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November Newsletter


I hope everyone reading this newsletter had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I certainly did as I had the opportunity to see some family that I don’t often see along with the usual cast of characters. Healthcare and childcare are the dominant topics this month. First, a note about health insurance. I am excited to report that the Minnesota Healthcare Consortium (the group that Tri-Valley gets health insurance from through the Northwest Service Coop) is making some progress on some strategies that I believe will slow the growth of our premiums. There is much work left to do but early returns on what has already been done are encouraging. Also related to health care, I am part of a work group with the national Community Action Partnership. The group is studying the intersection between the work we do and how it impacts the social determinants of health and health outcomes for people in our communities. I mention this as the topic will come up again. I very much believe a big part of the future of Community Action will be related to this work. Regarding childcare, there is a great collaboration brewing in Twin Valley that aims to bring more quality childcare to the eastern part of Norman County. The collaborative partners include the Norman County East school district, Norman-Mahnomen Public Health, the cities of Gary and Twin Valley, MN, Signature Care, Tri-Valley Head Start and Child Care Aware, and family childcare providers. Really cool stuff! Congratulations to all employees for doing your part to ensure Tri-Valley worksites are as safe as we can make them. Due to your efforts and the leadership of our Safety Committee, Tri-Valley Experience Modification Factor for Worker’s Compensation is below 1.0 for the first time since 2001! That means we are slightly better than average and therefore will see decreased insurance rates. Keep it up! Congratulations to Laurie Coleman for being named by Governor Walz to the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care! This appointment is a testament to Laurie’s long commitment to children and their families. More details are in this newsletter. I was asked to attend a meeting this month by a couple of gentlemen who I got to know a bit over a year ago. They felt I had extended a professional kindness to them in the past and wanted to return that kindness to Tri-Valley. They are currently working on our behalf. No matter what comes of that work, their gesture is a powerful reminder of how we must try to ‘pay it forward’ to help sustain others who do work similar to ours. I know I left my meeting with the two young men walking on air. I wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas.

In This Issue:

In This Issue:

* CEO News and Notes * Coleman Appointed to State Advisory Council * Martinez Earns Family Service Credential * Upcoming Events * Danube Parent Meeting * Princess and Super Hero Day in Elgin * Foster Grandparent In-Service * Head Start, Child and Family Programs Focus Group * St. Cloud Center Parent Meeting * St. Cloud Center Events * Senior Programs Attends Health Fair

* Grafton Center Says Thank You * Open Enrollment for MNsure Closes on Dec. 23 * Wacky Wednesday * House for Sale in Warren, MN * Staff Attend Crookston Chamber Celebration * Staff Attend ChildPlus Training * Lee Presents at a Conference in Richmond, VA * St. Cloud Center Hosts Turkey Parade and Race * Community Assistance Attends Information Fair * Tri-Valley Board of Directors

Coleman (Tri-Valley Head Start Child and Family Programs Director) Appointed to State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care Walz, Flanagan Announce Appointments to Advisory Councils Focused on Improving Lives of Children. [ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan announced appointments to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council and the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care. These appointments are supported by Executive Order 19-34, re-launching the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and placing children at the center of government, and state statute (section 124D.141). The Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council and the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care will make recommendations to support community engagement and work of carrying out Executive Order 19-34 across state government and the Children’s Cabinet. “Minnesota should be the best place in the country for each and every child to grow up,” said Governor Walz. “When we focus on improving equity and outcomes for our littlest Minnesotans, we lift up all of us. I am grateful for the service of these leaders – representing youth, teachers and schools, researchers, counties and tribes, and leaders of many walks of life.” “Too often, race, zip code, and income determine the trajectory of our kids’ lives,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “This council – made up of parents, advocates, teachers, school districts, county and tribal administrators, leaders and voices from the private and public sector, communities of color, and Greater Minnesota – will help our charge to place children at the center of government and commit to prioritizing equitable outcomes so that all Minnesotans can reach their full potential.” Extensive outreach and conversation went in to the appointment process for these positions over the last three months, with nearly 200 people applying to serve. “I am very encouraged by the Governor and Lt. Governor’s commitment to children and youth in Minnesota, and I am honored to be a part of the Children’s Cabinet so we can make transformative change in the lives of children,” said Bharti Wahi, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota and appointee to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council. “No child’s opportunity to actualize their fullest potential should be determined by their geography, economic status or race. I am ready to dig in to the work.” “I look forward to collaborating with and advising to the Children’s Cabinet on strategies to improve the lives of Minnesota youth – especially lifting up the perspective of tribes and prioritizing Native youth to ensure all children have an opportunity to succeed,” said Leroy Staples Fairbanks, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Council District III Representative and appointee to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council. “My entire work and personal life has centered around children. Starting my professional life as a student teacher in Head Start, later as a kindergarten and ECFE teacher, leading to teaching in an early childhood program at the college level provided me with a strong base of understanding as to what children need to support their healthy development and experience learning success,” said Lynn Haglin, Vice President and KIDS PLUS Director at the Northland Foundation and appointee to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council. “My hope is that I can bring voices from Greater Minnesota to the conversations that will take place within the Council to truly help make our state united around all of our children.” For the first time, young leaders will be included on the advisory body informing the work of the Children’s Cabinet. “I am excited to see the insights and opinions of others on what they can change or improve the lives of kids and young people like me,” said Jazzy Eubanks, a high school student at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts and appointee to the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Council. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan announced the following appointments. State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care Supported by the Office of the Minnesota Governor Minnesota Statute 124D.141 and Public Law 110-134 Laurie Coleman – Erskine, MN Member Effective: November 18, 2019 Term Expires: January 2, 2023 Vacant

