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Staff & Volunteer Spotlight

Our Staff and Volunteer Spotlights are a chance for you to get to know some of the individuals who work tirelessly to help others in our communities as employees and volunteers of Someplace Safe.

November 2017 Staff Spotlight: Rachel Peterson

Rachel Peterson
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I have been with Someplace Safe since October 2015. Beginning my third year. I started as a Regional Crime Victim Advocate, traveling, and working in the 9 counties and 10 advocacy offices that Someplace Safe has for close to 1.5 years. I then worked in one of our multi-person offices in Douglas County, and currently am the Crime Victim Advocate in Stevens County and at the University of Minnesota, Morris.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Anything by the water, or I would love to live over in Europe again!
  • I'm happiest when: I am by or on the water and spending time with my family
  • What I fear most: Losing family that is very special to me
  • I'm proudest of: Paying off my last college loan before the 10 years was up! My family!
  • People would be surprised to know: : I am related to a classic rock singer!
  • Pet peeves: When paper, last copy, or something isn't replaced and you go to get one and it is gone. If you take it replace it!
  • Favorite Song: Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse. Actually anything by Lifehouse.
  • Favorite Movie: A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger
  • Favorite Book: "Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia" by Carmen Bin Laden
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Favorite Vacation was going to Costa Rica with my husband. (His first international trip, our first trip together internationally) My semester abroad to Segovia, Spain and fall break trip to Italy while overseas. Dream Vacation would be to Bora Bora!
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Providing navigation, options, safety, education, awareness to not only victims of crime, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, but to the community as being a much-needed resource that I can't imagine what people would do if we were not here! It means having people breathe (exhale) for the first time in years, smile, and laugh.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I would like the broader community to know one that Domestic Violence, Sexual Assaults, Sex/Human/Labor trafficking, Elder abuse, Child Abuse they exist and happen each day in the area that Someplace Safe serves. These things happen to people young and old, rich, and poor, people with jobs and without, people who are Doctors, Lawyers, and people who work in retail or at fast food places. It affects everyone in a community. I would also want them to know that we may not experience the trauma that law enforcement or fire departments do first hand, but the stories we hear from our victims or when we take a call on the crisis line and the line cuts out it affects us. We care about what we do and the people we help.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: Helping the victims we serve with their various situations is a rewarding experience! I work with some amazing people who have such a passion for what they do, and it is great to be surrounded by that energy of wanting to change the world for the better!
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Getting to work in all the different offices to see how things are done and working with the advocates in each. 2. Helping people with their situations and having a positive outcome for them is very rewarding! 3. Each of the advocates that I work with have such unique strengths, talents, and passion for the work we do and I love being around that! We all work together to change the world and make it better!

October 2017 Staff Spotlight: Shawn Thurston

Shawn Thurston
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 2 1/2 years at the Otter Tail County Perham Advocacy Office
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: You do not have to be perfect to be Amazing!!!!
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Honestly, I love the community that I live and serve in. My children have blossomed sine moving to the lakes country.
  • I'm happiest when: I am happiest when I am surrounded by family.
  • What I fear most: Severe summer storms at night.
  • I'm proudest of: I am proudest of my 3 sons and my Grandson. They are my guys and I am so proud of the strong individuals that they are growing to be.
  • People would be surprised to know: I love to sing. I used to sing all the time, sporting events, weddings....Competitions...anywhere that I could....I was offered a recording contract when I was 19. Now I just sing for myself.
  • Pet peeves: I strongly dislike when anyone eats with their mouth open.
  • Favorite Song: I am a lover of all music so it is tough to pick just one song.... A few of them are I'll Be, What Matters and I Could Not Ask for More ... all by Edwin McCain.
  • Favorite Movie: "The Guys"
  • Favorite Book: I love to read... I again cannot choose just one book so I will say...my favorite book is one that I can totally get list in the experience. If I feel disappointed when it is over because I didn't want it to end, then it is a favorite.
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: I would like to go on a cruise with my sons and grandson.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: My work at Someplace Safe means a lot to me. It has given me the opportunity to grow as a person, to help others to empower themselves in their lives and has given me the opportunity to bring education an awareness to the communities that I serve.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: This work is not about "saving" people, it is about helping others to empower themselves. To help them stay safe, to be more aware of what is going on around them. It is about helping to bring education and awareness to our communities and to our youth. To empower others to make good healthy decisions in their lives. It is about providing opportunities and helping to create safer communities. I am proud to be a part of Someplace Safe and its mission.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: I would have to say I love being given the opportunity to work with community and Diverse populations.... I love helping others to empower themselves.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: I would say that the top three highlights of my job would be opportunity to engage in the communities that I serve. The opportunity to bring education and awareness ... I love public speaking and the staff at Someplace Safe is AMAZING... and full of knowledge.

