MN ADULT & TEEN CHALLENGE ROCHESTER–WOMEN’S CENTER IS A PLACE OF HOPE AND HEALING. While laughter echoes through the hallways and children enjoy visits with their mothers, profound life-altering changes take place in a safe environment. A cocoon of love and respect envelops these women, sheltering them from the storms of daily life while they face down their demons and do the hard work of freeing themselves from addiction.
Faith-based Mn Adult & Teen Challenge, headquartered in the Twin Cities, has been helping adults and teens break free from drug and alcohol addictions since 1983. A few years ago, Mn Adult & Teen Challenge recognized a need in southeast Minnesota and opened a men’s facility in Rochester in January 2014. The men’s facility is located in the old Samaritan Bethany nursing home near Assisi Heights. Nearly from the beginning, there was a vision for a women’s center in Rochester. Center Director Tom Truszinski, who oversees both the men’s and women’s campuses, says having the opportunity to build the women’s facility is a prayer answered.
HELPING OUT DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON HAS ENDLESS BENEFITS FOR YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR COMMUNITY. There is no better time to begin good habits of giving for the year to come, than during the season of giving. In the Rochester area, there is a great array of opportunities for you and your group to give. Volunteering is an especially great opportunity for families and friends to spend time together, stay active during the cold winter months and feel good about improving the lives of others.
GIVING TIME AND MONEY
Donating items and volunteering takes more time than giving money. But being more involved increases the fun, and you can more easily see the direct impact of your contribution. In the words of Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” The “Journal of Health and Social Behavior” found over 90 percent of people report volunteering improves their mood, makes their community a better place and enriches their sense of purpose in life.
It began with discussions at book club: the burnout of women in the medical field, disparity in diversity and inclusion, gender parity and the proverbial “glass ceiling.” These issues became a recurring theme with the book club—then they decided to do something about it.
“They” are Anjali Bhagra, M.D. and Susan Moeschler, M.D. The “something” developed into the GRIT for Women in Medicine: Growth, Resilience, Inspiration, and Tenacity conference, the weekend of September 20-22 at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe in Truckee, California. According to the two organizers, the conference was conceived three years ago and took 18 months to plan.
SOLD OUT EVENT
“There has been an overwhelming response,” said Dr. Bhagra. “We had to limit the numbers due to the size of the facility.” Selling out at approximately 300, is a strong message that let organizers know they had hit a nerve in the medical community. The target audience is broad according to organizers: professional women and men in health care who are interested in developing a gender-balanced leadership that is representative of patient population and society.
ALL BELIEFS ARE HONORED AT THE WOMEN AND SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE
LAST SEPTEMBER, OVER 750 PARTICIPANTS OF THE 36TH WOMEN AND SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE WERE WARMLY WELCOMED AT THE NEWLY REDESIGNED MAYO CIVIC CENTER. THE CONFERENCE OFFERED 84 DIFFERENT WORKSHOPS ON TOPICS RELATED TO FEMINISM, SPIRITUALITY, HOLISTIC HEALING, SELF-HELP AND MORE. OVER 80 VENDORS OFFERED THEIR UNIQUE WARES IN THE EXHIBIT AREA, PLUS MANY READERS AND HEALERS WERE ON HAND TO OFFER THEIR GUIDANCE. LILAC WELLNESS CENTER CREATED A BEAUTIFUL SPACE FOR MASSAGE AND BODYWORK WITH A QUIET AREA FOR MEDITATION AND REFLECTION.
After 35 years at Minnesota State University (formerly Mankato State University), the conference now finds its home in Rochester. Evolving from their Women’s Studies Department in 1981, the conference has given voice to those with a message to share through teaching a workshop and those open to new insights or experiences through learning, personal growth or healing. Their mission statement reflects their goal to provide a “supportive and nurturing setting for a dialogue of caring and mutual respect between and among women and men from many spiritual and religious traditions.”
Over the years, the conference has been a safe space for experiential workshops like yoga, drumming, moving meditation or dance, discussion groups, lectures and presentations. Many of the presenters have utilized the conference to present papers for their master’s thesis or doctoral research on topics ranging from theology to feminism. What has made it a fascinating experience is that it changes completely from year to year with new presenters, new workshops, new talents and new ideas.
THE AMERICAN DREAM ENTICES MANY TO TAKE A RISK AND MAKE THE TREK TO THE UNITED STATES. WITH THE ILLUSION OF PROSPERITY AND SUCCESS, THE ALLURE IS APPEALING. ACCORDING TO THE PEW RESEARCH CENTER, MORE THAN 40 MILLION PEOPLE1 WHO LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES ARE IMMIGRANTS. THIS ACCOUNTS FOR 13.4 PERCENT OF THE U.S. POPULATION. IMMIGRATING TO THE UNITED STATES IS NO EASY TASK, AND EACH PERSON’S JOURNEY TO THE UNITED STATES IS UNIQUE.
HOPES AND CHALLENGES
In 2013, Nada Bastami emigrated from Sudan after her husband was selected for the lottery. The “lottery” is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. It releases up to 50,000 immigrant visas each year with a random selection process allowing entry to immigrants from various countries.2 Bastami, a mother of twins, had a dream to come to America because of better education opportunities for her children, gender equality, enhanced quality of living and the reputation for being the most immigrant-friendly society in the world. Once she arrived, she learned that while the United States had its perks, it wasn’t going to be easy.
