November_2022 Agency Newsletter

November_2022 Agency Newsletter

Nov 14, 2022





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FamilyMeans November Newsletter

We have been enjoying an action-packed Fall at FamilyMeans!  Mental Health Therapists are back in school buildings providing support to students and staff, youth at Cimarron and Landfall are enjoying fieldtrips and after-school programming, caregivers and care receivers have stayed busy with Oktoberfest and other Autumn-themed programs and individuals and families are learning how to make ends meet in this time of increased inflation. 

We invite you to learn more about our services and upcoming activities in this edition of our FamilyMeans Agency Newsletter!

In this issue:

Next Generation Council Supports FamilyMeans with Townie Tuesday Event

On October 4, 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. In addition, Andersen Corporation matched each dollar donated to FamilyMeans. The Next Gen Council arranged for Lake Elmo based food truck, The Smug Pug, to serve delicious meals. They also prepared 5 specialty baskets that were raffled off throughout the night. Attendees enjoyed a beautiful fall evening visiting and enjoying great food, beverages and music. Through this event, over $2,000 was raised to support FamilyMeans. A special thanks to all who participated!

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.

Townie Tuesday
Maria I and Heidi R
Kids with baskets
Claire Cummins with F
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Memorial Walk for Hope & Healing 

The event included, a program of remembrance where a flame was lit in memory of loved ones lost and a poetry reading by FamilyMeans staff members.  Following the program, participants enjoyed a one-mile walk around the lake where they could take in the beauty of their surroundings and have some time of reflection.  Following the walk, a memorial ceremony that included the reading of the names of those lost completed the event. 

The Center for Grief & Loss offers specialized therapy for complicated grief, trauma and life transitions. All of our staff are clinically trained mental health therapists, which allows us to competently work with a variety of concerns for which individuals and families seek mental health care. Our staff is particularly passionate about and experienced in helping individuals and families experiencing healing and growth from grief and trauma.   Loss does not mean alone.  Learn more here or contact us at 651-641-0177.

Drummers at Mem Walk
Staff at Mem walk
Mem walk
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Budgeting for the Holidays

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 procrastinate. If 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.  

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AT and T grant

FamilyMeans Receives $3,000 AT&T Foundation Grant

LAKE ELMO, Minn., Oct. 10, 2022 – As part of AT&T’s nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide, the AT&T Foundation is granting $3,000 to FamilyMeans to support digital literacy skills, homework help, and career planning for teens who attend the Cimarron Youth Center.


The AT&T Foundation grant will support the Ready To Be program, which provides a wide range of support services to Cimarron youth to aid in thoughtful preparation for post-secondary life. Teens who may not have a device or internet connection at home receive access at the youth center. Skilled staff help with college and financial aid applications, career planning, homework support and more to help prepare them for success after high school. Teens are also introduced to potential career opportunities they may not have considered before through visits to colleges, technical schools, and local organizations. The grant from the AT&T Foundation helps FamilyMeans to spark an interest in STEM careers, improve digital literacy and provide access to tech for Cimarron youth.


“Our commitment is to help youth who need support and guidance as they navigate life’s challenges. That includes doing what we can to bridge digital divide gaps, so Cimarron youth have access to the digital skills and resources they need to be successful in today’s economy,” said Jim Kroening, President & CEO of FamilyMeans. “We are grateful to receive this AT&T Foundation grant to further our mission and help our youth advance in a digital world.”


FamilyMeans’ Youth Development program provides free, year-round, out-of-school programming for underserved students in grades K-12 in the Cimarron manufactured home community in Lake Elmo. Staff at the Cimarron Youth Center work to help bridge digital divide gaps by providing computer access, tutoring, digital literacy resources, college prep and STEM exploration programs for youth.


Cimarron youth encounter a disproportionate number of barriers to social, educational and economic achievement. The goal of the FamilyMeans Youth Development program is to equip students to learn, thrive, connect and contribute throughout their lives.


“We believe all Americans, especially our youth, should be connected to the future, regardless of income or zip code,” said Paul Weirtz, State President of AT&T Minnesota. “The AT&T Foundation is proud to support the efforts of FamilyMeans to help close the digital divide for Cimarron youth who may need extra assistance in an ever-evolving digital economy.”


