FamilyMeans Youth Development has kicked off the school year with a new program; “Ready To Be...”. This program teams with parents to ensure that our graduating teens have accomplished thoughtful preparation for post-secondary life. Many of the children and teens we serve face obstacles unknown to most Washington County youth, and our goal is to ensure that the youth of Landfall and Cimarron will be able to make the most of the skills and strengths that they possess.
Youth development researchers are coalescing around the need for newly de ined “readiness” efforts, described by The Forum for Youth Investment, a national think/action tank, as “being prepared and willing to take advantage of life’s opportunities while managing life’s challenges.” Being ready requires youth to develop mindsets and skillsets that lead them to become functional, adaptable and optimally, lourishing adults.
The efforts in our children’s programs will help kids discover the interests and talents that could lead to future careers. Building on this, our teen programs will offer structured, laddered opportunities to more intentionally capitalize on this self-awareness, leading to further exploration of and de initive preparation for post-secondary education and independent living beyond high school.
One aspect of Ready To Be... is the formation of career panels, where adults from all backgrounds and walks of life will be invited to share honest accounts of their career successes...and missteps. If you would be interested in joining a career panel, please contact Tom Yuska at 651-592-1550 or email@example.com.
We had another successful season of our Bike Program in 2017! Each summer the Landfall and Cimarron Youth Bicycle Programs propel participants
to learn, get fit and explore the community around them. Participants in the program learn the basics of bike mechanics and use our well-equipped shop to repair their bikes. Throughout the summer, youth bike on roads and trails to bring them to fun and exciting destinations such as ice cream shops and parks.
Between Landfall and Cimarron, 88 youth participated at least once in rides or repairs, and 55 kids went on at least one bike ride. Collectively, our
youth rode 5,476 miles, or close to a quarter of the way around Earth’s equator. Over half
of participants rode at least 50 miles, and 27% of riders rode 100 miles or more; our top rider rode 361 miles, equivalent to riding to Pierre, SD. Bike ride destinations included Wild Mountain/Taylor’s Falls, Willow River State Park, Midtown Global Market, Science Museum of Minnesota, Selma’s Ice Cream Parlor in Afton, and the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine. Over the course of the summer, we provided 427 hours of programming and 33 youth earned their own bikes through hard work and dedication.
This program, an integral part of Youth Development, would not be possible without the equally dedicated group of donors who supported the Chilkoot Cydery & Cafe? fundraiser last spring. On behalf of the youth we serve, thank you!
If you are interested in donating to our youth bike program please contact Tom Yuska, Youth Development Director, at 651-592-1550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a benefit provided by employers aimed to reduce the impact of personal and work-related problems, while focusing on employee performance and well-being. Research shows that problems outside of work affect on-the-job performance, and proactive, early interventions through EAP services reduce costs and add value to the lives of employees.
FamilyMeans provides a well-regarded Employee Assistance Program that teams with Minnesota and Wisconsin businesses to maintain a healthy workforce and work environment. The hallmark of FamilyMeans EAP is personal service designed to meet the specific needs of individual employers. Included in this service is additional training for management, including mediation and critical incident services.
FamilyMeans EAP provides enrolled employees the following comprehensive services to help them reduce stress, resolve difficult situations, and stabilize their lives: Counseling & Therapy, Financial Solutions, Caregiving & Aging, and Legal Consultation Referrals.
With our help, employees are more likely to stay at a job and perform at their best. A strong EAP helps employers ensure the health and well-being of their most valuable resource: employees. To learn more about how FamilyMeans Employee Assistance Program can help your business, contact Diane Cragoe at 651-789-4054 or email@example.com.
The long-standing proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” stems from the idea that children are most likely to become successful, healthy adults when a community takes an active role in their upbringing. FamilyMeans and many other local organizations believe this to be true and therefore are dedicated to community youth and their success.
Some families in local communities of Landfall and Cimarron have fewer resources than many others in the surrounding area. Families in these communities find it hard to purchase school supplies that are needed each fall. To help with this need, Andersen Corporation’s IT Department funded a backpack-filling event. At their annual departmental picnic, hundreds of backpacks were filled with pencils, notebooks, glue and other school essentials. At Trinity Lutheran Church volunteers assembled and delivered over 100 backpacks as well, while 5 Below of Stillwater also donated many large boxes of backpacks and supplies. FamilyMeans youth program participants from age 5 to 18 were smiling ear to ear as they chose their brand new backpack filled with goods to help them succeed in school.
