JWRC Connection, Volume 3 | Jacob Wetterling Resource Center - Gundersen Health System
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JWRC Connection

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Welcome to JWRC Connection! The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed about the work we are doing in the Twin Cities and beyond to keep kids safe. We hope you enjoy the stories, updates, and opportunities found within these pages. JWRC, the families and communities we serve, thank you for your continued support.



A note from Alison Feigh, program manager

Alison Feigh

April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Leading up to April, we saw an increase of requests, as groups and individuals worked to raise awareness and move forward in prevention in honor of the designated month. We are thankful for all the individuals and groups who reached out to us for resources in April, as they worked on various awareness and prevention efforts.

Child abuse and sexual violence are preventable. There are so many wonderful agencies, non-profit organizations, child advocacy centers and individuals working to get ahead of the problem by building safer communities and nurturing healthy childhoods. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who makes prevention a priority. We know we do not do this work alone and for that we remain grateful, every day of the year.

Alison Feigh

New happenings at JWRC

Coffee talk
On April 13, faculty speaker Stephanie Randolph met with a group of advocates to discuss self-care strategies. Self-care is vital to longevity in the field of advocacy, and giving professionals the opportunity to share what works best for them is valuable for everyone.

Lunch and learn
On May 15, faculty speaker Jane Straub facilitated a lunch and learn at the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (JWRC) office that introduced attendees to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Experiences in childhood matter and the impact of negative experiences may have lifelong effects on health—but they don’t have to. Resiliency, relationships and self-care can mitigate adversity. Participants learned about the ACE study and left better equipped with tools to handle situations related to ACEs in their daily lives.

Jane Straub Lunch and Learn

Faculty speaker Jane Straub presents an introduction to ACEs at a JWRC Lunch and Learn on May 15th.

Documentary viewing series
JWRC will be hosting a free screening of the documentary “Paper Tigers” with a discussion panel immediately following. This event will be open to the public. The film follows a year in the life of an alternative high school that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students—becoming a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families. Date coming soon!

Paper Tigers domunentary

Ready, set, register…for Running HOME for Jacob

Running HOME for Jacob

Registration is open for the third annual Running HOME (Hope for Our Missing and Exploited) for Jacob event. Please join Jacob Wetterling Resource Center on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Lake Phalen Park in St. Paul, Minn., for a 5K run/walk, 1.1-mile children’s run/walk and, for the first time, an 11K race. Both the 5K and 11K will be chip-timed this year, another first! Each kilometer of the 11K will commemorate one of the 11 traits that we associate with the way Jacob lived his life.

This is a day for community, hope and prevention as we strive to end child maltreatment in all forms. Please click here for more details and to register yourself or your team. If you are interested in sponsoring any part of the event, click here or email Abbey Lowenstein, community engagement coordinator, at amlowens@gundersenhealth.org.

Pizza for a good cause

Pizza Ranch check

Volunteers from the Anoka Council Child Abuse Prevention Council and JWRC pose with the check from Pizza Ranch of Andover.

Pizza Ranch of Andover, Minn., hosted a community impact fundraising event for the Anoka County Child Abuse Prevention Council. Abbey Lowenstein, community engagement coordinator, greeted guests who came to eat pizza and show their support.

Pizza Ranch donates 10 percent of each guest check as well as 100 percent of the tips to the featured organization. Over the course of the evening, the council and volunteers raised more than $700. Jacob Wetterling Resource Center is proud to be a part of this organization and looks forward to future partnerships.

Compassion Counts

Compassion Counts

By Alison Feigh

I was at a junior high school talking to seventh and eighth graders about personal safety. One of the seventh graders came up to me and said, "I just wanted to thank you for telling everyone that it is never, ever the kid's fault if someone breaks their body safety rules. My friend, who was sitting next to me, was abused by her dad who is now in prison. She sometimes forgets that it wasn't her fault even though I remind her. Now I can tell her that you said it wasn't her fault either and that might help her remember.”

The presentations that we do in schools and communities have a real impact on the lives of the individuals who attend them. We are grateful to have the opportunity to share our knowledge of prevention education and look forward to expanding our reach in the future.

