Coalition Member Spotlight: Jen Holper

Coalition Member Spotlight: Jen Holper, MA, LSW
Marketing Director, PrairieCare

What attracted you to join Partnership for Change (PFC)?

J: Working in the mental health field I am always looking for ways to connect to the community. The idea of being a part of a community group engaged in making the community a healthier place to live and raise families was just really appealing. I like feeling that my work is part of the solution.

What PFC accomplishment are you particularly proud of?

J: One of the first things that I did with PFC was to coordinate and provide youth leadership development programs for the Action for Reaction Groups. These trainings have happened with students from Maple Grove High School, Osseo High School, as well as branching out beyond the coalition area to include our neighboring Wayzata students. The trainings really focused on educating youth about mental and chemical health issues and in how to communicate openly about topics that are sometimes difficult. We also included an hour to talk about self-care and wellness.

What is one tip you have for caregivers?

J: Start talking about everything early on! If you start talking about sex, drugs, alcohol use at an early age in a developmentally appropriate way I think it sets the tone for lifelong discussions without it being embarrassing.  Not every talk has to be an hour long intense discussion, but take opportunities as they come up to simply be curious with your kids and what their perception of the world is – like asking about the TV show or movie you are watching together – “I’m curious what would you do if you were in that character’s position?”  This is a natural way to insert your family’s values and to let your kids know you are there to talk, and also to listen and learn from them.

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