Another local business, Lowes of Oak Park Heights, also contributed to the Cimarron youth center this fall. As part of the Lowes Heroes Project, Lowes donated $2,500 worth of goods and services to site improvements, including landscaping and powerwashing. The generosity and hard work of Lowes and FamilyMeans volunteers resulted in a polished youth center, which looks nearly brand new again. When the teens and youth arrived for after school programing their jaws dropped when they saw the transformation.
The support of local organizations and individuals make it possible for FamilyMeans to provide focused programing in areas of health, education and arts. Together, we have a great opportunity to strengthen the futures of our local youth.
In an effort to reach more individuals and families who will benefit from Financial Solutions services, FamilyMeans has undertaken a marketing advancement effort featuring social media advertising and radio public service announcements. The process began over the summer and will continue to evolve throughout 2017 and into next year.
“Many people struggle paying back debt and simply live paycheck to paycheck,” Jim Kroening, Director of Financial Solutions, said. “Many have tried other more traditional loan consolidation programs, but do not qualify. Often, they feel like there is no hope, and struggle to make payments or even consider filing for bankruptcy.” Kroening said that Financial Solutions staff are often told by clients that they wished they had known of the financial services offered by FamilyMeans much earlier.
“We really want to help people earlier in their struggles,” Kroening said, “and hope through our marketing efforts that more people will know we are here to help them get their financial freedom back.” The ads are specifically geared towards the Money Management, Debt Management and Student Loan Counseling programs offered by Financial Solutions.
Because social media use has skyrocketed across virtually all demographics in recent years, FamilyMeans sees an opportunity to reach a wide audience while keeping costs limited. According to Jennifer Snyder, Director of Communications and Development “There are many people out there who could benefit from these programs,” she said, “and social media is an effective way to reach them.”
To augment the social media campaign, Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. created a series of radio public service announcements, or PSAs, for FamilyMeans at no cost and has been running them on KSTP (AM 1500), KS95 (94.5 FM) and myTalk (107.1 FM) since August.
Though it is too early in the campaign to make a direct correlation between the marketing efforts and an increase in clients, Kroening says that Financial Solutions staff has seen a fairly significant increase in first-time calls to FamilyMeans. “The more people struggling with money management or debt concerns know about us,” Kroening said, “the more people we can hopefully help. And at the end of the day, that’s what we’re here to do: help.” To learn more about how Financial Solutions can help you or someone you know, call 651-439-4840 or visit www.FamilyMeans.org.
“My wife has regained her sanity,” said Bud Kapell as he described the role of the FamilyMeans Caregiving and Aging program and its impact throughout the past year and a half.
Living in the townhomes at Boutwells Landing in Oak Park Heights, the Kapells are relatively new to the area after downsizing from their dream home
on North Center Lake in Center City in 2015. Bud had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2012, but showed signs as early as 2002 beginning with essential tremors. By 2015, Kapells knew it was time to simplify.
Today, with medication and deep brain stimulation, the right side of Bud’s body is mostly tremor free, but other PD symptoms create challenges. He still has left-side tremors and, more recently, deals with spells that are often debilitating and result in him often unable to open his eyes, move his limbs or use a phone, which makes it uncomfortable for Bud’s wife, Leslie, to leave him alone for more than an hour at a time.
Shortly after their move to the Stillwater area, Leslie came across a FamilyMeans brochure for a class called “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” and, while she didn’t identify herself as a caregiver, the information resonated with her. In this class Leslie learned more about FamilyMeans, and met participants in similar situations.
“I found a lot of affirmation from the class,” Leslie said. “I found I was doing many things well, but I also had a few ‘a-ha’ moments such as ‘who would take care of Bud if I got burned out?’ and ‘what resources were available to us in our new community?’”
Leslie, who in addition to maintaining their new home and caring for Bud, had her own major health scare in 2016.
“In many ways, I feel we are in the honeymoon phase of caregiving because things are manageable, but I see things are changing and we have to remember PD is a degenerative disease,” said Leslie, who once joked in the caregiver class that she needed a coach. Lucky for her, Sarah Gavin, one of the class facilitators and a social worker at FamilyMeans, is also a caregiver coach and has been a “go-to” person for Leslie ever since. Leslie says Sarah is her connection to sanity.