These efforts are part of AT&T’s $2 billion commitment from 2021-2023 to help bridge the digital divide through investments in digital literacy tools, education resources, broadband technology, low-cost internet service, and computers. AT&T is committed to connecting more Americans to reliable, high-speed broadband internet in several ways, including expanding and upgrading our network and participating in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Toy Drive

Thank you to our community partners:

Stillwater Motors
14 Years Supporting Gift Drive!

Student Assurance Service, Inc.
12 Years Supporting Gift Drive


Youth 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. Parents are invited to come “shop” these items and choose gifts for their children. Allowing them to give presents that they have specially chosen for them.  

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 15th. Items can be dropped at the Stillwater office (1875 Northwestern Ave. S, Stillwater) Monday through Friday 8am -4:30pm.

Stillwater Motors Truck
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#Caregiving Happens


Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month!

This celebration of family caregiving started in 1994 by the Caregiver Action Network. In 1997, President Clinton marked November as the month to raise awareness of National Family Caregivers and every president since has issued proclamations about this special month.

During National Family Caregivers Month, we want to recognize the hard work that unpaid family caregivers give to their families. 

Let family caregivers know that you ‘see’ them and thank them for what they are doing. Many family caregivers are not recognized as it is considered just a ‘task that you are supposed to do.’ Send a card or pick up the phone and say thank you.

Another way to celebrate this month is to support a family caregiver. Contact them and plan to come and give them a break from caregiving, even for a short time. Try asking what they need or just sit with them and listen.

Make sure your family considers the great gift that caregiving is and to plan for it. Talk together to see how this care can be shared among more people in the family. Having a caregiving plan early can help families avoid stress and conflict later. How will your family manage if someone needs care?

Unsure where to start? Click here to take this short survey to find out if it is time to get help, and the next steps to take.



Free concert featuring musician Charlie Maguire

Thursday, November 17, 2-3 p.m. w/short reception following

Caregivers & Care receivers are welcome to join us at FamilyMeans for a concert by the fun and fantastic, Charlie Maguire.  He has performed far and wide, telling stories and playing new and favorite songs.  He will be with us to help you tap your feet and put a smile on your face.  Please join us! 

For more info or to RSVP w/Heidi at 651-789-4017 or

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Give to the max day

Support FamilyMeans on Give to the Max Day!

Give to the Max Day is Minnesota's annual day of giving. Last year 6,457 organizations received $34.3 million in donations through GiveMN!

We invite you to consider making a donation on Thursday, November 17th.  Click on the button below to visit our giving page.  With you, better is possible!

Mark your calendars for the Better is Possible - FamilyMeans Fundraiser! 

The 2023 event will be held on Thursday, March 30 at JX Event Venue.  The event promises to be extra special as we celebrate the Agency's 60 years of success and work to ensure a bright future!

BiP save the date

Wanted: Better is Possible Committee Volunteers

December 2022 through March 2023

One or Two 1-hour Committee meetings per month (at FamilyMeans or virtually).
Usually scheduled on Tuesdays from 5:30p-6:30p

Additional out of meeting time as able

Available for in-person event support on Thursday, March 30, 2023

Do you have experience planning events? Curating a silent auction? Generating community support?

We need your volunteer help! FamilyMeans is in search of support for our spring fundraiser, “Better is Possible”. Help us to raise important funds in support of agency programming and inform the community of our essential services.

Please contact Melena Nelson, Director of Development & Communications for more information. 651-789-4029 or

Turkey Trot

Annual Turkey Trot is Thanksgiving Morning!

The River Valley Athletic Club is hosting their annual Turkey Trot 5k fun run on Thanksgiving morning. Proceeds from the run will support FamilyMeans and Valley Outreach. 

Participants can run, jog, or walk the 5k which begins at the athletic club right across the street from FamilyMeans. Strollers and leashed dogs are welcome!

Address: 1826 Northwestern Ave, Stillwater, MN

Cost: $30 early bird before 11/14 OR $40 after 11/14

All registrants receive a RACE SHIRT!

How do I register? IN PERSON at River Valley Athletic Club


FamilyMeans offices will be closed on the following dates:

            NOVEMBER: Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25

            DECEMBER: Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26

            JANUARY:  Monday, January 2

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FamilyMeans Board of Directors

 Brian Gunderson, Chair | Melissa Harris, Vice Chair | Peter Matzek, Treasurer | Josh Zignego, Secretary
Lindsay Belland  |  Bob Clark | Anu Green | Heidi Hubbard, MD | Marissa Kropp
Mike Lyner | Jessica Meletiou | Rajean Moone, PhD | Clark Schroeder
James Kroening, President & CEO

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

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