Rich Roots Grow a Learning Partnership

By Cate Saracen Peters, Director of Training and Education

It’s no coincidence that Hammer’s leadership has always supported providing our family members with an avenue to expand their knowledge and network of connections related to their loved ones. You see, it is deep in our roots as an organization. This rich history and legacy of shared learning goes back to our founder Alvina Hammer and Evelyn Carlson, a nurse and a teacher respectively. They developed learning partnerships with professionals and family members alike, in order to realize the outcome of fulfilled lives for individuals living with developmental disabilities.

Family Ed logoFast forward to today where our commitment to this Learning Partnership continues to grow stronger than ever. Hammer’s Family Education Forum, established as an annual event in 2014, has become that official avenue for family members to learn and grow. The Training and Education Team has a passion for providing a format that fits just right, as we approach our second Family Ed Forum on Thursday, April 30th.

School is in session this spring, with a menu of choices to support attendees in getting the answers they need. Matching needs with the latest service innovations in our field, coupled with the vital importance of the shared story and relationships, will ensure rich content that is current. Aside from the traditional classroom, hand-in-hand story sharing is where the greatest impact can be made.

Mayor5Our new “On the Spot Conversation Tables” that are topic based give this Hammer forum a personalized touch, while delivering resources on a variety of topics. As Director of Training and Education, I thought it best to include this “back to basics” approach with a conversational format designed to re-emphasize the importance of connection and the power of sharing through stories. The more traditional breakout sessions will also be available, and for the first time we will open with a keynote address focusing on the Person Centered Life.

We recognize this as a unique opportunity to connect, to learn, and to work together with family members into the future. As our CEO John Estrem shares: “We have learned from our family members and guardians over the years that this collaboration naturally strengthens these vital relationships and speaks volumes to partnership we all value.” So, if you are a Hammer family member or guardian, please join us in building upon our strong roots as we share a common goal to walk beside someone, helping them do this thing called life.


  1. Kim Hansen

    What a nice article Cate. This family forum is a nice offering for families.

  2. Lisbeth

    Great article Cate. Thanks so much for creating this opportunity for our families.

  3. Tony Baisley

    Thanks for sharing this valuable resource with us all, Cate! 🙂


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