PEOPLE & PLACES - March 2019

Mower County group changes name, drops state affiliation

The Arc Mower County is now LIFE Mower County, an acronym for Learning, Inclusion, Fun and Empowerment. The change was announced last month and follows major decisions by the organization’s board of directors. The organization is based in Austin and serves its surrounding area.

The change means that after 40 years, the Mower County group will not be affiliated with the statewide Arc organization. The change comes more than one year after groups statewide merged into one larger organization.

Minnesota had about a dozen Arc groups. A few groups along with Mower County have struck out on their own. For Mower County, local management and control were seen as ways to have a stronger local presence and better manage resources. Flexibility in determining the organization course and ability to better meet local needs are also issues. A new name and new mission statement are also seen as ways to no longer have a name that has the dated “R word.”

Dawn Helgeson will continue as executive director of the organization. LIFE Mower County will offer the same programs and activities it always has, including outings, activities and its popular annual rose sale.

“Our programming won’t change,” Helgeson told the Austin Herald. “It’s just the name and it really stands for learning, inclusion, fun and empowerment. There are so many more opportunities for people now than back then. They have so many abilities to share with the community.”

“So many things have changed in the 66 years since the start of the Arc of Mower County,” she said. “We want to let people know how we work to empower people, teach them new things and all sorts of life skills. What we’re doing now with advocacy, recreation, education and youth programs, is something we want to keep pressing forward. We are still here to empower people with disabilities to have a great life.”

The name and other changes are supported by the group’s membership.

This month Helgeson marks her 30th anniversary with the organization. The Arc Mower County welcomed her as a bookkeeper/office manager on March 7, 1989. She became executive director in 1995.

 

Guild hires services director

St. Paul-based nonprofit, Guild Incorporated, which helps people with mental illness lead quality lives by providing integrated treatment and services announced the hiring of Beth Scheetz, LICSW, as residential services director including intensive residential treatment and crisis stabilization services. As part of this role, Scheetz will oversee development, implementation, and provision of services in the new Scott County crisis stabilization and treatment center slated for the city of Savage.

Scheetz has more than 17 years of experience in social service, mental health, and health care. She most recently oversaw the operations, development, and programming of three community-based teams serving over 1,200 adults living with mental illness as director of community mental health at Touchstone. During her career, Scheetz has developed and executed agency plans and provided strategic leadership for non-profit mental health organizations. Evaluating program performance, implementing program and process improvements, increasing quality and continuity of care, and achieving positive individual outcomes have bench-marked her professional performance.

She has demonstrated talent in developing people, managing change, and positively impacting the delivery of quality mental health services to vulnerable populations. She holds a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas.

 

ILICIL announces promotion

Independent Lifestyles, Inc. a Center for Independent Living (ILICIL) of Sauk Rapids is proud to announce the promotion of Travis Moret to Life Skills Coach Coordinator of the newly implemented ILICIL Stearns County Housing Program.

He has been a key player in the continued development of the housing FLEX time program successfully merging time management strategies to meet the needs of consumers served.

Moret also has been instrumental developing effective finance and budgeting strategies for successful independent living for consumers served.