Danube Parent Meeting

Martinez Earns Family Service Credential The Danube center would like to announce some exciting news! Clarissa Martinez (Recruiter Family Advocate), has now earned her Family Service Credential. Congratulations, Clarissa, on this achievement!

Upcoming Calendar Items: * Dec. 7 - RXII Policy Council meeting * Dec. 7 - Red Lake Falls Open House * Dec. 8 - Red Lake Falls Open House * Dec. 12 - Tri-Valley Board meeting * Dec. 13 - Canadian Pacific Holiday Train * Dec. 18 - Farm Stress Management Forum * Dec. 23 - Last day of MNsure Open Enrollment * Dec. 25 - Christmas Day

The Danube center held their final parent meeting of the season. The focus of this meeting was children’s developmental levels and what you should expect your child to typically be able to do as well as nutritional meal planning on a budget. Sam (Recruiter Family Advocate), presented a ReadyRosie lesson on fine and gross motor skills. Then DeeDee (Education Specialist), presented on the developmental levels of children in a variety of areas using a wheel parents can keep at home. Next Cara (Education Coach), talked to parents about how to help children at meals and what conversations to have as you eat. After that Jami (Nutrition Services Manager), explained how families can do meal planning using a budget and other very helpful advice about nutritional values of foods. Center staff ended the parent meeting by sharing some recipes, and ingredients for a snack families could take home called “Ants on a Log.” The ingredients were supplied in a handy reusable shopping bag that said Bon Appetit. Also included in the bag was a table place setting for each child in the family at his/her developmental level. There were infant bowls and spoons, toddler silverware and plate and cup, as well as preschool silverware and plate and cup. It was an exciting night for families to listen and learn from such great presenters on these interesting and practical topics. Thank you to all families for attending these events this season!

Princess and Super Hero Day in Elgin The Elgin center held a Princess and Super Hero Day in October. The children were able to dress up in their favorite princess and super hero clothing. Some of the staff also dressed up to take part in the event!

Head Start, Child and Family Programs Holds Focus Group Staff and parents from Elgin, Elysian, Monticello, Owatonna, Rogers, St. Cloud, and Winnebago met to give feedback on Head Start, Child and Family Programs. Focus groups are held every year as part of the Head Start Self-Assessment process. Thank you to all who participated!

St. Cloud Center Parent Meeting Foster Grandparent In-Service The Foster Grandparent volunteers gathered for an in-service training at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston on Friday, November 1. In the morning, the Foster Grandparents got to learn from Crookston School Resource Officer Don Rasicot, Crookston Schools Superintendent Jeromy Olson, and Special Education Director Kathy Stromstad. The speakers covered a variety of topics such as school safety, active shooters, building relationships with students and families, and special education information. In the afternoon, the Foster Grandparents learned from Katya Zapada about cultural competency by sharing her knowledge and passion with the group.

The St. Cloud center hosted a parent meeting on Friday, November 1. Graciela (Center Manager) opened the meeting and explained the enrolling process for next year with the parents. Jennifer (Nurse Assistant) shared educational information with the group about flu protection and Amber (Education Supervisor) gave her education update. Liz and Marilyn (Recruiter and Family Advocates) presented a ReadyRosie workshop entitled “Parents as Partners”. The workshop focused on building a great team with collaboration between parents, children, and staff. Those that attended got to help decide topics and activities for the next parent meeting. Food, gifts, and awards were shared as the group celebrated seeing more male involvement in all the center’s activities!

