Our StoryFounded in 1976, Perspectives, Inc. is entering our 41st year of providing award-winning human service programs. As a multi-service agency, Perspectives addresses our society’s most pressing issues: homelessness, poverty, addiction, mental illness, poor nutrition, and lack of access to services. Though these issues can have tremendous impact on both genders, Perspectives’ specific target population is mothers and their children.
Located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota (a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis), Perspectives’ mission for our first ten years was increasing community awareness around the issues of addiction and its systemic effects on the family and community. However, early in 1987, we shifted our focus to providing direct services. Our major interest was to identify what services were needed to support a recovering mother with limited resources in her desire to break the cycle for her children. At the end of two years of study, we concluded that for women with few resources, the largest barrier to maintaining sobriety, staying out of the court system, and regaining custody of their children was a lack of sober and safe housing. But, even then, we found that a supportive housing program needed to have services to address both the mother and child(ren)’s numerous traumas in order to be effective.
In 1991, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Perspectives with a startup grant of $1.8M to develop a therapeutic supportive housing program for mothers and children. These dollars allowed us to hire program staff, purchase our first two apartment buildings, complete relocation, and open our doors to a new sober housing community for mothers and their children. Within months, we had a waiting list of 50 families. During the next five years, we more than doubled our capacity by purchasing three more apartment buildings to complete our current campus of five buildings (53 units). Then, realizing that we needed space for programming, particularly children’s development programs, in 1997 we purchased a 22,000 square foot office building one mile down the road from our housing campus. We renovated this building into our current Family Center, where we provide life-changing programs addressing healthy lifestyles, children’s academic and social skills, nutrition, treatment, and recovery. In 2009, another significant change occurred. Perspectives’ trauma-informed mental health programming was launched by a five-year, $1.8 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program is designed to provide intensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed chemical and mental health services to the mothers and the children living in our supportive housing program. Working with the mothers on their mental health issues dramatically improved their outcomes, a result that continues to this day. Today: Perspectives is the largest therapeutic supportive housing program for women and children in Minnesota, housing over 75 women and over 130 children annually. Our services are extensive and span from recovery and mental health programs for both women and children, to job readiness and parenting education. Perspectives is distinctive in that few, if any, other supportive housing programs provide in-house, 12-month, comprehensive out-of-school academic, social, and nutritional enrichment for the children living in the program. Number of Board Members, Staff, and Volunteers: Perspectives has 20 active board members, 28 full-time and 13 part-time paid staff, and a volunteer pool of over 100 active volunteers at any given time. In 2016, over 8,100 volunteer hours were provided to the agency through the involvement of over 500 volunteers.
Mission and Goals: Empowering Mothers and Rebuilding FamiliesPerspectives’ Mission: Breaking Cycles for At-Risk Families and Children for Total Family Recovery.
- To provide trauma-informed supportive housing for homeless, recovering mothers and their children.
- To improve the mental health and sobriety outcomes for homeless, dual-diagnosed mothers and their child(ren).
- To improve the nutritional health of homeless and at-risk families and children living within the City of St. Louis Park and Perspectives’ Supportive Housing community.
- To improve the academic and social adjustment skills of homeless and at-risk children grades K-8.
- To ensure healthy births for babies born while their mothers are living in Perspectives’ Supportive Housing Program.
- To ensure that infants and toddlers living in Perspectives Supportive Housing community have healthy environments in which to thrive.
President/CEOjss@perspectives-family.org Jeannie Seeley-Smith has been directing and developing programs designed to empower the disenfranchised for close to 40 years. She spent 5 years as program director for anti-poverty programs in a 10-county juvenile delinquency prevention project in the Green Bay area of Wisconsin. Since 1981 she has been the President/CEO of Perspectives, Inc. Over her tenure she has raised over $75 million to support the programs at Perspectives and purchased over $7 million worth of property, including a 5 building housing campus for homeless women and children. Jeannie has spearheaded agency programs that have moved thousands of women and children back into the social and economic mainstream.
CFOccochrane@perspectives-family.org Cheryl Cochran CPA, is a licensed certified public accountant (inactive). Cheryl joined Perspectives in 1993 after working on Perspectives’ annual audit while employed by a public accounting firm. Her accounting specialty is recipients of federal awards. She has an extensive working knowledge of federal laws and regulations, ensuring compliance with Perspectives’ numerous government contracts and seventeen deferred government loans. She has developed and maintained extensive non-profit fund accounting systems and internal control policies and procedures. As a member of the management team, Cheryl helped lead the annual budget growth from $800,000 to $3,000,000 during her twenty year tenure.
VP of Clinical Servicesckelly@perspectives-family.org Chris Kelly, MSW, LICSW, joined Perspectives’ leadership in January of 2013. Chris comes with a 20 years history and is fully credentialed with an impressive and lengthy history in program administration, leadership, clinical work (children and adults), clinical supervision, parenting assessments, DBT group facilitation and training. Her experience extensively overlaps programs such as ARMHS, supportive housing, residential placements and substance abuse treatment. She is trained in crisis intervention and a behavioral health disaster model. Topics such as trauma, at-risk populations, cultural diversity and multidisciplinary collaboration have been cornerstones to her clinical work. In addition to her clinical skills, Chris, has extensive history in providing supervision for those seeking further licensure in clinical social work.
