfall. We collect toys, gift cards, winter clothing, and other items to ensure that every child in these two communities will receive a gift this holiday season.

Historically, each community holds a holiday party where community members are invited for a warm meal, discreet gift “shopping”, and other holiday activities. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, both holiday parties will be cancelled again this year. Instead, FamilyMeans will facilitate a process by which families can safely choose their gift options which will then be distributed by agency staff.

How to participate

Are you interested in participating in the Youth Development Holiday Gift Drive? The more the merrier! FamilyMeans is accepting unwrapped gift donations through December 1st. Items can be dropped at the Stillwater office (1875 Northwestern Ave. S, Stillwater) Monday through Friday 8am -4:30pm.



Thank you to our community partners! 


Stillwater Motors
13 Years Supporting Gift Drive!

 Stillwater Motors Truck

Help us to fill the vintage truck!

Student Assurance Service, Inc.
11 Years Supporting Gift Drive! 

 SAS Delivers Toys

SAS Staff Pose with Gifts 2020



 Hudson Office

Counseling & Therapy Welcomes Clients in New Hudson Location

In October 2021, our Counseling & Therapy program opened its doors to a third outpatient clinic at a new location in the River Ridge Professional Center in Hudson, WI. Our new location has three therapists dedicated to providing service in this community and contributing to a greater program capacity. FamilyMeans Clinical Director, Erin Rowlson says “We are so excited to have a physical location in Western Wisconsin again. Many clients have continued therapy via tele-health throughout Covid, but they are eager to have the opportunity to meet in-person once again”. Furthermore, the opening of this clinic has allowed us to serve all clients on our waitlist.

Across the program, over 14,700 counseling sessions have been conducted so far this year. Our expert staff are available in-person and virtually to support individuals, couples, and families through some of life’s toughest challenges.

Visit us at one of our three clinic locations!

Stillwater | St. Paul |Hudson

Call 651-439-4840 to make an appointment today!



 Holiday Budget Banner


Sticking to a budget during the holidays can be difficult. Friends and family gather with food and gifts, advertisements entice you to spend more and promote a sense of urgency to get the best deal before it is gone. For many during this time, it is hard to stick to a planned budget. This can result in accumulating debt and starting the New Year in a financial rut.

FamilyMeans Financial Solutions is an expert in budgeting and helping people gain financial freedom. We have established 7 helpful tips to help you get through the holiday season without gaining debt and reducing the stress of holiday shopping.

  1.  Make a list of holiday expenses. This should include items like gifts, food, drink, gas to travel, and clothing.
  2. Decide on your spending limit. Be realistic about how much you can spend while still having funds to cover your everyday essentials like groceries, gas, and bills.
  3. Assign money to each of your listed expenses. Be realistic with costs!
  4. Shop around. With current technology, it is easier to price shop for the best deal. Go online and compare prices, and find the location with the best price for the item.
  5. Make a plan for shopping and stick to it! Once you know all the locations you need to go and the amount you have to spend at each, get shopping! Try and go to these stores during hours were there are not many people or shop online. When there are lots of people around you can feel pressured to make quick purchases which can throw off your plan.
  6. Track your purchases. Keep receipts and record how much of your budgeted money was used for each purchase. This will help to keep you accountable. If you have leftover funds, save this money for unexpected costs that may come up.
  7. Don’t procrastinateIf you wait for the last minute to make purchases you may feel pressure to buy out of convenience rather than best price or fit into budget. Make a plan early and give yourself time to shop around.

Having a financial budget can be hard, but sticking to a plan will reduce stress and debt. FamilyMeans Financial Solutions is here to help you find financial freedom. If you find yourself feeling anxious about your spending or have accumulated debt, we can help. Our certified consumer credit counselors can guide you with budget counseling, create a debt management plan for you, or provide financial education. Learn more here or contact us at 651-439-4840 to get started.  


Looking for More Tips on Holiday Budgeting? Join us for a free virtual education!

Learn more and register by contacting our Financial Solutions Educator, Suzy Wheeler at .

 Breezing through the Holidays



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Next Generation Council Supports FamilyMeans with Townie Tuesday Event

The FamilyMeans Next Generation Council (Next Gen) is comprised of young adult up-in-coming leaders. Members of this group share a passion for philanthropy, are between the ages of 21 and 35, and spend their free time helping to further the agency’s mission. With diverse backgrounds, these individuals share their unique talents and perspectives to help FamilyMeans stay on the cutting edge of service delivery and fundraising initiatives.

Each year, Next Gen hosts a fundraising event in support of FamilyMeans. For eleven years, that event was the Beer & Wine Tasting Social. Guests gathered for an evening outdoors at a beautiful local home to share samples of local beverages, appetizers, and good conversation about the important impact that FamilyMeans has on the community.

During the pandemic, Covid-19 precautions required local wineries, breweries, and distilleries to halt serving in many capacities. As a result, many of these businesses felt financial strain. Sensitive to this, the council decided to forgo the usual event, which requires asking for donations of beverages from local companies, and instead hosted an event that would help support FamilyMeans and a local brewery.

On October 5, the Next Gen Council invited the community to Townie Tuesday at Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater. Townie Tuesday is hosted by Lift Bridge Brewery on most Tuesdays, with the goal of raising funds for local nonprofits. Each week a new nonprofit is chosen and $1 of every pint sold supports that agency. Next Gen arranged for Lake Elmo based food truck, The Smug Pug, to serve delicious meals. They also prepared 6 specialty baskets that were raffled off throughout the night. It was a perfect fall evening, and many of the guests stayed for hours enjoying the autumn sun, falling leaves, and good company. Through this event, over $1,000 were raised to support FamilyMeans. A special thanks to all who participated!


 BIP Save the Date


Mark your calendars to join us this spring for our 2nd annual Better is Possible Gala!
An event in support of FamilyMeans programming, this gathering is one you don't want to miss!
More info to come!




JK at Podium

From the Desk of President & CEO, Jim Kroening: Welcome Back!

Late this summer, we began to invite clients and volunteers back into our buildings. I remember one afternoon walking through the lobby and seeing it filled with people, eager for their appointments with our staff. The individuals might not have been able to see me smiling under my mask, but I was grinning ear to ear. It is so wonderful to see our spaces safely filling for support groups, educational sessions, meetings, and more. We have missed the energy of in-person connection, and are so happy to have you back.

As we look towards 2022, it is hard to know what the New Year may bring. But one thing I know for sure is that FamilyMeans will be here to serve our community in a way that works best for all whether in-person or virtually.




FamilyMeans Board of Directors

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