September 2017 Volunteer Spotlight (1 of 2): LeeAnn Sticha

LeeAnn Sticha
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 2 years - Someplace Safe Alexandria Thrift Store - clothing area and greeting cards area
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: FROG - Fully Rely on God
  • Favorite or dream place to live: My current home on Lake Darling
  • I'm happiest when: I'm with my family.
  • I'm proudest of: My husband, daughter and son
  • People would be surprised to know: I worked for 34 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Favorite Song: too many to list
  • Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music
  • Favorite Book: The Bible
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: The trip to Europe with my husband and friends last summer.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: A community of support for victims of crime.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: You can help Someplace Safe in many ways by: volunteering, donating money, donating items for the thrift store, and shopping at the thrift store.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: Promoting the mission of Someplace Safe, helping the community, and helping customers

September 2017 Volunteer Spotlight #2 (2 of 2): Tammy Hintermeister

Tammy Hintermeister
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: One year at the Someplace Safe Alexandria Thrift Store - clothing room
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Do unto others as you would have done to you.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Big Island Hawaii
  • I'm happiest when: I'm spending time with my family.
  • What I fear most: Fire
  • I'm proudest of: My family
  • People would be surprised to know: I love to Roller Blade
  • Pet peeves: People who text while driving swerving all over the road.
  • Favorite Song: "Hallelujah"
  • Favorite Movie: The Shack
  • Favorite Book: "The Shack"
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Hawaii
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe is very important to me. I love helping others.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I would like Alexandria to learn how much Someplace Safe does for the community and surrounding areas.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: Doing something that helps other in need.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Helping others 2. Working with clothing 3. Working with the Someplace Safe family

August 2017 Spotlight: Charolotte Anne

Charolotte Anne
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 2 years
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: "Do small things with great love"
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Spain
  • I'm happiest when: When I am spending time with family and friends.
  • What I fear most: Getting stuck in an elevator.
  • I'm proudest of: I was in a documentary called "Finding Jenn's Voice" that brings awareness to potentially homicidal relationships.
  • People would be surprised to know: I played the viola for 10 years.
  • Pet peeves: Smudges/fingerprints on my computer.
  • Favorite Song: Yellow Rose of Texas.
  • Favorite Movie: Wizard of Oz
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Spain
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: We help create a safe place for everyone.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Advocates offer support to victim/survivors of crime. We offer them information and help them find resources for their specific needs. At times this can be very heartwrenching. It is important that advocates be understanding, non-judgmental and a confidential outlet/safe place for victims/survivors to talk.

July 2017 Staff Spotlight: Sarah Moulton

Sarah Moulton
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I was a volunteer for two years, and now I am employed part-time at the Someplace Safe Thrift Store in Morris.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: All I can do is my absolute best each day. If I have done that, then it was a successful day!
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Right here in Minnesota, preferably where it is woodsy.
  • I'm happiest when: I am walking our dog on the path at Pomme de Terre park with my husband, especially at sunset.
  • What I fear most: That humanity will choose hate, war and greed over love, peace, and equality.
  • I'm proudest of: My efforts to overcome my own insecurities and denounce society's expectations. Also, being a high school teacher.
  • People would be surprised to know: I am obsessed with cats.
  • Pet peeves: Judgmental people.
  • Favorite Song: "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King
  • Favorite Movie: "My Neighbor Totoro" from director Hayao Miyazaki
  • Favorite Book: "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: A tour of South America, especially Machu Picchu.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: The organization means people in my community have access to help when they need it most. The Thrift Store means access to quality second hand items for people of all income levels, and less "stuff" in dumps--overall, Someplace Safe means a positive impact on humans and the environment. And I'm all about that.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Maintaining a successful non-profit is not easy, and it takes a lot of people to make it work well for those in need. Do whatever you can to support organizations like Someplace Safe, that are working hard everyday to make our communities and our world a better place.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: I enjoy coming to work and know that the time I am spending there is directly supporting victims in my community. I am proud to be working for an organization that serves people in need. And the people I work with are great!
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Getting to know people in my community 2. Getting to spread the word about how awesome Someplace Safe is 3. Finding awesome, unique items at the Thrift Store!

June 2017 Staff Spotlight: Sierra Kanten

Sierra Kanten
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 2 years! Crime Victim Advocate for Big Stone County
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Be Kind to one another
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Big Sky, Montana
  • I'm happiest when: At home with my family and friends
  • What I fear most: tornadoes
  • People would be surprised to know: I have competitively show horses for 18 years
  • Pet peeves: People chomping on their gum
  • Favorite Song: James Arthur - Say You Won't Let Go
  • Favorite Movie: Titanic
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe means such a great deal to me, not only is it my place of work but something that I am very passionate about. It means helping people in time of struggle and praising people in success. It means giving someone a new outlook on life and making a huge impact on them as a person. It's a worthwhile cause and I am proud to be a part of it.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: I enjoy being able to help people every day, and the flexibility that this job allows.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: Helping people, flexible schedule, great co-workers