In fact, it was Sarah who pointed out that Leslie is indeed a caregiver; in addition to all she did before the diagnosis she has also taken over tasks that have become too much for Bud. She now handles personal care and doctor appointments, manages the calendar and the finances, maintains the car, does all the driving and oversees that medication is taken on time. With all of the responsibilities of managing a household falling to Leslie while she serves as a competent caregiver, it is crucial she take care of her own well-being too, because if anything happens to her, she and Bud would both be in need of care and that gets complicated.
“In many ways, Leslie and Bud are doing it the perfect way. They aren’t waiting until there is a crisis. Instead, they are being proactive. They are making adjustments little by little, which goes a long way,” said Sarah, the social worker with
FamilyMeans that Leslie first met in the caregiver class. “Building a network of family, friends, support groups, volunteers, physicians and others, allows for
those resources to be in place when and if they are needed. Doing this work after a crisis has begun adds a tremendous amount of stress to an already overwhelming situation.”
Leslie learned about FamilyMeans respite care and with Sarah’s encouragement, Bud and Leslie decided to try a respite volunteer. That is when FamilyMeans matched respite care volunteer Chris Wallberg with the Kapells. Together, they have created a workable plan that provides companionship for Bud and time away from the house for Leslie.
“I hold Chris in high regard, Leslie said. “We negotiate our needs with her availability. She is a gentle and non- intrusive but very supportive person who has taken the time to process our situation.”
When Chris first met Bud, she learned he was a genealogist and she took the initiative to learn more about it so she could relate to him on the topic. Together, Chris and Bud have come to enjoy discussing a wide range of topics, take the occasional walk, muddle through computer questions, and revisit memories through photo albums. They found relief that neither are big on games, but both enjoy chatting when Bud feels up to it.
Bud was at first apprehensive about having a respite care volunteer in his home. I'm not a social person,” said Bud, who worked for 37 years at 3M before retiring. While he enjoys saying hi to neighbors and talking with Leslie, he didn’t want to feel he had to entertain a volunteer. But that hasn’t been the case and, Bud realized, the respite care volunteer ultimately helps Leslie to have a break and stay healthy. As a bonus, he enjoys Chris’ company.
“Many people stressed the importance of taking care of myself and while there’s a part of me that felt I could manage everything well, the reality is I can’t do it all,” Leslie said. “It’s likely that things will change as time goes on and there will be new challenges, but for now I’m building a network of support and finding tremendous relief knowing there is someone with Bud so I can have time every so often just for me.”
Chris Wallberg served as the city clerk in Lakeland, Minnesota, for 15 years, but she knew her retirement would be filled with volunteer work. Her cousin volunteered for FamilyMeans and, after retirement, Chris followed in her footsteps. Chris has provided in-home respite care as a FamilyMeans volunteer for about two years with three different families.
“It’s been a really positive experience, and FamilyMeans’ staff has been amazingly helpful,” said Chris, who has a grown daughter. Chris’ husband passed away from cancer in 2002. “I know what it feels like to need to step away and have some time alone. Often, illness is not a sprint but a journey.”
Chris currently provides in-home respite for the Kapells (see full story) and wants to be there to spend time with Bud and provide Leslie a break from her daily responsibilities.
“I try to be as flexible as I can,” said Chris, who added that she and Bud laugh often and enjoy looking at pictures together as well as swapping stories about family histories and their days at 3M. Bud has periods of time daily when his hands freeze and his eyes close, and Chris is nearby until the episode ends. “I am grateful for the support of FamilyMeans and for the process to be sure the Kapells and I were a good match.”
Chris said it is in her nature to want to give back. She finds so much joy helping Bud and Leslie, as well as others in the community, that she feels she gets back much more than what she puts in.
FamilyMeans Caregiving and Aging is looking for more volunteers to provide in-home respite. Training is provided and volunteers are supported in their work. FamilyMeans will work to find you the right match and a time commitment that works with your schedule. If you have the time or interest to become a respite volunteer or learn more about the opportunities available, contact Dianne Vierling, Volunteer Coordinator at FamilyMeans at 651-789-4055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Famed Stillwater artist Erik Sletten’s painting “The Parallel Bridges” was created to commemorate the St. Croix Crossing Bridge which officially opened on August 3rd. Now, it also provides funding to FamilyMeans school-based mental health programs in Stillwater area schools.