St. Cloud Center Events The St. Cloud center celebrated several events in the past month. Children and staff participated in the Great Apple Crunch, the center’s fall festival, and a pink out apparel day to raise awareness for breast cancer awareness month. Staff, parents, and children all had lots of fun participating in all the activities!

Senior Programs Attends Health Fair Kristal (Senior Programs Coordinator) attended the Naytahwaush Health Fair on Wednesday, October 30. She visited with those in attendance and share information on the Foster Grandparent and Caring Companion Programs.

Are you seeking a career with purpose? Tri-Valley is a rapidly growing organization and is always looking for qualified employees; we seek highly motivated, talented candidates to join our staff. Tri-Valley offers a supportive work-environment and a competitive benefits package to our employees. Apply today at Tri-Valley! https://careers.tvoc.org/

Wacky Sock Wednesday

Grafton Center Says Thank You for Another Great Year The Migrant and Seasonal Head Start season has come to a close at the Grafton center. A big thank you to all the new and returning families that have allowed Tri-Valley staff to serve their children at the center this summer. Center staff would also like to thank all the families that helped out and sent in in-kind forms, volunteered, or donated items to the center. A special thank you to Andrea Barbosa who has the most in-kind for the season!


For more information call Nancy Ramon at


Wednesday, November 13 was Wacky Wednesday at Tri-Valley. The theme was Wacky Sock Day! Do you collect off-the-wall socks or have a favorite pair of wacky socks? If so, please feel free to share. The next Wacky Wednesday is December 11. The theme is Holiday Spirit so let's see what kind of agency spirit we have! Stay tuned.

Head Start Staff Attend ChildPlus Training Scramble

Transit Staff Attend Crookston Chamber Celebration and Awards Night Cindy Gjerswold (Assistant Director of Transportation Programs), Elizabeth Hensrud (Transportation Fleet Maintenance Coordinator) and their spouses represented Tri-Valley Opportunity Council at the Crookston Chamber and Visitor's Bureau “Rockin’ Chamber Fest” Celebration and Awards Night on Saturday, November 16. The event honored individuals and businesses that have made an impact on the Crookston community in the past year and was held at the Crookston Inn.

Missy Janssen (Data Systems Specialist), Tami Byklum (Health Services Specialist), Tara Morrison (Program Design Manager), Christina Vega (Education & Disability Services Manager), and Avril Kruchten (Family & Community Services Manager) had the opportunity to attend the 2019 ChildPlus Training & Consulting Scramble in Las Vegas, Nevada. A four day, session-packed conference designed to learn new skills, exchange tips of the database along with a great networking environment with other Head Start Agencies to motivate & empower staff working within their service areas. The group is pictured with David McMurrain (President of ChildPlus), Amy Corkery (Director of Training and Consulting at ChildPlus), and Chip (Official Childplus Mascot).

Lee Presents at Health and Family Institute Conference Jami Lee (Child Nutrition Services Manager), hosted a workshop at the Health and Family Institute Conference in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday, November 13. Her presentation entitled “Role of Farm and Early Care in Preventing Obesity in Children” discussed how improving the Early Care and Education environment is vital to the prevention of obesity in children under the age of five and how Early Care facilities may directly influence what children consume which helps develop a foundation of healthy habits for life. In addition, the workshop answered questions on how to start up a Farm to Early Care initiative, provide next steps for those who already have one, give family engagement ideas, and curricula to run a successful Farm to Early Care program. The Health & Family Services Institute is held annually in the fall. It is for Head Start Directors, Health Managers and Family Services Staff.

St. Cloud Center Hosts Turkey Parade and Race The St. Cloud center held a turkey parade followed by a turkey race on Friday, November 22. The children dressed up in their handmade turkey costumes for the parade and all looked outstanding! Following the parade, the turkey race was held. First and second place finishers received turkeys and third place finishers received fruit baskets. Thanks to this event, more center families are going to be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner this year. The St. Cloud center hopes to make this a yearly event!

Community Assistance Programs Attends Hunger and Homelessness Information Fair Margie (Community Services Advocate) and Tatyana (Community Assistance Coordinator) attended the Hunger and Homelessness Information Fair in Grand Forks, ND on Thursday, November 21. The event was open to the community and those experiencing needs. Services included housing, food, transportation, veteran services, and more and was hosted by the Community Agency Network Association of Grand Forks / East Grand Forks.

Profile for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.

2019 Tri-Valley November Newsletter  

2019 Tri-Valley November Newsletter

2019 Tri-Valley November Newsletter  

2019 Tri-Valley November Newsletter