May 2017 Spotlight: Staisha Bethel

Staisha Bethel
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 9 Months at Fergus Falls Parenting Time Center as Emilyn's Assistant
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: You never realize how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: My favorite place is Duluth Minnesota. It is so incredibly beautiful there.
  • I'm happiest when: I am with my kids and Fiance spending time together as a family.
  • What I fear most: Losing it all.
  • I'm proudest of: My children and who they are growing to be.
  • Favorite Song: Fight Song
  • Favorite Movie: The New Beauty and the Beast
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: A trip/honeymoon in Hawaii
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe means to me as safe fresh start. It will forever have a special place in my heart.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: It helps people in the worst times of their lives. It gives them hope and strength. It is so much more than people are aware. The amount of tings that all of Someplace Safe does is truly amazing. They are such a tremendous help to this community we are so lucky to have this kind of organization.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: The staff is amazing; they make it enjoyable to come to work everyday. Helping with Fundraisers. It really is rewarding to be a part of it. Getting to be a part of this great organization that has a very close special place in my heart.

April 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Nortman

Mary Nortman
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Since July 2016
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: "I can do anything for 30 miutes" (or 60 or a day!)
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Wherever my husband is!
  • I'm happiest when: Im with my daughter and grandson, shopping, or volunteering.
  • What I fear most: Loud angry people who in invade my personal space.
  • I'm proudest of: My daughter who is working on her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and my grandson who participates in Model U.N., Quizbowl, and soccer.
  • People would be surprised to know: That I have a blue streak in my hair and that I have read on the "Clothing Optional" deck of a cruise ship to avoid some people when I was on too long of a cruise. I knew they wouldn't follow.
  • Favorite Song: Fur Eloise
  • Favorite Book: The Power of One
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Alaska with my husband, coming true this summer!
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe is a place where I can help abused children, help women pick up the pieces, and work with the greatest colleagues. It means looking forward to coming in to volunteer Monday - Friday, and missing it on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: Direct Advocacy with survivors of abuse (and those who don't think they are), Womens Empowerment Group with Crime Victim Advocate Susan K., Assisting with the Tea Fundraiser

March 2017 Staff Spotlight: Heidi Sampson

Heidi Sampson
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 1 year as Executive Assistant
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Dream big.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: On a Minnesota lake.
  • I'm happiest when: I'm spending time with my family.
  • I'm proudest of: my son
  • People would be surprised to know: I was born in Colorado.
  • Pet peeves: When people continually do things incorrectly even after they've been told/shown the correct way.
  • Favorite Song: Anything by Florida Georgia Line
  • Favorite Movie: Varsity Blues
  • Favorite Book: Anything by Elin Hilderbrand
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: My favorite vacation was Nashville with my husband and friends last year.

February 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Arlene Cossette

Arlene Cossette
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: About 4 years
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Don't give up. When or if someone tells you that you can't do something, just do it. I took a chance and went back to school and got a 4.0 in my first semester.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: My dream place is Denver, Colorado. I like to explore the mountains. I also like Washington D.C., Seattle, or Montana.
  • I'm happiest when: I am visiting with friends and family. I also like to travel to travel to Washington D.C., Denver, Colorado; Whitefish, Montana.
  • What I fear most: Getting too old to drive where I want to go, and when I can't leave when I want to.
  • I'm proudest of: Attending NDSCS when I was an older than average student. Myself and others like me are used as examples at Job Service when they encourage people my age to return to school.
  • People would be surprised to know: My favorite class is history.
  • Pet peeves: When someone chews food with their mouth open and talks.
  • Favorite Song: Amazing Grace
  • Favorite Movie: Tammy
  • Favorite Book: The series written by Lorraine Snelling which is about the history of our area. It is about the settlers coming here and not being able to speak English.
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Going to England or France
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe has meaning to me. It sometimes doesn't take much to help someone. Sometimes a difference is made in someone's life even with a small amount of help or advice.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: Getting to know the staff and other volunteers, seeing the needs of clients being met, helping with the Purple Power fundraiser. It is hard work, but the most fun.

January 2017 Staff Spotlight: Donna Ortendahl

Donna Ortendahl
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Have worked here since April 25th, 2016. I am a Crime Victim Advocate
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: I will believe you until you give me a reason not to.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Hawaii
  • I'm happiest when: I am spending time with my family. I love nature & enjoy traveling to different places.
  • What I fear most: Losing the people I love.
  • I'm proudest of: My children
  • People would be surprised to know: I am the youngest of 9 kids in my family.
  • Pet peeves: I hate to be lied to!!!!
  • Favorite Song: Anything sung by the group Def Leppard
  • Favorite Movie: Titanic
  • Favorite Book: Romance Novels
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: When we went to Maui, Hawaii & stayed at a 5 STAR hotel on the beach!
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe is a place that offers people in a crisis or transitional time, a sanctuary to get a helping hand to bridge the gap until they can get where they need to be.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: What we do here is so very important & we will not stop fighting to put an end to violence in our communities. We are committed to those we serve & will help them get the resources they are in need of. We will connect them to people that will help be of service to them & make them feel safe again.

