Spotlight on Staff - Jen Myhre, Karen Thorpe, and Kayla Grosz
Jen Myhre—Resident Assistant at Mary’s Place
I came to LCRC six years ago because I wanted to try a different area of work that was rewarding. I maintain safety and security at the Shelter along with providing residents with needed supplies. My work hours are primarily through the night, so I answer the Crisis Line at that time, documenting the calls. I provide intake services for women and children entering the Shelter and exit services when they leave. While the residents are here, this is their home, so I work to make sure it is a clean environment.
As with any job, there are rewards and challenges in my role at LCRC. It is so rewarding to help domestic violence victims heal and regain their power and strength along with helping the Shelter residents find a safe place to live on their own. The emotional side of the job presents challenges—seeing the way domestic violence affects the children staying in Shelter. Another challenge is working by myself.
I consider my parents as being the most influential in my life. I am the youngest in my family with three older brothers, Shannon, Troy, and Darren. I graduated from Waubun High School, attending Waubun schools K-12. I’ve been married to my husband, De Wayne, for 19 years. We have two kids, Hannah (4) and Hudson (3). I love to play softball and go to the lake in the summer. My favorite food is steak, and my favorite movie is The Heat. My dream vacation would be to travel to the Dominican Republic.
Karen Thorpe-- Supervised Visitation Facilitator in Positive Connections
My professional background included 30 years in “corporate” America, yet my passion has always been helping people get where they want to be. Once my husband and I permanently moved to Detroit Lakes I wanted to find something that would help me use my skills and fulfill my need to help others. Looking at non-profits, LCRC stood out to me for the amazing work they do in the community. I began volunteering with many fundraising events; then I volunteered in Positive Connections as a Visitation Facilitator. We discovered this was a good fit for both PC and me. I was hired as an employee October 2019. This role at LCRC fits what I feel is important in life.
As PC facilitators, we are focused on making supervised visitations between parents and children both safe and enjoyable while maintaining documentation of actions and conversations. Supervised visitations can be a stressful time for families. Our role includes helping families make their time together meaningful, making sure actions and conversations are positive.
Being a facilitator can be challenging because there is sadness in the family situations we see. Families are separated for many reasons including drug use, domestic violence, abuse—both physical and sexual, and neglect. Kids often act out in visits because they are confused and uncertain, and parents can be very defensive. It takes a lot of patience to help the families interact in a positive way during visits. Sometimes you can leave with a heavy heart after a day of visits. The rewards offset the challenges--knowing that you are helping families, who might not otherwise have a way to be together, makes it worthwhile. It is rewarding to see parents who really, truly, want to do everything they can, both during PC visits and outside the supervised visits, to be reunited as a family.
The most influential force in my life is Jesus, as he has given me an example to live by when it comes to helping others. However, my parents gave me my work ethic and taught me to do my best and be my best. My sister has been an amazing example of being a strong woman.
My favorite childhood memory was when I got to fly for the first time when I was 12 years old, by myself, from Chicago to Omaha to visit my older sister. That short flight hooked me. I love to fly! I have been very blessed to have traveled a good deal, but my dream vacation would be to travel to New Zealand, Australia, and surrounding areas. Yet a road trip to the many beautiful and interesting places in the U.S. is on my bucket list.
I enjoy pasta and I do love Chinese food, but fruits and veggies are always good. My favorite movie is Pretty Woman—sappy but true! There is something uplifting about coming from a tough background and having a happy ending.
I received my undergrad at Minnesota State Community & Technical College in 2009. I worked as a caregiver for many years, then switched to a school setting as a para, working with children who needed extra support. I have always had a passion for helping others! While at Rossman Elementary, I saw a job posting for a shelter assistant at LCRC. I thought it would be a great opportunity, so I applied July 2019. I worked at the school during the day and Shelter at night. When a full-time opening for an advocate popped up, I quickly applied and started in October.
I work with women and their children at Mary’s Place who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. A large part of my job is helping residents get the resources they need to be successful and safe, as well as addressing any health-related concerns. I also work with community clients, helping them file protection orders, accompanying clients to court, and helping them with safety plans.
The most challenging part of the job is hearing the stories of what the residents have been through. But, there are many rewarding aspects including when I can see their progress and how far the residents have come in their healing journeys in addition to seeing them develop independence. It’s rewarding to help women secure affordable housing in a safe environment for themselves and their children. It is a bonus when I get feedback from my residents! The other day I was told by a resident how much she appreciated me and thanked me for everything. Seeing the smiles on their faces and knowing they are safe makes it so rewarding! I work with a group of wonderful [LCRC staff] ladies and love my job!!
My parents are the most influential people in my life. They have always supported and loved me unconditionally. As a child I loved fishing with my father. I remember days spent at my grandparents, helping my grandma cook and working in the garden with my grandpa.
In my free time I enjoy going camping and exploring, working in the garden, reading, baking, making jewelry, reiki, and making homemade products with essential oils. My favorite food is Diablo Pasta. A few of my favorite movies are Knives Out, Avatar, and Catch Me if You Can. Hawaii has been my dream vacation destination since I was young. I would love to sit on the beach and relax. There is so much beauty to explore!