September Newsletter - Back to School Edition
Sep 07, 2023
Summer has come and gone and we are heading into a busy Fall at FamilyMeans! Before the temperatures start to drop, we want to share what we have been up to at the agency! We invite you to learn more about our services and upcoming activities in this edition of our FamilyMeans Agency Newsletter!
In This Issue:
On Wednesday, August 16, FamilyMeans hosted an Open House to celebrate 60 years as an agency in the St. Croix Valley! It was a windy and warm day, but that didn't stop the community from coming out to have some FUN! Smug Pug food truck served up some delicious meals, Nelson's Ice Cream provided tasty dessert, and Dave Burkhart played great music for everyone to enjoy. We cannot thank the community enough for the support!
We know caregivers are very busy people. Caregiving situations can be filled with logistical challenges, so our goal is to make support as convenient and accessible as possible. FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging provides help throughout Washington County and beyond, including support groups, education, caregiver coaching, respite, and dementia empowerment services. In-person programming happens regularly in Cottage Grove, Woodbury, Lake Elmo, Hugo, and Stillwater. Education sessions are offered throughout the region. Virtual options make us as close as your computer or telephone.
In response to needs in South Washington County, a new caregiver support group is coming to Cottage Grove in September. This is a welcoming space for those in similar caregiving situations. Other support groups happen throughout the month in Stillwater and online, during the day or evening. We bring Memory Cafés to local communities as well. Memory Cafes are informal gatherings for those with memory loss and their caregivers to share in facilitated conversation, learn about community resources, and have fun together in an understanding environment. Click here to see the various times and locations.
As the summer is coming to an end, we are reflecting on all the fun our Youth Development participants had over the last few months!
Clubs: Bread Club, Garden Club, Bike Club, and more! Teens got the opportunity to choose a club activity and learn a new interest. Some teens even got hired at the Cimarron Farm to garden as well!
Campus Visits: Teen Centers visited the University of Minnesota, Augsburg College, Normandale Community College, and Dunwoody Technical College. Two Landfall Teen Center participants graduated this year and are headed off to Dunwoody and Hennepin Technical College to pursue careers in welding and automotive technology!
Field Trips: Teens went to Twins games, Free Ice Cream Day at Leo's, ran a booth at National Night Out in Lake Elmo, and a reward trip to Mount Olympus Water Park!
Clubs: Art Club, Reading Club, Pokemon Club, Bike Club, Garden Club, 4-H Club, the list could go on! We wanted to offer more opportunities for enrichment and clubs were the way to go!
Field Trips: Youth were able to attend Fort Snelling, Madison's Place Splash Pad, Hastings Family Aquatic Center, Walker Art Center, Sally Mazarra Nature Center, and the Washington County Fair!
Summer Bike Club: Youth ages 6-10 rode 3-8 miles over 10 weeks and visited Battle Creek Park, Maplewood Nature Center, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Reid Park, and Teddy Bear Park. Youth who were able to ride 5+ miles participated at the Bridge the Valley Bike Rally. Their registrations were sponsored by Sustainable Stillwater and volunteers Mike Lyner, Curt Jackson, and Tom Yuska.
Suzy Wheeler began working with FamilyMeans in 1987. She has over 30 years of financial counseling and financial literacy education experience.
"For the past 36 years, Suzy Wheeler has been a dedicated employee and an asset for FamilyMeans and the communities we serve. As a past certified financial credit counselor and a current education specialist, she has advocated for people to overcome their financial struggles and improve their financial health" says FamilyMeans President and CEO Jim Kroening.
Earlier this year, Suzy was recognized by BestPrep for her work supporting students and teachers across Minnesota! BestPrep’s Service Awards recognize their top volunteers for their willingness to go above and beyond in their commitment to educating Minnesota youth. Suzy has been volunteering for BestPrep since she began teaching financial education, and loves that she is able to share her vast knowledge of financials with students.
"I've been doing education since the 90s, and it feels good to be appreciated. [BestPrep] does a really good job at letting people know that their work doesn't go unnoticed. I love helping kids understand money, and seeing that light go on when they learn different financial tools" says Suzy.
Since 1976, BestPrep is a Minnesota-based nonprofit providing educational programs to student's in grades 4-12. They have impacted more than 1.7 million youth across Minnesota and provided educators with resources to ensure that students are college-prepared, work-ready, and career bound.
Congratulations on this huge milestone, Suzy!
The 2023-2024 school year is here! The excitement of a new year can also bring feelings of anxiety or stress. For children of all ages, it is important to promote and support good mental health practices so that they can grow up to lead healthy and successful lives. Each child is different and needs support from you in different ways. These tips from our Counseling & Therapy team can get you going on the right path of supporting your child's mental health.
Build Strong Relationships: It is important that your child has someone they can go to no matter the situation. A good way to start building this relationship is by setting up a regular check-in time. Intently listen, and use this time to talk to your child about his/her day and be mindful of any potential big stressors like friendships or assignments. Make sure to show you are invested by asking powerful questions like "How does that make you feel?" or "What did you learn from that situation?"
Help Promote Positive Self-Esteem: Help your child feel good about themselves! By showing your child unconditional love and support, you can help your child work through challenges. Praise them when they do well and recognize their efforts when things don't quite go their way. Remind that no matter how something turns out, you will always have their back!
Promote Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Remember that it is okay for your child to show their negative emotions such as sadness and anger; however, it is important to teach them ways to appropriately calm themselves when a problem arises. Focusing on taking deep breaths, removing yourself from a situation, and talking it out are great ways to decompress from stress.
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Check out our 2022 Annual Report!
The FamilyMeans Annual Report is a compilation of the successes of last year.
View donor, staff, and volunteer lists, as well as program highlights, statistics, and more!
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FamilyMeans offers competitive pay and benefits such as health and dental insurance, 403(b) retirement plan, and paid time off to eligible employees.
Our mission is to strengthen communities by helping individuals and families through challenges in all life stages. FamilyMeans envisions vibrant and resilient communities where everyone lives to their fullest potential. Our work is life’s challenges. A career with FamilyMeans provides an opportunity to enrich your professional life while working alongside colleagues who share a vision of making changes in people’s lives through high quality services. We strive to provide the highest quality of care for our clients as well as work-life experience for our employees
FamilyMeans Board of Directors
Melissa Harris, Chair | Bob Clark, Vice Chair | Peter Matzek, Treasurer | Josh Zignego, Secretary
Brian Gunderson, Past Chair | Lindsay Belland | Carmen Colombo | Anu Green | Marissa Kropp
Mike Lyner | Jessica Meletiou | Rajean Moone, PhD | Matthew Salisbury
Clark Schroeder | James Kroening, President & CEO