The Highland Friendship Club Team
Seven volunteers serve on the Highland Friendship Club Board of Directors. They are responsible for providing the long and short term vision for the organization, financial oversight and fundraising support for HFC.
Highland Friendship Club Board of Directors
- Pat Leseman, Chair
- Parent, Co-Founder. A co-founder of HFC, Pat is involved in creating opportunities for new partnerships with community organizations, as well as encouraging and supporting the Board of Directors.
- Rosemary Fagrelius, Vice Chair
- Parent, Co-Founder. Rose co-founded the HFC with Pat and brings extensive non-profit experience in program development, grant writing and event planning to the board.
- Jim LeDuc, Secretary
- Retired, Principal, Focus Beyond Programs, Saint Paul Public Schools. Prior to retiring in June 2006, Jim was instrumental in developing programs within the St. Paul Public Schools system to ensure that young adults with disabilities connected with the greater community. He brings invaluable insights to our activities.
- Alisha Johnson
- Vice-President Marketing, Postal Credit Union. Alisha has extensive experience with marketing and communication as well as business, grant making and human resources experience.
- Helen Barrett
- Retired, Licensed Occupational Therapise, St. Paul Public Schools. Helen worked at Bridgeview School in St. Paul for over 20 years assisting students with developmental disabilities. She is also a community volunteer and has been involved with HFC as a volunteer and program committee member since 2005.
- Michael Corrigan
- The Advocate Group Michael is a Certified Financial Planner and the sibling of a HFC member. He is the co-chair of the Lanes for Friendship fundraiser and has extensive experience coordinating fundraising events and serves on another non-profit board of directors. He has been involved with HFC as a volunteer and event committee member since 2007.
- Fran Mountain
- Speech and Language Clinician, I.S.D. #199. Fran works with special education students in the Inver Grove Heights school district and has been involved as a volunteer with HFC since its inception. She is a member of the Art of Friendship committee and has provided many hours of support to HFC as a volunteer for special events. Her expertise in the area of developmental disabilities is invaluable as HFC creates new programs and events for HFC members.
Highland Friendship Club Staff
The Highland Friendship Club staff all work part-time for HFC and most are employed in full-time jobs working with people with disabilities. The HFC staff are able to adapt activities so that all HFC members can participate regardless of their abilities. They work hard to create a fun, supportive environment for HFC members.
Lead Program Staff
- Carole Bloom
- Carole came from a 25 year career in retail designer clothing owning and operating stores along with managing a personal clientele base, Carole has returned to her roots of working with young adults with disabilities as she once did in the Minneapolis Public School System. Her background includes teaching, cooking, musical composition and dental hygiene. Carole supervises the Community Club program and coordinates the cooking class with her daughter Lindsey Jo.
- Lindsey Jo Bloom
- Lindsey Jo joined Highland Friendship club in the Spring of 2006. She is a Special Education Resource Coordinator with Saint Paul Public schools. She is trained in Applied Behavior Analysis and Nonviolent Crisis Prevention Intervention. Lindsey Jo has her Master’s in Educational Leadership at Concordia University in St. Paul. She helps coordinate Cooking, Girls’Night Out, Yoga as well as helping out with other activities
- Jenifer Josephson
- Jen was one of the first people hired by the Highland Friendship Club. She brings her passion for music to our activities by coordinating a music program that is a favorite of Highland Friendship Club members. Club members who participate in the music program share their favorite music and, together, the group learns about all types of music - from Jimi Hendrix to Elvis to old show tunes. Jen is a Board Certified Neurologic Music Therapist and she has a Master's degree in Special Education at the University of St. Thomas.
- Dusty Thune
- Dusty has been with the Highland Friendship Club since its founding in 2002. An adventurer at heart, Dusty has worked extensively with young adults, with and without disabilities. He has led outdoor adventure trips for young adults with and without disabilities through Wilderness Inquiry that challenge individuals to go beyond mental and physical boundaries. He is currently working on his Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of St. Thomas. Dusty is a special education teacher at Bridge View School with the St. Paul Public Schools and also works as a personal care attendant.
