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Staff

kristi kane executive director eldercircleKristi Kane,
Executive Director
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Kristi joined the ElderCircle team as Executive Director on January 1, 2010. Kristi was born and raised in North Dakota and is a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a Bachelors of Arts in English, an Emphasis in Creative Writing and a German Minor. Her first experience in the Human Services field was as an intern writing training manuals and program guides for a company that provided services to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness. In 1994, Kristi and her husband Pat moved to the Grand Rapids area and purchased Lefty’s Tent and Party Rental. Working together to grow this business gave Kristi the opportunity to hone her management and human resource skills, as well as an opportunity to instill a hands-on work ethic in their two children, Kyla and Dallas. Kristi has served on several boards and committees during her professional career and is an alumni of 1000 Grand Leaders (2001) and the Blandin Community Leadership Program (2009) and most recently the Non-Profit Performance Management Leadership Institute (2011). Kristi is committed to growing the depth and breadth of senior services in Itasca County and the Arrowhead Region through community partnerships and outreach. When not at work, Kristi spends time with her family, traveling, reading, gardening, and volunteering in the community.

 

valerie cromwell rsvp program directorValerie Jensen Cromell,
RSVP Program Manager
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Valerie was born and raised in northern Itasca County and has lived here most of her life. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bemidji State University and has 26 years of work experience in the nonprofit sector. Since February 2003, her position with ElderCircle has been RSVP Project Director (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), serving the communities of Itasca and Koochiching Counties in northern Minnesota.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with both volunteers and the nonprofit partner agencies where volunteers are placed to help meet community needs,” states Valerie. “Through my work with RSVP, I have a very positive outlook on life after retirement, and healthy aging. I greatly respect the RSVP members who volunteer throughout Itasca and Koochiching Counties. I admire their amazing talents and skills, and their commitment and compassion for others. I see firsthand the impact they make in our local communities and the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring to their volunteer activities.”

Valerie is a member of the National Senior Corps Association, the Minnesota Senior Corps Association and the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administrators, earning her VLTS (Volunteer Leadership Training Series) certifications in 2007. Val and her husband Bill are building a retirement home on Deer Lake east of Effie, where Val grew up. Recently, Valerie transferred to a part-time position with ElderCircle in the role of RSVP Program Manager and spends half her time in Grand Rapids and the other half up north. In her free time, she enjoys fishing, hiking, 4-wheeling and reading. She has one son, Skylar, who is a soldier in the U.S. Army.

 

valerie cromwell rsvp program directorRobyn Gunnerson,
Wellness Coordinator
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Robyn joined ElderCircle in October of 2014 as their Wellness Coordinator. Additionally, she is also employed as a Program Supervisor for Lutheran Social Services Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Program for Itasca and Koochiching Counties. “More than 20 years I have enjoyed serving seniors in every position I have held. They are rich with experience, wisdom and personality. I am thrilled to have 2 wonderful positions in which I can empower seniors to serve others in our community and make a difference in their life as well as others.” Born and raised near Superior, WI she moved to Itasca County in 1997. Robyn holds an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences and Occupational Therapy Assistant. She also received her Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators Certificate in Volunteer Management and keeps her state and national licenses current with a variety of continuing education opportunities. Locally she has been employed as an Activity Director for C&NC-Itasca Medical Center, COTA at IMC/Grand Itasca as well as Grand Village and Volunteer Coordinator at Grand Itasca. Robyn is married to Chiropractor Dr. Lane Gunnerson, they have 2 girls. In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking and experimenting with her own recipes. She especially enjoys being with family and participating in various outdoor activities year round. In addition, she enjoys volunteering at church, her daughter’s schools, and serves on the committee for the Timberman Triathlon.

 

Lisa Sutherland RSVP Project DirectorLisa Sutherland Randall,
RSVP Project Director
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Lisa Randall joined the ElderCircle team in November 2012 as Community Development Coordinator, and now as RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) Project Director, is responsible for the operation and management of the RSVP volunteer program in Itasca and Koochiching Counties in northern Minnesota.

Lisa has a diverse work history that includes the Minnesota Legislature, city and township government, international shipping, printing and graphic design, sales and recruitment, training and facilitation, and small business development. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Behavior from College of St. Scholastica, is a graduate of Itasca Community College, and holds an AAS Degree from Alexandria Technical College where faculty named her as “Outstanding Student”.

Lisa was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and lives with her husband Mike in the house built by his great grandparents, just down the road from her childhood home. Having lived in the area virtually all of her life, she brings a wealth of knowledge of the community, and coming from a large family, she has a strong network of contacts. In April 2014, Lisa and Mike were recognized for their commitment to volunteering and the community when they were named “2013 Friend of the Chamber” by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. Lisa is a member of the National Senior Corps Association, the Minnesota Senior Corps Association and the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administrators.

When not at work, you might find Lisa and Mike coordinating personal finance classes at their church, gardening with family and neighbors every Tuesday evening in her mother’s large garden, boating on any of the county’s 1,000 lakes, wrangling their three large dogs, or capturing the beauty of northern Minnesota through photography.