December 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Alan Lindahl

Alan Lindahl
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: At the Someplace Safe Parenting Time Center, and at their Waffle Fundraiser.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Anywhere with my family.
  • I'm happiest when: I am with my family.
  • What I fear most: Being buried alive.
  • I'm proudest of: Being able to move forward with my life.
  • People would be surprised to know: Even though I look tough, I am the sweetest person. I have a soft heart.
  • Pet peeves: When people call into work and bad drivers.
  • Favorite Song: Megadeth - Sweating Bullets
  • Favorite Movie: Idiocracy
  • Favorite Book: The Wheel of Time by Robert JOrdan
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Rome
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: What Someplace Safe means to me, is that is a safe place for children and families. It is help and support when it is needed most.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: That is does so much more for people then what most know.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: Volunteering alongside my friends and family, seeing the appreciation of the volunteering, and meeting new people.

November 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Ashley Wiertzema

Ashley Wiertzema
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: At the Someplace Safe Parenting Time Center, and at their waffle fundraiser.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Do to others as you would have them do to you
  • Favorite or dream place to live: anywhere with my family
  • I'm happiest when: I am with my family
  • What I fear most: being buried alive
  • I'm proudest of: being able to Move forward with my life
  • People would be surprised to know: even though I look tough. I am the sweetest of person. I have a soft heart.
  • Pet peeves: When people call into work, bad drivers
  • Favorite Song: Megadeth - Sweating Bullets
  • Favorite Movie: Idiocracy
  • Favorite Book: The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Rome
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: What Someplace Safe means to me, is that it is a safe place for children and families. It is help and support when it is needed the most.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: That it does so much more for people then what most know.

October 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Chelsea Nelson

Chelsea Nelson
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: A year and some change
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough
  • Favorite or dream place to live: I can’t wait to build a home with my future family, surrounded by our children and animals.
  • I'm happiest when: I get to let go of the world’s problems: when I’m dancing, riding my horses, running around with my dog, or cruising across a lake.
  • What I fear most: That society won’t change, that the idea of hurting someone else can still be justified, that children remain in dangerous homes because systems fail them over and over again. I fear that we have become so desensitized to violence, that even a victim’s death won’t shake our world to change.
  • I'm proudest of: Being able to hold my head high, stand my ground, and forgive mistakes.
  • People would be surprised to know: I’ve lived on two military bases: Washington DC and Washington State. I was accepted into Princeton and had the opportunity to work for media in the capitol but duty stations changed to the other side of the country. So I worked very hard at the 3rd largest Starbucks in the world, and came in 3nd place for Operation Rising Star, a National Singing Competition for Military dependents.
  • Pet peeves: People who say, “I don’t know.” Between an entire world full of people and Google, the answers are out there…seek and ye shall find.
  • Favorite Song: Somethin’s Got A Hold on Me – Etta James, Blessed Redeemer, Casting Crowns
  • Favorite Movie: Son in Law, Goonies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Favorite Book: The Art of War, Poetry by Emily Dickenson
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Some Tropical Bungalow, water, sun, sand and endless umbrella drinks, and my dog. Or I’d love to work at a horse ranch for a couple weeks, simplify life down and get a great work out. The dog would come too. Basically anywhere with a drink, and my dog.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Safety, Options, Hope, believing and not judging. IT’s often time the first place that victims hear that what is happening to them is not their fault. Together we identify abuse, and the truth that abuse is not ok. I firmly believe that each person has gifts and value, they have the power in them to make the world a better place or help destroy it. The choice is theirs, the obstacles we face in life are opportunities to grow. Our mission isn’t to save others, we can’t do that, but we can help them face these struggles so that they aren’t alone and show them paths to carry on.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: These “Issues” are all of our issues, domestic violence occurs way too often and we need to teach values of respect to everyone. Enough is enough. We can make a difference if we stand together for zero tolerance. We need to work harder to illuminate rape culture. We need to set a higher bar for valuing each other as human beings for the sake of our future children.

