Office for Student Affairs > HELP Center > Newsletter

September 24, 2007

September 24, 2007


Welcome back everyone! It will be another eventful year at the Student Parent HELP Center. Remember that the staff is willing and eager to help you through the transition back into the school year. We hope to see all of you very soon.

HELP Center Announcements

This Week Is Super Fantastic Week!

Check out for more information about all of the great free activities at the St. Paul Student Center. There will be free food, bowling, concerts and more! This is a great opportunity to get out and have some fun before the long Minnesota winter rolls in. Flyers are also available in the center if you need more information. Please note that the event on Friday afternoon from 4 PM to 7PM in the St. Paul Gopher Spot is a free event specifically designed for our families. They will have free bowling, cake, pizza, pictures with Goldy, Shark Petting from Underwater Adventures, and face painting. This will be a great opportunity to meet other student parents and their families, meet your Student Parent Association officers and have a wonderful time on campus at no cost to you!!!! This is a great chance to show your kids, partners, friends and families where mommy or daddy goes to school. Susan will be at the event and hopes to see many of our students and kids there!!!!

Save the Dates: Wednesdays 12:00 pm–2:00 pm

The Student Parent HELP Center will once again meet weekly on Wednesdays from 12:00-2:00 in Room 24, Appleby Hall. The group provides the opportunity to connect with other student parents, discuss the challenges and joys surrounding academic studies and parenthood and share a FREE lunch with your fellow SPHC friends. The direction of the group will be determined in large part by your needs and ideas. Your willingness to share experiences and personal challenges will undoubtedly help others, so we hope you will join us starting Wednesday, September 19th at noon. Feel free to come for all or part of the group and remember that you are not obligated to come every week. Simply come as often as your schedule allows. (Your little ones are welcome)

Occasionally we will invite outside speakers to present to our group on a variety of topics. If you have suggestions for a specific topic or program, please contact Jerri Wagner or Rebecca Hassett at

Save the Date: Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 from 11 AM to 3 PM

FOR STUDENT PARENT VISIBILITY DAY! As many of you know our two previous Student Parent Visibility Days were a huge success. We hope to continue to make this an annual event and have planned the 2007-2008 SPVD for November 6, 2007. We hope to attract even more teen parenting programs from the metro area to come learn about our program, gain exposure to higher education and listen to the experiences of some of our very own successful student parents. This event is also a great way to make our presence known on the U of M campus and an opportunity to enjoy free food!

We need student parent volunteers for this event!!!!!! Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering for this event by e-mailing us at We need help with the following areas: greeting teen parent visitors, food service, and general meet and greet activities. We also need a baby to be our Baby Goldy. Our Baby Goldy costume fits approximately a 9 month to one year old child. Last year’s Baby Goldy got more than her 15 minutes of fame and actually made the cover of the Pioneer Press local section, the U of MN home webpage and other publications. So if you want your baby to be famous and they are the right age and size email us and then come by and see if the outfit will fit your child. If you are interested in any of these activities please email me with your hours of availability for that day, your name, contact info and student ID number and we will be in touch in the weeks ahead. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for November 6, 2007 from 11:00-3:00. Even if all you can do is show up and join the fun we need a good turn out, so if you can’t volunteer at least pop in for whatever amount of time your schedule allows. More details to follow.

We Need You…

The Student Parent Association (SPA) is a University student group specifically designed to address the issues facing student parents on campus. As the new academic year gets underway, SPA is looking to enroll new members and officers. Membership and officer application forms are available on their website under the “Links? tab. Complete applications can be returned to Susan Warfield, via email attachment sent to her direct email address. We will also have applications available at the activities listed above, and you can attend a meeting and sign up then as well. Meetings are held each Friday from 12:30 to 1 PM in the Student Parent HELP Center. This type of engagement looks wonderful on a resume and goes a long way toward increasing the visibility of student parents at the U of MN. Please visit their website to learn more:

Opportunities to Share

Student Parent Success Stories
We would like to continue featuring announcements of student and family successes as regular newsletter items. If you will be graduating at the end of fall term, are welcoming a new child, purchasing a home, getting married or experiencing any related event that you would like to have us post in the newsletter, please send the details to the SPHC email address, We would be proud and honored to share in celebrating these wonderful life transitions with you and your families.

Photo Gallery

Sharing photos of our children and families is a great way to get to know each other. If you have a photo of your child(ren) or family and would like to see it featured in one of our upcoming newsletters, send it as an e-mail attachment to

Parenting Information and Resources

University of Minnesota Extension Service
The University of Minnesota Extension Service offers a host of resources for Minnesota parents. Please bookmark the following website for access to answers and advice regarding a number of common parenting questions.

