July 2022 Newsletter


Larissa Rasmussen

The MFWCAA board finally came together in-person for our Madden’s site visit at the beginning of May. It was wonderful to see everyone again and meet some board members in-person for the first time! We enjoyed the beauty of the Brainerd area and the resort, but also were hard at work planning for our October conference. We met with Madden’s staff, toured the facilities and held our May board meeting, where we were able to narrow down many of our conference details.

Check out the conference information included in this newsletter and keep on the watch for our “At a Glance” with more information – emailed to members as we get closer to conference time. In addition to awesome sessions, we have great food, entertainment and keynote speaker plans to share soon!

Conference registration will be done online this year on our website, with an option to pay by credit card OR mail in a check to pay the conference fee (more details included in this newsletter). Please remember that this is an all-inclusive conference so there is only one rate – which includes all meals, snacks and other costs associated with conference, minus the hotel rooms. Please contact Madden’s directly to make room reservations. You will find attached an informational form regarding room prices, reservations and Madden’s contact details. If calling to reserve your room, mention the MFWCAA conference for accurate pricing.

Our conference theme was submitted as an idea to the board by MFWCAA members Karri Berreau and Kathy Johnson back in 2019! We have included the submission in the newsletter. Since this was before Covid, there are SO many extra hats we are juggling that can be added! Thanks to Karri and Kathy for the great idea!

While we anxiously await our in-person conference, our board is excited to bring our members a virtual presentation on Thursday, July 14th at 2pm. See information in this newsletter regarding the “Bounce Back Project” virtual training (lasting about an hour). There is no additional cost for paid members to join this training.

Our board said goodbye to Lisa Castile from Region 11A and Dana Wenisch from Region 6 this spring, but for good reasons as they both accepted promotions. Congratulations, Lisa and Dana! Please join me in welcoming their replacements – Sean Watkins from Hennepin County and Kris Wilner from Kandiyohi County!

We have an open Region 5 Representative position. We will also have some board openings in October to fill including Secretary, Treasurer and President Elect. If you may be interested in filling one of these positions, please reach out to me for details!

Enjoy your summer and see you this fall at Madden’s on Gull Lake!


Larissa Rasmussen

Join us for a Virtual Training
Thursday, July 14 at 2pm

Presented by Melissa Pribyl
MFWCAA members will receive the Zoom virtual link sent by email closer to the training date

The Bounce Back Project promotes health through happiness by reminding everyone of resiliency tools that are quick and easy to use. Research shows that using these simple tools can help us retrain our mind to focus on the positive and can increase feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of depression. These tools can also open us to the possibility of greater social connections, improved sleep, enhanced memory and stronger immune system function. Anyone can use these tools to make a difference in their life. In a world faced with many challenges, getting back to the basics can be very helpful!

About the presenter: Melissa has been a registered nurse since 1994 and has enjoyed many years of caring for patients in cardiology and emergency department settings. Her transition to Community Health and Wellness Specialist at CentraCare has brought a new focus in which to practice nursing with passion and enthusiasm. Melissa completed her Master’s Degree in Nursing Leadership and Management and thrives at working on big-picture projects. Being part of the Bounce Back Project has been a rewarding way to bring mental wellness and resiliency to the local community and healthcare members.

Below is a TENTATIVE list of breakout sessions for the fall conference. Course descriptions and finalized schedule will follow.

Healthcare – 6 sessions (topics TBD)
Housing Support
MFIA – Fraud
Foster Care/Adoption Assistance/IV-E
Bridging Benefits
SMRT Referrals
TSS Help Desk
Program Appliance
Scripts/case notes
Snap E&T
Senior Linkage Line/Disability Hub
Safe at Home
Sex Trafficking
Snap Payment Accuracy



Conference – How Many Hats Can You Wear?

No one wants to wish away summer but it’s time to start thinking about the MFWCAA fall conference from October 19th-21st at Madden’s resort! As with membership, we are moving to an online registration system to simplify things on the back end for our board. REGISTER NOW!  We’re so excited to be back in person this year and can’t wait to welcome you all back! Benjamin Henry – Vice President, MFWCAA


  1. There is an early bird registration good now through August 15th. After August 15th, the prices will increase by $50.00 so make sure to sign up early. (Early bird is $325 and jumps to $375).

  2. If you haven’t signed up for membership yet, you have the option of adding that to your conference registration as well.

  3. SUBMIT YOUR REGISTRATION ONLY ONCE. If you aren’t sure that we’ve received it or you don’t receive your confirmation email, email us at mfwcaa@gmail.com and we will check for you. The transaction fees for credit cards are NOT refundable if you submit more than one registration form.

  4. If paying by credit card, everything is handled online and you won’t need to take any other action. Transaction fees are disclosed and included in the various options.

  5. If paying by cash/check, the registration must be submitted and the payment must be postmarked by August 15th to receive the early bird rate.

  6. This registration does NOT include the hotel stay. You will need to register separately for your hotel stay.



How Many Hats Can You Wear:

Eligibility Workers and Case Aides juggle many, many hats in a day…a hat for SNAP, a hat for MA, a hat for METS, a hat for CCAP, a hat for LTC, a hat for GRH, a hat for MSA, a hat for IV-E, hats for all the systems we use, a hat for juggling the most recent updates on numerous programs, a hat for navigating pages upon pages of system instructions and policy manuals, a patience hat, a listening hat, a problem solving hat, a networking hat…The list goes on!