September 2016 Staff Spotlight: Sara Wagner

Sara Wagner
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 5 months
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: I definitely have a couple mottos that I choose to live by, but one of them is never take things for granted. Often times, we forget how precious life is, and in the blink of an eye everything can change. Which is why I never miss an opportunity to tell my family and friends that I love them and how much they all mean to me.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: My dream place to live would be in a cabin, on the lake, in the middle of nowhere.
  • I'm happiest when: I am spending time with my husband and family.
  • What I fear most: Time, and not having enough of it to accomplish the things that I want in life.
  • I'm proudest of: I am proudest of the ways I challenge myself. Every year, on my birthday, I set a goal to learn 1 new task for the upcoming year. Last year I taught myself how to crochet. I am left handed, and so this wasn’t an easy task for me, as most books and tutorials are made for right handed people. I wanted to be able to crochet each of my parents an afghan for Christmas last year, and I did! Now I can’t get enough crochet time. This year, I hope to learn ASL (American Sign Language)
  • People would be surprised to know: I play piano, sing, and write music.
  • Pet peeves: I HATE the sound of people chewing loudly. If you want to eat, fine… But chomp on your food, and I can’t sit in the same room.
  • Favorite Song: I love music so much that there is literally no way for me to pick a favorite song.
  • Favorite Movie: I don’t really have a favorite, but one movie I am really looking forward to seeing is “A Dog’s Purpose,” which comes out in January!
  • Favorite Book: My two favorites, because they are both very different…”My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult and “You Can, You Will” by Joel Osteen
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: My dream vacation would be to go on a 2 week vacation touring Ibiza.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: What Someplace Safe means to me is that I finally have a voice to bring awareness about violence and abuse to the communities we live in. I am finally able to give encouragement and kind words to those who need it the most, and I can finally help people of all ages persevere to become survivors.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I would like the broader community to know how very important this work is. I am sad to say that before I began working for Someplace Safe, I didn’t even know that there were programs like this out there. I didn’t realize that this work could help provide the resources to help those who need it, that this work can help ALL victims of ALL crimes—no matter how big or how small. If you ask me, that’s kind of a big deal.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: Being a support system for those who may not have it. It warms my heart when I can see the good I have been able to bring into someone’s life.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Being able to lift people up when they are down 2. Being a listening ear for those who need one. 3. Being a voice that can hopefully help put an end to violence.

August 2016 Staff Spotlight: Anna McArdle

Anna McArdle
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 5 years - Manager at the Someplace Safe Alexandria Thrift Store
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: One box or bag a time.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: I love Duluth!
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: Knowing that everything goes to helping out such a great cause. The items that are donated to the store are either given to a crime victim that needs them or sold at the store. The profit that is generated from these items goes straight into helping fund our programs.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Working with our staff and volunteers. We also work with a few partner programs to help train people to get a job outside of the program. Its always such fun to watch them graduate and move on. 2. You never know what is going to come in the store next. 3. The look of happiness on our customers faces when customers find the items they are looking for.

July 2016 Staff Spotlight: Dee Daly

Dee Daly
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I have been a Sales Associate at Someplace Safe Thrift Store in Morris for just about 3 years.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Find something positive in every situation and you will be a more positive person (and a happier one)!
  • Favorite or dream place to live: A cabin on the lake.
  • I'm happiest when: I am with my family, my husband, my kids and my grandkids mean the world to me!!
  • What I fear most: Out living one of my kids or grandkids
  • I'm proudest of: All of the hard work that my husband and I do for each other and our family.
  • People would be surprised to know: How many things come in and go out of the store each day, its amazing!
  • Pet peeves: Listening to people chew, crunch, smack, slurp, etc.
  • Favorite Song: Mama’s Song
  • Favorite Movie: Grumpy and Grumpier Old Men
  • Favorite Book: Heaven is for Real
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: My husband and I went to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and it was beautiful. So relaxing and so much fun we can’t wait to go back!
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Caring! We touch such a wide area of people that are in need of help in their life at some point or other, being domestic abuse, a fire, or a crime we are there to help!
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Someplace Safe helps all victims of all crimes, not just women and not just physical abuse! And, the thrift store is open to everyone, it is not just open to people with a voucher.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: I love the staff that I work with (and the awesome volunteers that we have)! I also love helping people with their donations. It is something new every day which keeps it fun and interesting!
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. The people! The people that I work with, the people that volunteer, the people that bring in their donations, and the people that come in to the store and shop. 2. There is something new every day that comes in to the store. 3. It feels so good to help people! It is a very rewarding job knowing that the end of each day you have done something, offered a service that is in turn helping out other people.

October 2015 Staff Spotlight: Melissa Black

Melissa Black
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I have been with Someplace Safe for 5 years. I started out as a shelter advocate, and am now a Crime Victim Advocate for the Domestic Violence Program.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
  • Favorite or dream place to live: I would move back to Alaska in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, my family does not concur.
  • I'm happiest when: I am outdoors and away from anything technology based.
  • What I fear most: Clowns. *shudder*
  • I'm proudest of: My kiddos.
  • People would be surprised to know: I dislike confrontation.
  • Pet peeves: Clowns.
  • Favorite Movie: Rushmore – or anything Wes Anderson has his hands on.
  • Favorite Book: Watership Down
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Safety, Options and Hope – for EVERYONE. I am proud to work for an agency that provides services to all walks of life, regardless of who they are, what their background may be, or how they identify themselves.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Intimate partner violence is not a family issue, it is a community issue. Continue to educate yourself about the effects of violence in your community, and reach out to get or offer help!
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: The opportunity to help empower victims of crime and intimate partner violence. Being able to be a part of the transformation from victim to survivor is what keeps me going in this work.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Awesome co-workers 2. Giving a voice to victims 3. Never having the same day twice!