 

Rinna WatersRinna Waters,
RSVP Project Director
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Miirriinia (Rinna) Waters was born and raised “North of Nashwauk”. Rinna’s mother was born with Cerebral Palsy and conquered many challenges in her life, including discrimination. Watching her mother’s strength and determination, instilled a strong sense of ethics and a desire to empower all people regardless of age or ability. After graduating from Nashwauk-Keewatin High School, Rinna worked in several different group homes for people with mental illness, physical and developmental disabilities of all ages. In 2001, she decided to get her C.N.A certificate and worked 3 years in a local nursing home. It was working at the nursing home that Rinna decided her calling was to work with the aging, to keep them out of places such as nursing homes. She found work as an Independent Living Skills Specialist working with people with disabilities, where she honed her advocacy skills and knowledge of the rights of the aging population. May 2013, an opportunity to work specifically with aging individuals rose and she joined ElderCircle as the part-time Good Neighbor Coordinator. Within several months, she was coordinating 4 programs. Currently, she coordinates ElderCircle’s Guardianship, Chore Service, Good neighbor Volunteer program as well as, the new Good Neighbor Plus program. Rinna brings a great understanding of advocacy, rights of the aging/people with disabilities and an ability to make intuitive connections with clients and volunteers alike. She has been married 19 years to her high school sweet heart, has a daughter and son as well as three dogs and two cats. She loves to write, hike, quilt and read. Someday, she hopes to add to her 20+ years of experience by finishing her Psychology degree specializing in Geriatrics.

 

Kim, Executive AssistantKim Smith
Executive Assistant/Outreach and Senior Wheels Program Coordinator
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Kim is the Executive Assistant/Outreach and Senior Wheels Program Coordinator. Kim was born and raised on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Kim raised her daughter in the Lutsen/Grand Marais area moved to Grand Rapids in 2010. After spending 4 years as the Guest Services Manager at one of Grand Rapids premiere hotels, Kim moved into the non-profit industry and joined the ElderCircle team as a temp in the RSVP office in March 2014 and became full time for the ElderCircle Agency in May 2014. Kim volunteers at the Reif Center and is a member of the Grand Rapids Park and Rec. Board. When not working, Kim enjoys spending the day with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Barrett, hiking with her yellow lab, Cooper, snowshoeing, trail running, sailing, canoeing, and anything that gets her deeper into the woods.

 

linda barth Respite Program ManagerLinda Barth,
Respite Program Manager
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Linda is the Program manager for the ElderCircle Respite program and receptionist as well as the delivery coordinator for the Bundled Service program for AEOA Senior Nutrition program here in Itasca County. Linda was born in Canton, Ohio in "19 something or other" and raised there until the 4th grade when she moved to Illinois with her family. Linda graduated high school and entered the Air Force where she was trained as an IBM Machine operator. Linda was stationed in Washington state and was then sent to Japan for 2 years. After discharge, Linda worked various office jobs until she met her wonderful husband and was able to stay home and raise their 3 children. Linda soon returned to school and obtained her Practical Nursing License where she held positions in Geriatric Care and Chemical Dependency. Linda joined the ElderCircle team in 2008 where she worked in the Adult Car program for 5 years and then moved over to the ElderCircle Agency. Linda enjoys her employment with ElderCircle because it has given her the opportunity to work with a wonderful, caring Director and co-workers enabling ElderCircle to aid in providing much needed services to the aging community. "Thank you ElderCircle for your many blessing to the community and myself."

 

amanda wheelock ads program co-coordinatorAmanda Wheelock,
ADS Program Co-Coordinator and Certified Caregiver Consultant
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Amanda was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, moved out of the area for a while, but now has come home to stay. Her educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Applied Psychology with emphasis in Family & Community Health, Chemical Dependency, and Gerontology. She has worked with the elderly as a live-in caretaker at an assisted-living home, and has managed senior living apartments. The majority of her work experience is in the long-term care nursing home setting working for Good Samaritan Society as an Activity Director and Volunteer Coordinator for nearly 12 years. She started working for ElderCircle with Adult Day Services of Grand Rapids in mid-July 2011. She enjoys walking and four-wheeling in the woods, gardening, baking and playing with her two young children. Faith and family are very important to Amanda. She feels that family members of Adult Day Service participants are blessed with a very competent and compassionate staff to care for their loved ones. Amanda is impressed with the quality of care provided and is thankful to be a part ElderCircle.

 

Carrie Heikkila,
Assistant Program Coordinator
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Carrie became an ElderCircle Staff in the first part of October 2014. Grand Rapids is her hometown, though she was born in Dickinson ND and had spent three years in Wyoming. Carrie graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 2001 and went to UMD and graduated with a Liberal Arts degree in 2002. Carrie just received her Associate of Arts from ICC in the spring of 2014 and is planning to continue her education in 2015 to work on her BA in Criminal Justice from Liberty University.

Carrie has been in the Minnesota National Guard since January 2009, and, in the past has worked in the retail, culinary, and photography fields. Carrie is active in volunteer work, currently with Grace House and Father’s Hearts and Hands.

Carrie enjoys trying new things, but has a passion for health and fitness, photography, quilting, and cooking up new creations.

 

Judy Peterson
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Judy was born and raised on a farm near MilleLacs Lake in central Minnesota. Judy moved to the Grand Rapids area several years ago, worked in the healthcare field until she retired. Judy has been volunteering with ElderCircle/RSVP for the past few years. "I volunteer in many areas and currently manage the Groceries-To-Go program through ElderCircle. I have been fortunate to work with a great staff and lots of wonderful volunteers. Volunteering has given me many opportunities to learn new things, meet new people, and help others. I think volunteering keeps people thinking young, and it is good for your overall health and well being. I would recommend it to everyone."

 

Karla EdminsterKarla Edminster
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Karla joined ElderCircle in May of 2012. She was born in St Paul and Graduated from Greenway High. Karla has an AS in Applied Psychology. Karla has previously been a business owner.