Energy Assistance
Whether we like it or not the cold is coming! Many Minnesotans will see significant increases in their energy bills, sometimes beyond the ability of some to pay. The Energy Assistance Program provides grants for individuals in need. Please visit the following link for more information:

Mom Talk!
Looking for a place to learn from other moms, share resources, recipes and experiences? Visit This is a great online forum with information on health and wellness, upcoming events, pregnancy and just about anything related to being a mom in the Twin Cities.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Ten Sundays each year the Art Institute hosts Family Days. These events feature music, art, dance performance and hands-on activities for kids. October’s event is “Treasured Boxes? and will focus on decorative boxes, vases, banks, and other artful containers. Kids will have the opportunity to create their own decorative box, listen to music, watch live performances and more! This event is free and takes place on Sunday, October 14th between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm. There is no pre-registration required-simply show up anytime between 11 and 5.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is located at 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404. Visit for more information.

The Bell Museum of Natural History
The Bell Museum of Natural History located right on our own U of M, East Bank campus offers two fun family events. Visit their website for more details:

Nature Play
A drop-in family program from 1-3 p.m. on the 2nd Saturday of each month. Free with museum admission. For families with kids ages 4 and older.

Nature Tots
A program for toddlers and preschoolers with their parents, held the first Thursday of every month from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Free with museum admission, but registration is required. Call 612-624-9050.

MN Science Museum
Did you know…families who receive any assistance in the form of WIC, MFIP, GA, MA, MN Care, SSI, FS, or Section 8 qualify for reduced admission rates at the MN Science Museum. Just bring along current proof that you receive any of the assistance forms listed above, and you and your family can enjoy the Science Museum for the following prices:
Exhibits: $1.00
Exhibits + Omni Theater: $3.00
Please contact the museum with any further questions: 651.221.9444,
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 9:30 am-5:00 pm, Thursday-Saturday 9:30 am-9:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am-5:00 pm CLOSED MONDAY

Grants Update

The list for the CCAMPIS Grant is closed at this time.

Post Secondary Child Care Grant: first tier students who have already submitted applications are being processed this week and you should begin checking your student accounts for an entry labeled, “MN State Child Care Grant? (same thing as Post Secondary CC Grant). When you see that hit your account the grant has been disbursed. At this point in time we DO expect to have enough money to cover at least the second tier students and possibly all waitlisted students, but we will not know for sure until the deadline expires on September 21, 2007.
Please contact us if you need further information. If you do not already have an application that means that you were not eligible to apply when we mailed applications in August. If you are an on-going student who registered late or filed a FAFSA late, you should contact us immediately to update your status if you have not done so all ready. That number is: 612-626-6015. New students registering with the SPHC will be waitlisted for grants dependent on availability of funds at the time of intake.

All programs of the SPHC are available to undergraduates only

Great Funding Link for Women’s Education:

Hot Tip

We are all creatures of habit. Routines order our lives and allow us to stay organized, manage our time and maintain our sanity. However, for some parents, being slaves to routine has ended in tragedy. According to the Central Florida News a 22-month-old baby died in the back seat of her mother’s car on Tuesday, September 4th. The mother was out of her normal routine, went to work and forgot the child was with her. This story is haunting, but it occurs more than any of us would like to admit. According to a July 29, 2007 article in the Boston Globe, the incidence of hyperthermia is cars has risen dramatically since legislation was enacted in the 1990’s, requiring carseats to be placed in the back due to airbag safety hazards. Fortunately there are precautions that can be taken to avoid this tragic outcome. Follow these tips when traveling in a car with your little one:

1. Put your purse or other items that you absolutely need for the day in the back with your child
2. Put the diaper bag or some other reminder that you have your child in the front seat
3. Tape a small note on the steering wheel with your child’s name on it
4. Place the car seat in the middle or rear passenger side of the back seat rather than behind the driver’s seat so that you can see your child when you look in the rearview mirror.
5. If you are switching off daycare drop off with your partner for the day, ask him or her to call you on your cell 20 minutes into your ride to remind you that you have the child with you. (I know this sounds loopy, but most of these tragedies occur in cases where two rushed parents change the routine one morning and the person who usually does NOT have the child with them forgets the routine has changed and goes about their typical day. A simple phone call from parent to parent can prevent this type of “habitual? forgetfulness.
6. If you have an alarm on your watch, set it to go off about the time you would be dropping the child off, that way if the child is sleeping and you have forgotten they are with you, hopefully the alarm going off would cause you to remember. If you do not have a watch alarm, use a kitchen timer or alarm clock and set it to go off at some point in your ride. That would be an even more blatant reminder that something has changed in your routine that morning. Do not drive off the road when it goes off!!!

