JWRC Connection, Volume 1 | Jacob Wetterling Resource Center - Gundersen Health System
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JWRC Connections

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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.


Family Gathering Picnic helps with healing

Como Park

Our Family Gathering Picnic was hosted at beautiful Como Park.

Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (JWRC) is proud to offer opportunities for families with similar circumstances to gather together for support and healing. Jane Straub, victim assistance specialist at JWRC, recounts her experience with this year’s Family Gathering Picnic: For the past 20 years, Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, through a generous donation, has hosted Family Gathering. Family Gathering is an annual event for families who may have a long-term missing loved one, a murdered child or a child recovered after abduction. The goal of this event is to offer support, advocacy and connection to families experiencing similar circumstances.

The response of families is one of gratitude and hope. The families named the event Family Gathering because they feel part of a community together. Another common reply was that they wish they could gather more often, even just socially.

This year we did just that. On Sunday, June 25, we organized the first annual Family Gathering Picnic at Como Park in St. Paul, Minn. with more than 40 in attendance. We cooked hamburgers and bratwurst and played games with other families who understand grief, loss, searching and recovery.

We are very thankful to offer this opportunity to families and feel honored to play a part in their healing.

Lace up your shoes:
Running HOME for Jacob 5K is Oct. 21

Running HOME for Jacob 5K

Runners wait for the start of last year’s Running HOME for Jacob 5k at Lake
Phalen Park, St. Paul, Minn.

Grab a pair of sneakers and stretch your legs because JWRC is warming up for the 2nd annual Running HOME (Hope for Our Missing and Exploited) for Jacob 5K. We hope you join us on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Lake Phalen Park in St. Paul, Minn. for this inspiring event. Our goal is to take our pain and sadness and turn those feelings into a day of community, hope and prevention. We want to raise awareness to the issues of safety, and come together at the starting line with a unified purpose to create a world where kids can grow up free from harm. In addition to the one mile children’s race and the 5K run/walk, we will have many activities for all to enjoy. Click here for more information and to register for this very special event.

Thank you to our 2nd annual Running HOME for Jacob Sponsors!

JWRC 5K sponsors

Just For Kids Foundation continues its support of JWRC, honors Jacob

Stone memorial in honor of Jacob Wetterling

(From left to right) J4K board member Brian Maciej, Trevor Wetterling, Jerry Wetterling, Aaron Larson, and J4K board president Scott Maciej gather by the stone memorial in honor of Jacob.

On Aug. 14 the Just For Kids Foundation (J4K) hosted its annual charity golf tournament at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove, Minn. J4K is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 with the mission of improving the quality of life for Minnesota children. This year the primary beneficiary of the $30,000 raised was Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. In addition, J4K donated a stone memorial monument that honors the 11 traits we associate with the way Jacob lived his life. The monument will stand on the first tee box of the par 3 course as a reminder to keep Jacob’s hope alive by treating everyone with fairness, generosity and kindness. A big thank you to the event organizers, volunteers and J4K for their continuous dedication to the children of Minnesota.

New office, new opportunities for staff, families and friends


Patty and Jerry Wetterling with the volunteers from TPC ROSE at JWRC’s open house on August 29th.

We, the staff at JWRC, were proud to welcome families and friends to our new office space during an open house on Aug. 29th. Located just down the hall from the previous location, the new space has much more to offer the families and communities we serve. The newly furnished meeting room provides a living-room style setting for smaller groups like families in need of services.

A large, open room is the focal point of the office, and staff is thrilled to offer in-house training sessions, documentary screenings, traumainformed yoga and a host of other events to bring people together. The importance of this space was illustrated on Sept. 27 when JWRC hosted its first in-house training, From Trauma to Resilience: Comprehensive Trauma-Informed Care.

JWRCF fingerprints

Attendees at JWRC’s open house had the opportunity to “leave their mark” on a tree made up of fingerprints. Each “leaf” represents a life that has been touched by JWRC.

Guests who attended the open house enjoyed refreshments donated and served by generous volunteers from TPC ROSE, a group of philanthropic women committed to making a difference in our community.

If you would like a tour of the new space, or for more information about upcoming JWRC training sessions or events, contact Abbey Lowenstein, community engagement coordinator, at amlowens@gundersenhealth.org.

Jane Straub educates professionals and communities about Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care

Jane Straub, Victim Assistance Specialist, trains a group of professionals on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care at our first ever JWRC in-house training session on Sept. 27th.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma Informed Care (TIC) are two topics that we strongly believe everyone needs to know about. That is why we created a new training called From Trauma to Resilience: Comprehensive Trauma Informed Care.

Jane Straub has had the opportunity to provide this training across the United States, most recently to both the Choctaw Nation and Kids' Space Child Advocacy Center in Oklahoma. To learn more or to attend please click here.

Halloween safety tips

Have a safe and happy Halloween

Follow these simple steps to have a fun and safe Halloween:

    • Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick so you can be spotted in the dark.
    • Only approach homes with lights on inside and outside.
    • Always stay on the front step outside the home when going door-to-door.
    • Use the buddy system and leave no trick-or-treater behind.
    • Wait until candy has been sorted through and inspected before eating; throw out any opened or spoiled treats.
    • Have fun!

To learn more about this and all available educational resources please click here.

Volunteer highlight: Meet Kim Schneider

Tell us a little about yourself—your career, how long you have lived in the community, what your favorite part about living in the Twin Cities might be?
I was born in St. Paul and lived most of my life there (besides college) until I crossed the river in 1999. I’ve been a Minneapolitan ever since. We spent one year living in Portland, while my husband was doing his fellowship. I fell in love with the city, the people and living in a place where you don’t need a car to get around.

How did you first become connected to Jacob Wetterling Resource Center?
I first connected with JWRC through Alison Feigh. I coordinate all speakers at our boys’ school and had invited Alison to come and speak. She was the first speaker we had where multiple parents came up to me after and said, “We need to have her come back every year.” She is such an impressive speaker and delivers such an important message. I wanted to find a way to become more involved so I began volunteering on a weekly basis.

Kim Schneider vacation

Kim Schneider with her family on vacation.

What is your favorite part about working in the JWRC office?
The people! Without question, it is the warm and friendly staff who keep me coming back. Despite working on such difficult and often heartbreaking issues, everyone in the JWRC office has an incredibly positive attitude and great sense of humor. I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing group, if only for a few hours a week.

For more information on becoming a JWRC volunteer, contact Stephanie Randolph at smrandol@gundersenhealth.org.

Staff highlight: Meet Abbey

Abbey Lowenstein

Abbey Lowenstein recently joined Jacob Wetterling Resource Center staff as community engagement coordinator. She is so happy to have the opportunity to put her enthusiasm and passion for engaging our communities to work with our goal of protecting kids from harm.

Five fun facts about Abbey:

  1. Abbey was born and raised in La Crosse, Wis.
  2. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
  1. Abbey lived in New York City for three and a half years.
  2. She loves any kind of theatrical performance and has been involved in theater since she was 7 years old.
  3. Her favorite animal is a llama.

To learn more about how to support JWRC and our mission to end child maltreatment in all forms through education and prevention please contact: Abbey Lowenstein at amlowens@gundersenhealth.org or Phone: (651) 714 4673

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