September 2015 Staff Spotlight: Lisa Thom

Lisa Thom
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 1 year, Crime Victim Advocate
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: It is what it is.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Outside of the USA.
  • I'm happiest when: I’m out of time for family adventure.
  • What I fear most: Car accidents.
  • I'm proudest of: I don’t know, it changes day to day.
  • People would be surprised to know: I am a very unreliable volunteer.
  • Pet peeves: Lying.
  • Favorite Song: Underdog, by Spoon, for now, anyway.
  • Favorite Movie: Lars & the Real Girl
  • Favorite Book: The Book of Splendor
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Banana Tour in Asia. If you knew how many varieties of bananas really exist, it would be your dream vacation too.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: A safe place to turn to when there’s nowhere else to go, or even when there is.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: That our clients are just like everyone else in the community. I would guess that everyone in the community knows someone who has been victimized, but doesn’t feel comfortable sharing their experience with friends or neighbors. I think if more people shared their experiences, then more survivors would come out of the woodwork. It’s hard to share though, and I understand that.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: When I go to work in the morning, I know I will do something important for someone else.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: I get to help people, I get to walk to work, and I appreciate having supportive coworkers and supervisors.

August 2015 Staff Spotlight: Michael Munn

Michael Munn
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I have been with Someplace Safe a little over a year, and am currently Manager of the Alexandria Thrift Store. I see lots of different things. It’s interesting.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: Whatever it takes. Just do it.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Manzanita, Oregon. Would settle for anywhere on the Oregon Coast though.
  • I'm happiest when: I am either watching sports or riding on my motorcycle.
  • What I fear most: Snakes and Aliens.
  • I'm proudest of: Our store’s teamwork and effort. It’s been a great first month as manager because of it.
  • People would be surprised to know: That I rarely thrift shop.
  • Pet peeves: Waiting for someone to try and find the closest parking spot possible while I wait in the passenger seat.
  • Favorite Song: Blue Sky, Allman Brother’s Band
  • Favorite Movie: Apocalypse Now
  • Favorite Book: Probably an Atlas
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: Traveling over the course of a year to the biggest sporting events while taking in other things along the way.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Everyone doing what they can to help make the world a safer place.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: That this work reaches a larger number of people than one may think. It’s amazing how many different people have their own story and have been helped over the course of SPS’s existence.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: Besides the cause itself, I enjoy how “fresh” the job can be and the pace of work. Day’s tend to go by very fast in a thrift store kind of environment.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1) Being able to take donated items such as furniture and watch them go directly to someone in need. 2) Getting to know our customers on a regular basis and help them find items they’ve been looking for. 3) Working as a community partner with other agencies and causes.

July 2015 Staff Spotlight: Rilee Moulton

Rilee Moulton
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I started working at the Somplace Safe Thrift Store in Morris in October of 2014. I am now the manager of the Morris Thrift Store.
  • Motto or Personal Mantra: It is kind of cliché, but "Follow your passion." Basically, find what makes you excited about life--and do that.
  • Favorite or dream place to live: Minnesota for sure. Otherwise I would have gotten out a long time ago!
  • I'm happiest when: I am happiest when I am in nature--camping or hiking with my dog.
  • What I fear most: Spiders. Ask any of my co-workers or my fiancé.
  • I'm proudest of: I am pretty proud of being a first generation college undergraduate.
  • People would be surprised to know: I have never flown before.
  • Pet peeves: People in the kitchen when I am cooking.
  • Favorite Song: Wonderwall by Oasis
  • Favorite Movie: Beatlejuice
  • Favorite Book: This changes all the time. Right now, I would have to say "The Lord of the Rings" series.
  • Favorite or Dream Vacation: I really want to visit northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe works to create "someplace safe for everyone." To me, this vision means that creating safe places in our communities is important for everyone. Which calls each of us to become active participants in creating and maintaining these spaces.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I would like the broader community to know that everything that people contribute to this organizations stays local and helps local people in our communities.
  • What I like best about working for Someplace Safe: Being able to work with people in the Morris area /community to help create safe places/spaces for everyone.
  • The Top 3 Highlights of my job: 1. Knowing that I am helping someone everyday that I am here. 2. The customers--they make me laugh and they care a lot about what we do at Someplace Safe. 3. My co-workers--everyone here brings something different to the store and they are all a lot fun to work with every day.

March 2015 Staff Spotlight: Sandi Andersen

Sandi Andersen
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Almost 5 months
  • I'm happiest when: I absolutely love spending time with my kids and grandchild. When I’m not doing that I love to read, crochet and scrapbook.
  • Favorite Book: I have several favorite authors. James Patterson, Iris Johanson and many others, Seems like I always have my nose stuck in a few books at the same time.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace safe is exactly what its name is. A place where people who have been a victim or have survived domestic violence or abuse can go to , to seek help, advice or even a shoulder to lean on in tough times.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Thank you. Without continued support we would not be able to do what we do.

