Double Feature: We’re in This Together

Part I

By Deb Krug, Direct Support Professional

Passionate and creative are the two words that best describe me. I have found that these characteristics serve me well in my work at Hammer.


Three years ago, I began working for Hammer as a Direct Support Professional at Lake Place. I was looking for something to enhance myself and provide personal growth. I have been working with District #287 as a teacher and Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) instructor, but needed something more to really make my life complete.  Serving 18 -21 year olds in the transition program, I knew working at Hammer would give me the chance to see how the transition skills I teach actually apply in real life. So, after working at Hammer for a couple years, I approached Director of Training and Education Cate Saracen-Peters about CPI classes. She jumped on the opportunity, and within a couple months, I became a CPI instructor for Hammer!

The cornerstone of CPI is the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention™ program, which is considered the worldwide standard for crisis prevention and intervention training. Its core philosophy is to provide care, welfare, safety, and security for everyone involved. CPI has taught me proven strategies for safely resolving situations when confronted by anxious, hostile, or violent behavior, while protecting the therapeutic relationships with those in my care. I have adopted this philosophy in both my professional and personal lives. My passion for this is strong and is rooted in person-centered thinking. 

I am truly honored to be a part of the Hammer family and am driven to teach all Hammer employees how to de-escalate potential crises. I feel compelled to help them grow and understand the importance of relationship building during possible crisis situations. Through innovative ideas and the established techniques of CPI, my end goal is always to improve the support we provide to amazing individuals we serve. And, it really helps when we have such quality, well-trained staff.

Family Ed logoI believe in the power of communication and how it impacts the people we serve.  Together as a team, we can move forward with whatever situations arise and find positive outcomes to negative implications.  I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with family members and guardians at next week’s Family Ed Forum. Together we can do this!

Part II

By Eric Sage, Credentialing Coordinator and Program Manager

According to the MN Department of Health it is estimated that 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). So, I wasn’t surprised when Hammer’s Training and Education Department told me they would like to have a focus on AD at the Family Education Forum this year. Like most states, Minnesota has struggled with the growing demand for services as autism diagnoses have soared in the past decade.  Treatments like Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are often well beyond the means of most families, and many insurers refuse to cover them. So what do we do? At Hammer, we acknowledge that our staff teams and families will need additional trainings and support to best serve the individuals we care for so deeply.

Sage, Eric.jpgI’ve been at Hammer for almost six years now, and I’ve worked with several individuals with varying diagnoses. I’ve tried multiple strategies to achieve different goals, and I look forward to sharing some of these coping mechanisms and skill building techniques during the autism focused break out session. I will also be sharing information on ASD’s effects on the educational, social, family, and professional aspects of individuals living with autism. It’s important that we come together as a team and realize the importance of partnering together to best support each other and most importantly the individual.

As Cate Saracen-Peters said in Rich Roots Grow a Learning Partnership: “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.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement and look forward to seeing many family members and guardians at next Thursday’s forum.

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