Purchase a print at FamilyMeans in Stillwater. Proceeds will be matched by an anonymous donor to support the Wellness Center Challenge. Prints range in price from $25 - $75. Visit FamilyMeans.org to learn more about Erik Sletten and the Wellness Center Challenge.
The following article was posted to the FamilyMeans blog last month. To keep abreast of timely issues that impact you and your family, be sure to check www.familymeans.org for regular updates to our blog. These blogs will also be posted on the FamilyMeans Facebook page and Twitter account. Be sure to follow our social media for updates.
Mental Health Awareness on the Rise
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a mental illness. However, mental illness is something that has not been largely spoken about, until recently.
Popular music artists, actors and filmmakers have recently shifted the media’s attention to that of mental health and suicide prevention. These famous trend-setters include Logic, Metallica, Nolan Gould (Modern Family), Brian Yorkey (13 Reason’s Why), and more. Using their unique creative mediums these artists are reaching millions of people and spreading the word about mental health and how to get help.
Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sees this trend as a time for change. She says, “No matter who you are, you have a powerful role to play in preventing suicide. We’re at a point in time where so many people, including celebrities and musicians, have opened up about their experience with mental health or their loss to suicide. That brave act of opening up about mental health challenges has helped to shape the culture. Now it’s time to deepen our knowledge and learn what to do if you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one. The ability each of us has to make people in our lives feel valued can’t be underestimated.”
FamilyMeans has many resources for individuals who are struggling with mental health and for their loved ones. These resources include individual, group and family counseling sessions, school-based mental health resources and group therapy sessions at our Center for Grief and Loss. Contact us today at 651-439-4840 to set-up an appointment or to learn more about suicide prevention.
FamilyMeans Next Generation Leadership Council hosted the annual Beer and Wine Tasting Social on September 21st, and the evening could not have been better. Acoustic music from Next Gen Council member Sebastian Hearne filled the air as over 100 guests enjoyed tastes of local beer, wine and cocktails while watching the sun set on Little Carnelian Lake.
Thanks to our generous hosts, OJ and Ruth Rustad, their beautiful tiered patio lined with dreamy lighting made for a night to remember. Local restaurants, including Public House Kitchen and Bar, Gray Duck Restaurant, and The Handsome Hog, donated delicious food and drink to the event. Local breweries, vineyards and individuals also donated to the tasting tables.
The occasion brought many new faces to learn about FamilyMeans programming and in turn was a successful fundraising event. All funds raised from this event support FamilyMeans programs.
If you are interested in joining Next Gen, a group of emerging leaders that focuses on developing a spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism, contact Jennifer Snyder at 651-789-4057 or email@example.com.
Some of you may recall our strategic planning efforts two years ago, when our board members and staff talked to more than 100 stakeholders about FamilyMeans. Among several things, we learned that many people do not know who we are and what kinds of services we provide. Since one of our longstanding priorities is to be as accessible as possible, that was hard to hear. But if you want to be the best you can be, sometimes you need to hear some hard truths.
There are many ways we try to make it easy for people to reach us. We work with kids and teens in their neighborhoods so that they can walk to and from our programs. We train and coordinate respite volunteers who spend time in the homes of care receivers so that their caregivers can take a needed break. We have mental health therapists right down the hall from students in 37 schools. Yet, there are so many who do not realize they can turn to FamilyMeans for help.
In order to respond to this important feedback, we decided to prioritize our brand recognition and communication efforts to be even more accessible and helpful to more people. Our first opportunity to expand recognition was through our wonderful partnership with the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Since it began back in January, we have taken part in many events, including numerous parades with Winter Carnival Royalty. Who knew walking in a parade could be so much fun?
We’ve also made changes to our website, printed materials and other means of communication. I encourage you
to watch for our Financial Solutions ads on Facebook (read more about this on page 3 of this newsletter) and listen for our public service announcements on Hubbard Broadcasting radio stations, too.
Our best referral source has always been word of mouth. We understand that the first people you may lean on in time of need are your friends, family, and professionals such as doctors, pastors and teachers. But FamilyMeans is here if they are not enough. We hope people in your support system will recommend us in time of need. If you know of someone who might be struggling, please send them our way. We’ll be waiting for them and ready to help them find that a better life is possible.
In Honor of…
Don and Margaret Irwin
Tom and Lorie Etter Anniversery
In Memory of…
Don Irwin (continued)
Mary Jo and Curt Jackson
Gary R. Lindahl