February 2015 Staff Spotlight: Beth Peltier

Beth Peltier
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I have been with Someplace Safe since October 2008.
  • I'm happiest when: Play with my grandchildren, go for a pontoon ride, cards with friends, and an occasional trip to the Casino.
  • Favorite Movie: This is a tough one but I read everything I can, my favorite movie would be a tie between Fried Green Tomatoes and To Sir with Love.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe means there are options for those who feel as though all is lost. It also gives me a feeling of meaningfulness in my life when I am able to help a victim in need.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: This work is so important to our community as we need to teach our youth that violence is not right. I feel fortunate that I live in a community that is very supportive of my work and Someplace Safe as a whole.

January 2015 Staff Spotlight: Jeanine Thompson

Jeanine Thompson
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Since March 1, 2010
  • I'm happiest when: What free time? Spending time with family and keeping up with all the extra-curricular activities that they are involved in.
  • Favorite Movie: August Rush
  • Favorite Book: Bible, Pride & Prejudice
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: “Safe Haven” – Assisting and providing the services to victims who walk into our office, referred by others or calling; giving them the “safety, options, and hope” that they have been searching for or inquiring about. Being able to empower people is very rewarding!
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: From the stand point of a crime victim advocate – we can always look from the outside in – trying to make people to conform to what we think is right but when we give people safety, options, hope and the support that they need ; it will reduce the victimization in their lives or from becoming a victim again. Giving victims the freedom to make that choice and giving them the support they need – in the time of need – will empower them in a direction of a healthy, abuse free environment. It takes a community to build a village and when everyone does their part; it brings success and betters the lives of others! The hand can’t say to the foot “I have no need of you!” otherwise the body would not be complete! When we work together to accomplish common goals someone’s life is changed forever!

December 2013 Staff Spotlight: Michelle Ellerbusch

Michelle Ellerbusch
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: 6 years. I was also an Advocate at the Someplace Safe Shelter prior to my current position
  • I'm happiest when: Run. Bake. Eat.
  • Favorite Movie: The X-Men movies.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: A safe, confidential place to go or call where crime victims can receive assistance and support.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Thank you for your continued support. Without the continued assistance and generosity of the community I would not be able to do the work that I do.

November 2013 Staff Spotlight: Kim Zimmerman

Kim Zimmerman
  • I'm happiest when: Spend time with my granddaughters, my two dogs and my Fiancé. I love to travel, camp and be outdoors especially by the water and/or mountains.
  • Favorite Movie: I love a good love story, a good comedy and almost any animated movie. I don’t think I have a favorite movie. But I love the reality shows on TV (Big Brother, Survivor & Amazing Race) and any of the CSI’s and of course SVU.
  • Favorite Book: Any book by Stephen King.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: The first thing that comes to mind is safety and relaxation- the ability to finally take a breath. I think it is the perfect name for our agency; we are someplace safe for victims to come to and get the support and information that they need to make decisions that need to be made. We are someplace safe for them to come to, we will not judge them, we are only here to help and support them in whatever decision they make, and we will always be here for them – a safe place that is confidential and reliable.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I often here “I don’t know how you can do that, isn’t it hard or sad to see the pain every day?” And yes they are correct to some degree, it can be hard, but my job also allows me to see the triumphs and the huge successes these survivors overcome. I understand this job is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean everyone can’t help. I want the community to understand they can help in so many other ways, such as making donations, volunteering their time in so many different aspects and the most important is just supporting the victims and believing the victims, which is the biggest help they can be. Victims need to know the community supports them and believes them, that is what will allow them to come forward more and seek the help they need and to also keep the offenders accountable which will also hopefully reduce anyone from becoming another victim. We need to put the blame on the offenders, not the victims. Parents need to educate themselves and allow their children to be educated on how not to become an offender or a victim and how to see the signs and behavior before something happens so they can step in and stop it from happening.

October 2013 Staff Spotlight: Drew Israels-Swenson

Drew Israels-Swenson
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Since July 2013
  • I'm happiest when: Movie, playing cards or board games , cooking and of course thrift shopping.
  • Favorite Movie: I love stupid action films like 2012, Long Kiss Goodnight and anything with Godzilla
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: It means the opportunity to use my skill set to benefit an organization that does incredible work.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: We have been incredibly blessed to have such a supportive community. The variety and quality of donations is astounding. We are always looking for volunteers who are willing to give of their time to aid us in our mission.

September 2013 Staff Spotlight: Orin Follingstad

Orin Follingstad
  • I'm happiest when: Gardening, Playing with my Boston Terriers, Enjoying the outdoors.
  • Favorite Movie: Star Trek- all of them
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: It’s a way for me to help support my community.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I work for helping children and parents maintain a on-going relationship and the support of people that were victimized by crime and violence.

August 2013 Staff Spotlight: Erin Koehntop

Erin Koehntop
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Employed for 5 years also did my internship and volunteered prior to employment
  • I'm happiest when: I like to spend my free time with friends and family laughing and having a good time. I also like to do anything outside, fishing, baking and cooking.
  • Favorite Book: It’s hard to pick a favorite; I almost always have my nose in a book.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe is an organization compiled of people who genuinely care about other people. Who go above and beyond what is expected of them, to advocate for the safety and security of the people we serve. They also push for social change, educate the communities we live in, and lead by example.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Domestic and Sexual Violence are not “family issues” anymore. The community needs to speak out about these issues and recognize that it is happening in our neighborhoods and homes.