IMAGINE COMING HOME WITH YOUR NEWBORN BABY, WEARY AND ELATED, TO FIND SOMEONE HAD COOKED YOUR DINNER FOR YOU. NOW IMAGINE A TROOP OF PEOPLE BRINGING YOU MEALS WITHIN THOSE FIRST FEW DAYS. THIS IS WHAT THE ROCHESTER AREA MOMS GROUP CALLS THEIR MEAL TRAIN, AND IT’S JUST ONE OF THE MANY PERKS OF BEING A MEMBER OF THIS LOCAL GROUP.
Amanda Nigon-Crowley, head chair of Rochester Area Moms, says, “I always find it heartwarming to see busy families making time for one another, yet that’s just what Rochester Area Moms is all about—making time to connect.”
HANGING OUT IRL (IN REAL LIFE)
Rochester Area Moms is an activities and support group for mothers interested in connecting with other women and families who are at a similar stage in life. Originally called F.E.M.A.L.E., the group evolved into Mothers & More and eventually became Rochester Area Moms in 2016. The group has been active in Rochester for more than 18 years. “The majority of members join when their children are in the infant or early years of childhood,” Nigon-Crowley explains. “But many stay until the children become school-age.” The mission to empower and educate mothers while providing opportunities for connection is what drives the group.
I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY RECENTLY TO SPEAK WITH AMALIA FOSTER WHO IS ONE OF ROCHESTER TOYOTA’S NEWEST SALES CONSULTANTS. FOSTER HAS HAD A FASCINATING LIFE—FILLED WITH LOTS OF TWISTS AND TURNS—NEARLY AS EXCITING AS READING A CAPTIVATING BOOK.
FROM ROMANIA, WITH LOVE
Foster, who grew up in Romania at a time when it was heavily influenced by Russia, was expected to learn Russian in school. She says, “I didn’t want to learn Russian, so I taught myself English. I worked really hard (at learning English) for a while, then I met two humanitarian missionaries from the States and I was able to practice my English with them. They encouraged me to come to the States to study at university, when I didn’t even know I could get out of the country.”
Rochester has long been known as a great place to raise a family. What makes it great? For one, there is a lot to do in the area. I researched community offerings and composed an overview of some of the best activities for you and your kiddos this winter. And luckily, there’s something for children of all ages.
Quarry Hill Nature Center is a go-to place in spring, summer and fall, and winter is no different. Layer on your gear and head to the nature center. Then it’s a tough choice—do you prefer cross country skiing or snowshoeing? Get your equipment and head out on Quarry Hill’s more than 8 miles of groomed trails with varying levels of difficulty from beginner to expert.
If raucous fun is more your game, grab your sleds and head to Rochester’s famous Judd Park for sledding, or get in the car and head to Stewartville for snow tubing at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch. For tubing, register online in advance and share the hill with up to 80 fellow snow lovers. Tubers of all ages are welcome and tubing time runs two hours. Pack your own snacks and cocoa (hot water and cups are provided) and sit in the warm chalet bragging about your tubing exploits.
We love coffee. More than coffee, though, we love a welcoming environment in which to drink coffee, engage in great conversation and build community. Around Rochester there are coffee shops with unique appeal and flair with missions to build community.
DUNN BROTHERS COFFEE
I first met Rochester Women magazine Publisher Jorrie Johnson at Dunn Brothers Coffee on South Broadway. As a Rochester Greeter representative, she welcomed me and another gal to the city with a packet of goodies and wonderful conversation. I learned that she was managing editorial content for Rochester Women magazine, and she learned that I was an aspiring writer.
Dunn Brothers is known for its imported coffee from around the world, as well as in-house roasting. Dennis and Lynn Wong own the three Dunn Brothers Coffee locations in Rochester, as well as Zumbro River Catering. Their location on Elton Hills has a large cafe and is known for their breakfasts with fresh eggs and quality Boar’s Head meats. When I was new to Rochester, this location became a great comfort to me. Using their Wi-Fi, I stayed in touch with family when I didn’t have internet service at my house, and I enjoyed food and drinks in front of a cozy fireplace. Since then I have enjoyed breakfast or coffee with friends, and taken in the local artists’ work showcased on their walls.
Lynette Perry, an adult program coordinator at the Rochester Public Library, meets me in a conference room on the second floor of the library. It seems a large space for a book group, but it is the perfect size for the Night Owl book group. “I currently have 24 people in it,” says Perry. “My max was 27 at one point.”
DIFFERERNT TYPES OF BOOK GROUPS
While members of the Night Owl book group read the same book, other groups pick a theme instead of a specific book. The Mystery book group is one of these.
“They might all read a cozy mystery set in a bed and breakfast,” says Perry. “They can all find one that they want and read it and then talk about the ones that they read.” There is even a cookbook group where members find a recipe and bring the food to the meeting.
“It’s a great way for people to share their interests and their time with the library and with other people,” she says. There are currently eight different book groups run by the library.