“I know that I can do this and I can tell you why…it is FUN to be an eligibility worker/case aide, so give it a try!” -Submitted by Karri and Kathy

If you or anyone you know is interested in being a vendor at the conference this year, please contact Lori Savoie, Region 2 Representative at lori.savoie@whiteearth-nsn.gov



Conference Raffle Baskets


At fall conference you will find an amazing array of baskets that we raffle off. We have seen fun and cool baskets containing everything from TV’s, stand mixers, booze, gift cards, lottery scratch offs, hotel stays, toys, food, coolers…the sky is the limit!

BUT where do they come from? They come from the regions and from you – the counties and tribes. We would love to see every county and tribe bring a basket to donate! They can be based on the conference theme (Dr. Seuss) or something completely different. You decide!

We raffle them off by selling tickets that you
purchase from us and “vote” for your favorites. At the Friday morning session, we will draw one name from every basket’s votes. If we call your name, you WIN that basket! (you must be present to win) How cool is that?! We also award the baskets with cash prizes for most ticket sales (1st and 2nd), creativity, and a random drawing!

The money we raise goes toward the scholarships we award every year. With Covid cancelling 2 fall conferences, we have not had any fundraising to replenish our scholarship funds. Due to this, you will notice that we had to cut back on the number of scholarships awarded this year. So, it is more important than ever to donate a basket!

Lori Savoie, Scholarship Committee




Sean Watkins

Hi, my name is Sean Watkins, and I am the new MFWCAA Region 11A Representative for Hennepin County. I have been with Hennepin County since 2014 working as a Human Services Representative in the Economic Support Department at the West Regional Hub. In my 8 years with Hennepin County, I have been involved with our Scripts Team, Appeals Project Team, The Black History Month Committee, The Recognition Committee and currently a union steward for AFSCME Council 5/Local 34.

Originally from Chicago I attended Iowa State University and in 1995 I moved to Chicago to start my professional career and raised my family. Over the past 25 plus years I worked in the nonprofit sector in the capacity of job placement, job procurement, employment specialist and MFIP counselor. I lead an employment consortium group with Goodwill Industries, Project for Pride and Living, and the State of Minnesota from 2004-2008. I have found my passion is in helping the less fortunate and disadvantage in finding solutions to bridge gaps in employability and self sufficiency.

I have a 27-year-old son who just completed his master’s degree in social work and currently working as a LSW in Chicago. I am the oldest sibling in my family and some fun facts about me: I have been collecting sports memorabilia for over 40 years, I am a basketball coach and trainer for middle school, high school and college players, I like to run 5k races and support local charitable causes for those runs. In whatever free time there is I also enjoy traveling to other countries and learning about new cultures on those travels. I am excited for this Board position with MFWCAA and look forward to continuing advocating for the great work the Financial Workers and Case Aides do here in Minnesota.



Kris Wilner

Hello everyone! My name is Kris Wilner and I am the new Region 6 Rep. I have been an Eligibility Worker in the Adult Unit with Kandiyohi County since November 2017. I work with food, cash and health care programs for mostly disabled/elderly individuals, with a sprinkle of ABAWDS in there. Prior to Kandiyohi County, I spent 21 years in the LTC community on the provider end.

In my spare time, what little there is of it (as I also bartend every other weekend) I enjoy spending time with my 4 daughters and husband. We are planning a fall wedding, so that has taken up much of my free time as well. I also enjoy reading, crossword puzzles and snuggling with my 2 dogs and 3 cats. I am looking forward to the many opportunities to network with other counties, DHS staff, and bring best practices and resources back to my fellow Financial team members at Kandiyohi County.



2022 Scholarship Winners

Jenna Rickoff – Member: Christine Rickoff, Winona County
Kaitliyn Berreau – Member: Karri Berreau, Swift County
Lindsay Boldstad – Member: Self, Washington County
Lara Messer – Member: Self, Hennepin County
Ali Gunderson – Member: Jill Gunderson, Swift County
Olivia Gardner – Member: Catherine Gardner, Winona County
Brooke Tracy – Member: Tiffany Nelson, Goodhue County

Early Bird Winners

We drew 10 names for the Early Bird prize. These were members whose dues were paid by 02/28/22. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card.
Sara Buley – Roseau
Mindy Hopkins – Hubbard
Debra Berby – Becker
Brandie Burton – Western Prairie
Jamie Lange – Benton
Amanda Drown – Yellow Medicine
Maureen Barry – Sherburne
Bobbi Sinn – Goodhue
Amy Riley – Olmsted
Brittney Dahl – Filmore




2022 Financial Worker or Case Aide of the Year Nominations Due Soon!

We are looking for that special Financial Worker or Case Aide that goes above and beyond, the one you can always count on. The cream of the crop! The best of the best! The bee’s knees! It’s time to nominate your favorite Financial Worker or Case Aide for the 2022 FW/CA of the Year Award! Nominating someone is easy. Just complete the nomination form! Include the person’s name, background, and the reason that you feel this person is deserving of this title. Remember this person must be a MFWCAA member. Nominations need to be postmarked or submitted online by July 31st.

Comments are closed.