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Mayor for a Day: Alden’s Dream Come True

By Terriann Matejcek, Director of Advocacy & Volunteer Resources I first met Alden when he was a member of Hammer’s self-advocacy group “Power People.” Each meeting, he brought with him many local papers and spent time coming up with great ideas for how the group could promote better living...

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Government: An Invitation to Partner

By John Estrem, CEO For more than 25 years, I have worked in social services as a volunteer, advocate and leader. I have served the homeless, the young, the old and people with disabilities. During this time I have seen a subtle but disturbing shift in the relationship between government and the...

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May I Have This Dance?

By Regan McGowan, Program Manager A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend ARRM’s Annual Conference. In one of the sessions, I listened to a speaker talk about the idea of person-centered thinking. This is a well-known concept at Hammer, but it really hit home with me this particular day....

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Helping Hammer Individuals Reach for the Stars

By Joe Reis, Hammer Board of Directors and CEO of Coldwell Banker Burnet 4:45 am and Karen was ready to go! Matter of fact, I think she had been preparing to go for years. The February cold did not deter her spirit at all. Her dream of going to New York City, seeing a Broadway show and auditioning...

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Taking the “Work” Out of Working Out

By Angela Hickman, Zumba® Instructor and Hammer Volunteer In the spring of 2011, I was the Assistant Program Manager at Zealand, one of Hammer’s apartment programs. A main goal of mine was incorporating health and fitness into the lives of those we were supporting. Many individuals were making...

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The World of Communication

By Devin Harrington, Communication Specialist Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) World Conference in San Francisco. As a member of the Minnesota chapter, I had attended a few local seminars and luncheons that I thought...

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Hammer and the Boy Scouts

By Angela Bernhardt, Director of Major Gifts The Boy Scouts and Hammer Residences have been partners for many years. In 1970, under the leadership of two Hammer dads, Alden Keiski and Jim Solinger, a Boy Scout troop was formed at Hammer. “In the early 80’s I was a direct care staff in the boy’s...

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From the Northwoods to Hammer

By Karen Lafferty, Graphic Designer My connection with Hammer Residences began in the 1990s, before Hammer moved to their current office building. I met with Ellen Timmerman-Borer in hopes of doing graphic design work as an independent contractor. We met a number of times over the next year or two...

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Brand Strength: Have You Got the Goods?

By Tony Baisley, Director of Communication I’ve been thinking recently about what makes a brand successful. Is it snappy tag lines? Flashy ad campaigns? Or, simply a great product? Obviously, without the goods (or services), initial interest will eventually wane. Volvo did not become...

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A World Opened Up

By Jan Hopper, Program Manager Tristan has lived at Hammer since 1978 when he was 10 years old. Like all of us, his life has changed as he aged. His family moved to Seattle, and he had to travel to see them (about once a year). These trips became the high point of his year and were his main topic...

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A Day at the Spa

By Lauren Pehler, Assistant Program Manager The theme of last year’s Reach for Ralph benefit was “Making Dreams Comes True.” That evening, guests were able to help fund the dreams of a number of people Hammer serves. Robin, an individual I support, had a dream any lady would enjoy – a day at the...

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The Hammer Nurse: Serving Above and Beyond

By Cathie Wood, Director of Health Services During National Nurses’ Week, I pause to reflect on my nursing career and first year at Hammer. I’m drawn to thoughts of why, more than 20 years ago, I made the decision to work in this profession. I was a DSP in one of the first intermediate care...

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The ADA Turns 25

By Devin Harrington, Communication Specialist In just under three months, we will officially celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On one hand, it’s hard to believe that 25 years has already passed since the July 26, 1990 signing into law of the ADA. On the...

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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...

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The Travel Bug

By Kim Gharrity, Hammer Donor and Volunteer Monty Python comedian and actor Michael Palin recently quipped: “Once the travel bug bites, there’s no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” I’m pretty sure Hammer Travel volunteer Sandy Hongerholt has...

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For Love of the Story

By Jennifer Larson, Graphic Designer I love a good story. I’m guessing you do too. It’s one thing I love about Hammer – their wealth of good stories. Hammer is all about people, and people make the best stories. I’m a graphic designer and communications consultant, and I started working with...

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Sharing What I Know: My Hammer Story

By Alex Gonzalez, Financial Consultant at Thrivent Financial The story that brings me to Hammer Residences is somewhat selfish. I connected with Hammer because my wife Simone and I have a son with high functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome. His name is Jake. I have sought out new connections,...

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Target’s Model Behavior

By Emily Robillard, Assistant Program Manager Say CHEESE!!! FLASH! Look up here!!!!! FLASH! WOOOO!!! FLASH!!!  Loud, energetic, exciting – all words I would use to describe a Target photo shoot. My daughter Harlee (pictured above) has been modeling for Target since she was about nine months old....

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