Featured Books This Month

*Note* All of the books/CD’s listed below are available for check-out at the Student Parent Help Center

Night-Night, Settle-Down Activities for Easy Bedtimes by Cynthia MacGregor

We Can Get Along, A Child’s Book of Choices by Lauren Murphy Payne, M.S.W.

Communication Miracles for Couples, Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict by Jonathan Robinson

31 Words to Create an Organized Life, Simple Strategies and Expert Advice to Win the Battle Against Chaos and Clutter by Marcia Zina Mager

Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen by David Walsh, Ph.D.

NO-Why Kids-of All Ages-Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It by David Walsh, Ph.D

Brain Tools: Say NO! to Frustration & Distraction by Dr. Gary Johnson (This is a stress relief CD for adults and teens)

Ever wonder if your children are affected by TV, video and computer games? In the next newsletter we will explore in depth the research that has been conducted on the effects of media on kids. Be sure to check out this important information.

Who’s Who at SPHC

Susan Warfield, MSW, LICSW
As the Director of the SPHC, I am responsible for overseeing all programs of the Student Parent HELP Center and supervising SPHC staff. This has meant that I have had to step back from having the degree of direct contact with students I have always enjoyed having. This has been a difficult but necessary step for me to take in order to meet the needs of our growing program. If you have an issue that absolutely cannot be addressed by another SPHC staff member, you may schedule an appointment with me. These appointments should be booked through the SPHC front desk. Intakes and basic questions about services offered should be directed to Jerri Wagner, Rebecca Hassett, Katie Schoeppner, or Zer Xiong. I am entering my 8th year with the HELP Center and during this journey have moved from on-line staff, to Coordinator and now Director. With this evolution has come an increase in responsibilities and duties. Please know that even though you may not see as much of me in the actual Center as you may have in the past, I continue to work each and every day to bring you the programming, funding and visibility on campus that student parents need to have a successful experience at the U of MN. We are experiencing a bit of a crisis on the private child care funding side and I really need to devote most of my attention this year to finding more child care assistance and emergency grant funding in order to keep up with demand. Have no fear; you will continue to hear my raucous laughter echoing through the SPHC!

Jerri Wagner, MSW, LGSW
I am the Direct Service Program Coordinator for the Student Parent HELP Center. Originally from New York State, I graduated from Syracuse University in 2000 with an undergraduate degree in theatre, with minors in sociology and women’s studies. After undergrad, I was an AmeriCorps volunteer for one year in Chicago, teaching arts integration on the west side in a Chicago Public School. In June of 2003, I graduated with my Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago. While in graduate school, I served as a therapist with Chicago’s Metropolitan YWCA, working with survivors of sexual assault and their families. From 2003-2006, I coordinated two statewide youth violence prevention programs for the Illinois Center for Violence Prevention in Chicago. Prior to relocating to Minneapolis, I spent March-June of 2006 traveling and learning abroad in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. I would love to talk about any of these varied experiences with you and really look forward to working with such an amazing and resilient population at the SPHC!

Rebecca Hassett
Hello! I am one of the new Graduate Social Work Interns this year. This is my first year in the MSW program and my first year at the U of M. I studied Political Science and Spanish at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I am very excited to be working at the Student Parent HELP center; I think it is an amazing program with much to offer students. I will be helping Jerri out with group during fall semester and I can’t wait to get started. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you!!

Katie Schoeppner
Hello student parents! I am so excited to meet all of you and get to know you over the course of the school year. I am in my first year of the Masters of Social Work program at the U of M and will be interning here for the entire school year. It has been five years since I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a degree in Psychology and Scandinavian Studies. Since graduating I have worked as a nanny in Sweden, as a program manager at an agency for adults with traumatic brain injuries, as a legal assistant at a small personal injury law firm and in the publisher’s office at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, MN. It is sure to be an eventful and exciting year!

Zer Xiong
Hi! It is my pleasure to be the undergraduate teaching assistant (UGTA) for the Student Parent Help Center. I am also a student parent myself. I have a son who was born on 11/27/06. Currently, I am pursuing a bachelor of arts in the Inter-College Program in the following three areas: Sociology, Family Social Science, and Public Health. Feel free to ask me any questions if you need help in the Student Parent Help Center.

Comments, questions or ideas about useful information for this newsletter can be directed to Katie Schoeppner at

September 1, 2007