- Katie Thune
- Katie also has been with the Highland Friendship Club since its founding in 2002. Katie has a knack for remembering details about club members' preferences and goes out of her way to make sure that everyone is comfortable and having fun. Katie is currently a special education teacher at Monroe School with the St. Paul Public Schools, has her Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of St. Thomas and also has experience as a personal care attendant. Katie and Dusty have been married for over 4 years and they have a daughter, Ingrid (2), who especially enjoys attending Friendship Club events.
- Carly O’Neill
- Carly joined the HFC staff in January 2010 and supervises the swimming program. She is a certified lifeguard and a coach for a Special Olympics swim team. Carly is a graduate of St. Olaf College and loves working with young people.
- Robb Rossi
- Robb came to HFC to work on the Culture Club. He worked for 7 years with Interact Center for the Arts creating original theatre productions and managing many national and international tours. He has also worked since 2003 with Wilderness Inquiry, guiding inclusive trips for people of all abilities from the Florida Everglades to the Arctic Circle. He is currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Social Work.
- Lisa Beck
- Joined HFC December of 2010. Obtained a degree in Athletic Training from The University in North Dakota and Master's in Sports Management from Springfield College in Springfield, MA. Currently is an in home personal trainer around the Twin Cities. Enjoy's being active, learning, and helping others.
- Alison Rieter
- Alison joined the HFC staff in June 2011.She grew up in Cottage Grove. In high school she was active in many extracurricular activities, including National Honor Society which provided many opportunities for community service. She has a bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Art History. Her hobbies include world travel, photography, music, sewing, and enjoying nature. She currently works as a teaching assistant at Bridge View School, where she was introduced to Friendship Club by Dusty Thune.
- Stacy Danov
- Stacy joined Friendship Club staff in February 2007. She works Wednesday night activities at the JCC and girls night out. She enjoys sharing the friendship experience with the members and encouraging the members to share the daily stories with each other. Currently, Stacy is completed her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota. She specializes in applied behavior analysis. Currently, she works at the U of M.
- Beth Engelking
- Beth joined the HFC staff in 2006. She works mostly with the Musical Mayhem group, but has also helped with theatre outings, adventure days, movie nights, and bingo. Beth is a board certified music therapist. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in music therapy and is currently pursuing a masters degree from Saint Mary of the Woods College. In her spare time, Beth enjoys Irish dancing, traveling, reading, biking, yoga, and cheering on the Gopher football and hockey teams.
- Ashley Newbrough
- Ashley joined the HFC staff in 2009. She graduated from the U of M in May 2010 with a degree in Music Therapy. Ashley worked for ACR Homes for almost 5 years, and now works as a music therapist at Ebenezer Care Center in Minneapolis. Ashley loves black cats, dogs, music therapy research, singing and playing lots of instruments, painting, and learning about people. She works with the music program and helps with other activities.
- Leah Paquin
- Leah joined HFC as a volunteer and became a staff member in 2008. She also works as a Personal Care Attendant and is a basketball coach at Cretin-Derham Hall. Leah loves sports of all kinds and played for the Varsity Women’s basketball team while she was a student at Hamline University. She graduated from Hamline in 2008. Leah has also worked with almost all of the HFC activities, she currently staffs Friday Fun Nights, Wednesday Nights at the J and Sunday Adventure Days.
- Anna Bruesewitz
- Anna joined the HFC staff in January 2011 with the swimming program. She is well known face at swimming class. She has been a volunteer for the past year. Anna is trained by the Autism Society of Minnesota and is pursuing a degree in Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy at St. Catherine's
- Paul Zheng
- Paul joined Friendship Club staff in June 2011. He works Friday night activities and Saturday Fitness Class. He is a 2010 graduate from the University of Minnesota