BBBS Board Member Spotlight: Dylan Van Den Einde

Dylan Van Den Einde
Ask Dylan Van Den Einde why he volunteers as a Big Brother, and he is quick to say that he wants to help someone else experience what he had growing up. Raised in Fertile, MN, Dylan credits his loving family and supportive community for providing the solid foundation that has helped him succeed as an adult. He remembers kids in school who were in tough situations and might be headed down the wrong path. His mother made her expectations clear; instead of letting anyone be a bad influence on him, he must be a positive role model for others. Dylan graduated from Minnesota State University [...]

BBBS Sisters Britany and Ruth

portrait of Brittany and Ruth grown up
It was close to Mother’s Day when Ruth Weber and Britany Williams headed out for their first get-together as Big Sister and Little Sister. They decided to drop by the Humane Society garage sale and let 6-year-old Britany choose a gift for her mom. After passing over a variety of Mother’s Day gift possibilities, something caught Britany’s eye. “I found this statue. It was of, like, a sewer rat with red glowing eyes, and it was really ugly,” Britany said. “And I was like, ‘I want to get this for my mom!’” “And it lit up,” Ruth said. “Not only did it have red eyes and it was grey and awful, but [...]

Living in Color After PTSD

Portrait of Scott
Scott struggled with PTSD, but didn't know what was wrong. He found help at The Village. Scott Geiselhart should have died. The gun should have fired. Instead, when he aimed his revolver at himself and pulled the trigger, it just clicked. Nothing more. Scott slammed the gun on the desk at his mechanic shop in Frazee, MN. He was stunned and shaking. A long, painful path led Scott to this moment. He had been a volunteer firefighter for 20 years. It was something he was proud of. He helped build the Frazee Fire Department’s extrication unit. “Got the truck together and all of a sudden, we got a [...]

How Becoming a Mentor Can Change Your Life

Char Laney, a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Village Family Service Center
Framed photos decorate Char Laney’s tidy desk at JDP Electric, Inc., in Fargo. Among pictures of family members and pets is a small silver frame. It shows Char with her “youngest friend,” on their first outing to West Acres mall. Since 2014, Char has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Village as a mentor. It started with a simple commitment: to meet with her young mentee once a week at a nearby elementary school over her lunch break. “The first day, I just knew we clicked,” Char says. “I have no problem making conversation. Neither does she.” Char Laney would spend one lunch hour [...]

Apollo's Family Found Help at The Village

Apollo smiling, a child who came to The Village for therapy.
Apollo is a smart little guy, but was struggling at daycare. His parents didn't understand what was going on. Then, they found help at The Village in St. Cloud. Apollo was diagnosed with sensory perception disorder, and his parents are learning how to help him. This is their story: If you're concerned about your child's behavior or mental health, please contact The Village. You can call the office nearest you, or request an appointment online.

In-Home Family Therapy Offers Strength

Two young sons stand in front of their mother who has her arm wrapped around them
Eleven-year-old Colton stood next to his estranged father’s gravesite with his mom and younger brother, and read aloud the letter he’d written to him at the suggestion of his Village family therapy counselor. Colton, his brother, Drake, and mom, Shannon* received in-home family therapy from The Village after a series of events – including divorce, termination of dad’s parental rights, and medical issues – threw the family into chaos. Shannon says with The Village's help, she’s learned better ways to deal with her sons’ behaviors, set boundaries with her parents, and strengthen her family’s [...]

First Step Recovery's Family Program

the shadows of two people walking together
For years Nancy lived in fear. In silence. Worry-filled days and sleepless nights were her reality. Her son, Trevor*, was an alcoholic. He’d turned to alcohol to self-medicate his anxiety, only for things to get worse. Nancy tried to help. She pleaded and bartered with Trevor, but she couldn’t fix it. Nancy had read that alcoholics have to hit rock bottom before they become serious about recovery. Rock bottom happened, and in a desperate Sunday morning phone call, Trevor asked for help. A friend had told Nancy about First Step Recovery. Trevor made the call, and Nancy drove him. She asked if [...]

Karl and Ervin Have a Brotherly Connection

Karl and Ervin standing next to each other smiling
Ervin didn’t like reading. So every week, his Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor, Karl would come to his school, sit with him, and help him with the words. That’s what a Big Brother does. He shows up. Every time. Six years later, Karl still shows up for Ervin. “He’s helped me get through the hard times, and he’s always been there for me when I need him,” Ervin says. “He’s one of my best friends. He’s like a real brother to me.” Karl and Ervin have been matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Village since Ervin was in second grade. He’ll finish junior high this spring. Then it’s off to [...]

Holly's Recovery Journey

pathway going up and down and then forward
Sept. 22, 2015, marked the beginning of Holly Heiser's recovery journey. "I can't believe my life has gone the direction it has. I have been given a huge gift, I got my life back!" she says. In 2018, Holly shared her story in an article for It's Her Brand magazine. An updated version of that story is below: No one would have guessed Holly Heiser was a closet alcoholic. The Moorhead mom kept her house neat and clean. Her son always looked cute and took part in lots of organized activities. But it was all part of the lie, a way to cover up her drinking. By this point, Holly had told so many lies [...]

Learning to Walk Down the Road to Recovery

Road with the word recovery across it
September is Recovery Month, a time to celebrate recovery and raise awareness that addiction is a treatable disease. John's story demonstrates that recovering from addiction is possible! John was struggling mightily. He had started drinking every day. He was at risk of losing his family, his business, his sense of self. His physical and emotional well-being were all going downhill. His wife, Aaste, told him he needed to go to treatment. She gave him a list, and suggested he call First Step Recovery. Walking through the doors of First Step was scary, John says, but not as scary as where his [...]