July 2013 Staff Spotlight: Becki Jordan

Becki Jordan
  • I'm happiest when: Traveling, Spending time with friends & family, Shopping for fun & unique things, Meeting new people
  • Favorite Movie: Favorite movies of all time: Grease & The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, can we say John Travolta?!
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: The work that we do at Someplace Safe WOULD NOT be possible without the support of our communities, so I guess I would like to say Thank You! And keep up the great work! And never stop standing up for what you know and believe in!

June 2013 Staff Spotlight: Emilyn Haugen

Emilyn Haugen
  • I'm happiest when: Four Wheeling, Gardening, Yoga
  • Favorite Movie: Labyrinth, Directed by Jim Henson
  • Favorite Book: Peyton Place, authored by Grace Metalious
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Someplace Safe is an amazing organization whose Vision and Mission is important to me. They are working towards a future which brings hope and empowerment to all.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: The work I do is important to me. I love working for Someplace Safe and feel very fortunate to be part of such an amazing organization.

May 2013 Staff Spotlight: Utonia ‘Toni’ Raaf

Utonia ‘Toni’ Raaf
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: Big Stone County Crime Victims Advocate for over 7 years
  • I'm happiest when: What free time? When I had free time, I loved walking (can’t jog anymore because of my knees), love quilting and sewing, and horseback riding.
  • Favorite Book: Long, long ago I loved reading books by John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell and any authors from MN.
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: Working for Someplace Safe has been so rewarding, empowering our clients to become strong, not just for herself/himself but also for their children.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I strongly believe in our mission: To create a safer world for everyone (even men!) we work to eliminate violence and oppression through advocacy, education and service, through safety, options and hope.

April 2013 Staff Spotlight: Lori Hanson

Lori Hanson
  • Length of time with Someplace Safe: I’ve been with Someplace Safe for about eight and a half years. My first position with the organization was answering the crisis line and providing administrative assistance to the Executive & Financial Directors. Throughout the years as my roles changed and the organization focused more on becoming strengths based, I was given the opportunity to be the Director of Operations.

March 2013 Staff Spotlight: Jenna Payne

Jenna Payne
  • I'm happiest when: Reading, and if I’m not reading I’m spending a significant amount of my pay check at Used Bookstores, especially Vikingland Books in Alexandria. I enjoy journaling, traveling, going to concerts (I’d go to one every weekend if I could). Also, eating as much sushi as humanly possible; I will one day turn into a beautiful pink salmon, douse myself in soy sauce and wasabi and devour myself!
  • What does Someplace Safe mean to me: I get to come work at a place primarily run by women and for women. Men seek our services and they are abused the same as women, I certainly acknowledge that and am more than happy to help any men in abusive relationships, but we do see more women than men. I love coming to a place with a positive feminine aura. I find that women and even men we help feel that when they come into our office. It’s a place of warmth, strength and compassion. It is very empowering to work with such strong and independent women and in turn to meet clients that find their voice and independence, through our services.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: That the work I do every day is exhausting and rewarding. That it keeps me up at night, but I still roll out of bed and come into work ready to help victims. I want them to know that we need the community’s support and so do our clients. We need them to stand in unity with us in our fight against violence, because we can’t win this fight alone.

February 2013 Staff Spotlight: Catie Houck

Catie Houck
  • I'm happiest when: I love spending time with family and friends. Having BBQs, going to the lake, going ice skating, bowling and mini golf with my son.
  • Favorite Movie: I love all Hallmark Movies….
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: I love my work. I love helping victims in need and seeing them become stronger through the process of working with them. My work means the world to me and the relationships that are made I treasure!

January 2013 Staff Spotlight: Joan Taves

Joan Taves
  • Favorite Book: The Bible with all the different versions out now one can read lots of it as a Novel – very interesting stories.. Self Help books and Inspirational. Reality info. I have really enjoyed many of them.
  • What would I like the broader community to know about the organization: Someplace Safe is a very rewarding program to be associated with as I see and witness all the support victims of all circumstances receive. I hadn’t realized all the ways the Someplace Safe is able to help victims and all of the areas we are involved with as a program. Also it is so great and nearly unbelievable to witness the attitude of unity and support among all of the employees in our 9 counties. The advocates have their whole hearts in what they do the help clients. It is also great to see how the community steps forward in support of dollars and items!
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In this season of giving thanks, Someplace Safe would like to thank YOU, our generous supporters.

Wednesday 11/01/2017

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: How will you get involved in ending violence in your community?

Sunday 10/01/2017

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​September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month!

Friday 09/01/2017

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​August is Back to School Safety Month!

Tuesday 08/01/2017

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