Check out our on-demand webinarsJWRC on-demand webinars

On April 18, more than 100 people registered to watch program manager Alison Feigh’s online presentation, “We need to talk: Pornography.” The presentation is now available as part of our free on-demand webinar library that also includes webinars relevant to advocacy, bullying behavior, corporal punishment, forensic interviewing, prevention and many more topics.

National Runaway Safeline recognizes JRWC

Certificate from National Runaway SafelineJWRC staff members (L to R) Stephanie Randolph, Alison Feigh, and Jane Straub with the certificate of recognition from National Runaway Safeline.

Jacob Wetterling Resource Center was honored to be named National Runaway Safeline’s “Organization of the Month” for the month of April. The mission of the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is to help keep America’s runaway, homeless and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. To learn more about NRS and the important work they do, click here.

Making a difference in the community

Thank you to these schools and organizations for inviting Jacob Wetterling Resource Center to speak with students, parents and communities. Faculty speakers can provide information and training on a wide variety of topics related to prevention and resiliency, including Internet and cell phone safety, bullying and how to talk to a child about safety without fear.

Volunteer highlight: Meet Erin Brumm

JWRC Volunteer: Erin Brumm

Tell us about yourself.
I have lived in Minnesota for the majority of my life. I have been an Edina resident for 17 years. My favorite part about living in Minnesota is that my family is here and I get to spend a lot of time with them. I work for Innovative Sales Solutions. We work in consumer electronics. We sell products and also integrate them into solutions for our customers. I have had the great fortune to travel the world and partner with wonderful people while seeing and being part of other cultures. That is the highlight of my job.

How long have you been volunteering with JWRC?
I have been a victim advocate for about a year now. I also volunteered for the Jacob Wetterling Foundation from 1990-1992 during college at St. Cloud State. I was a criminal justice major and that is when I met Patty Wetterling for the first time, stuffing envelopes in a basement. I would really like to do more if there are opportunities where help is needed.

How did you first become connected to JWRC?
I always hoped to be involved somehow and to help families that experience trauma. I was fortunate enough to learn about a certification program that would allow me to volunteer officially with JWRC as a victim assistance advocate volunteer. I am so very happy that I was able to do so.

What is your favorite part about working in the JWRC staff?
The JWRC staff are some of the most compassionate and dedicated people I have ever met. They have hearts of gold. They have spent time with me, helping me be a better advocate. They are truly dedicated to the mission – wonderful people.

What are you most excited to see happen with JWRC in the coming days, months and years?
I am most excited to see the continued training that is being given in the community on child safety and prevention. I think parents are so afraid to scare their kids with this information, and the way that the information is presented, it is not scary. It’s so valuable. I am also very happy about the victim outreach and assistance that JWRC provides. In the calls I have taken, people need to be heard and to have a safe outlet is priceless. Most of all, I love to see Jacob’s legacy move forward in the work that the center is doing.

For more information about becoming a JWRC volunteer, click here or contact Abbey Lowenstein at amlowens@gundersenhealth.org.

Staff highlight: Welcome new business coordinator, Mandi Lenser

Staff highlight: Mandi Lenser

  • I was born and raised in La Crescent, Minn. I have a big family, including four sisters.
  • I live in La Crescent with my husband and four kids: ages 17, 10, 7 and 1.
  • I love vacationing “off the grid” and recently enjoyed a weeklong backpacking trip in the Boundary Waters over Memorial Day.
  • I enjoy everything outdoors.
  • I have worked in the business relations field for over 10 years.
  • What I love most about my job is working with people and building relationships.
  • My favorite motto is “Be present.”

Mark your calendar:
From Trauma to Resilience: Comprehensive Trauma Informed Care Training, Aug 22

This new training is designed to help you develop the unique skill set needed to support individuals who have experienced adverse childhood experiences and traumatic events.

What participants told us they learned:

  • TIC is a philosophical shift and not a diagnosis for PTSD
  • ACEs are prevalent across all economic levels
  • Trauma manifests into different behaviors than expected
  • Teachers should teach as if all students have ACEs scores
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