VP of Marketingldomholt@perspectives-family.org Linda Domholt entered Perspectives management team with the goal of developing the agency’s first marketing department. Her history in marketing comes as owner of numerous successful businesses and 5 years as the Vice President of Better Life Media where she co-led the life improvement media production and distribution company. Since coming to Perspectives, Linda has developed a system for donor tracking and communication. Social media, blogs, annual reports, annual drives, websites, agency videos and packaging the message are all critical areas that she has built or is building on with limited budgets. A former student at Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Linda brings a fresh approach to telling our story
Board of Directors
James D. Kremer, Board ChairAttorney DeWitt Mackall Crounse & Moore S.C.
Rae Lesmeister, Vice ChairVP Organizational Effectiveness (Retired) Cargill
Dawn Courrier-Cable, TreasurerPartner, Tax KPMG LLP
Sue Zelickson, SecretaryNutrition Consultant/Reporter WCCO Radio/MN Monthly Magazine Founder, Perspectives Kids Cafe
Jeannie Seeley-SmithPresident/CEO Perspectives, Inc.
Cheryl CochraneCFO (non-voting member) Perspectives, Inc.
Marne BrooksCommunity Volunteer
Lisa DenzerMA, LPC Counseling Services Catholic Charities
Susan GraftonSVP, Finance & Chief Accounting Officer Supervalu
Peter Hayden, Ph.DPrincipal & President Turning Point, Inc.
Karen HeithoffFormer Business Owner (Retired), Intoto
Sarena LinPresident Cargill Feed & Nutrition
Michael MaeserSVP, Regional Managing Director Wells Fargo
Kelly MerrimanOwner & President The Lice Lounge Hair Care Center
Pamela MillerSVP, Integrated Supply Chain Management (Retired) Beckman Coulter
Jim MurphySVP; President, Meals & Baking Division General Mills
Jill SandoSVP; Home Merchandising Target
Ellen SchmidtCommunity Volunteer
Karl SchmidtOwner/Chief Executive Officer Morrie’s Automotive Group
Ruth UsemCivic Leader
David McNally (Emeritus)President TransForm Corporation
Vicki WyardFinancial Planner (Retired)
Kids Connection StaffThe Kids Connection staff is comprised of six staff members, five of whom are licensed teachers, including a special education instructor, reading specialist, and full-time chef. The staff’s combined teaching experience exceeds 85 years and each year they engage in 50 hours of additional training. Our licensed teachers are all highly experienced in working with our population. Each educator is exceptionally skilled in the Responsive Classroom philosophy, an approach to elementary & middle school teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. A large part of the program’s success is our staff’s ability to consistently engage parents in their child’s education.
Supportive Housing StaffPerspectives Supportive Housing team consists of four case managers whose expertise in working with our focus population spans decades. They facilitate connection with services and advocate on behalf of our clients to obtain needed services. Our case managers assist with the development and implementation of a recovery plan. A case manager is available 24/7 and each one is committed to working continuously to return our families to the social and economic mainstream.
Clinical Services StaffPerspectives’ Clinical Services team includes two mental health professionals, three mental health practitioners, and two licensed drug and alcohol counselors. They provide mental health and substance abuse services to the families, adults, and children Perspectives serves. They are highly skilled and trained providers who guide the participants toward continued recovery and healing. Clinical Services recognizes the immense value in being educated in and providing trauma informed care. They strive to provide treatment by utilizing best practices and an evidence-based approach to care through this model.
Employement StaffOur employment counselors have a single goal: to get residents back to work. They provide assessments, training, a Job Club, resources for obtaining a GED, childcare, transportation, assistance for secondary education, and advocacy with employers. They are highly skilled, bilingual professionals with a deep knowledge of the barriers our population faces to finding employment.
Parenting Time StaffPerspectives has been providing parenting time services for over 19 years and has framed many of the standards that now exist within the Supervised Visitation Network. Our twelve Parenting Time Family Coaches are a combination of community volunteers and undergraduate interns. They work under the supervision of our Program Director, a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. This group of intake workers, coordinators, and family coaches assist family courts in implementing supervised visitation orders by providing a safe environment for a child to visit their parent.
Supportive Services StaffingOur Support Services Department is a dedicated and talented group of individuals who each day work together to see that our programs run smoothly. They are our administrative assistants, grants managers, receptionists, van drivers, and child care workers. Administratively they support our Executive Team using a variety of project management, communication, and organizational skills. They make sure that clients and their families arrive safely, are greeted with a smile, and that their children are well cared for.
AccountingThe Finance Department consists of three staff members, one of whom is a CPA. They have worked together for fifteen years, administering 15+ government contracts and 20+ restricted foundation grants each year. They also ensure loan covenant compliance for 16 deferred, non-interest bearing loans for our supportive housing properties. Successfully managing internal controls and navigating government laws and regulations, this team ensures that programs have the financial resources they need to carry out their program goals. Clean audits.
Volunteer DepartmentEach year hundreds of individuals and numerous corporations, civic groups, churches and schools donate thousands of volunteer hours helping us to break the cycles of addiction, poverty and violence. We are able to utilize all these wonderful resources by offering a robust volunteer opportunity for people of all skill levels and time availability. Out volunteers range in age from 16 to 65 and group size from 1 to 75. We have volunteers who have been with us for years and those that are looking for a one time opportunity. Whether you want to work with kids, adults, in the garden, in the kitchen or in an office, you are needed!