Never once did I ever feel judged or “less than” when interacting with Jennie during coaching calls. She always took the time to respond in a kind way, giving me things to think about. I still use some of the Hub’s checklists and templates every day!
Jennie’s energy is contagious! My partner and I appreciated her belief that we were on the right path, we just needed different items for our journey. Her confidence in our abilities and access to tools & resources was exactly what we needed.
I may not have questions during every coaching call, but when I do, responses are out of the park, when it comes to helping me navigate challenges we might be experiencing that week in our household. I can’t imagine a life without Jennie. Every family needs Jennie!
My nephew’s mental health diagnosis and out-of-control behaviors had become too much for my sister to be able to handle. He moved in with me last year and I wish I would have had the Hub when he moved in! It was pure chaos for 6 months. I have found everything really helpful and I’m thankful that I have a calmer environment.
So who is Jennie?
Professionally, Jennie has spent years working with families in her local community as a mental health provider. She has a dual master, in both Professional & School Counseling, with an additional post-graduate certification in Play Therapy. Jennie is a Licenced Professional Counselor (Missouri), National Certified Counselor (United States), EMDR certified (EMDRIA), and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (APT). As a trauma therapist, she not only sees clients but also presents for local community agencies. She has been trained in and uses multiple evidence-based modalities such as EMDR, TF-CBT, CPP, DBT, and TAC. She also has additional training in Brainspotting (Phase 1, 2 & Adoption Constellation) as well as Safe and Sound Protocol through ILS/Unyte. She currently serves on the ILS/Unyte Social impact team. In her professional free time (ha!) Jennie is also an adjunct professor at a local university teaching Neurobiology and Play Therapy, and is involved on her home state’s play therapy association board. Her contributions to the field and her community have not gone unnoticed. In 2016 she won the Katherine Boone Outstanding Play Therapist Award, for her contributions to the play therapy community and in 2021 she was nominated and won C.A.S.E’s 2021 TAC Star of Adoption award for the work and impact she has made in serving adoptive, foster, and kinship families. She has provided countless training to foster and adoptive families in her region and is consistently reaching out to her elected officials to educate them on the need for more mental health treatment for children and adolescents.
Personally, Jennie and her husband have been married since 2005, and they have been foster parents since 2009 — fostering over 40 children placed in their home, including large sibling sets, medically special needs, and elevated behavioral needs. She and her husband also volunteer with a local youth ministry program. Overall, she has been stunned at the lack of quality mental health and community supports to not only prevent families from going into crisis but also to support those families currently in the midst of crisis. She will be transparent in sharing that she is not any different than other families, and at times she has needed extra support outside of the traditional weekly therapy for her children. She is bewildered by how many times her family has been given advice or suggestions by local professionals that have stemmed from outdated research or just based on opinions. She’s alarmed with how many times professionals have failed to validate what she and her husband have experienced or support her and her husband in a non-judgemental way. Not to mention the number of educators that have completely dismissed her family’s concerns which have unnecessarily impacted her children’s educational journey in a negative way. This has all fueled her passion for wanting more for families who are raising children with mental health diagnoses and/or behavioral disorders.
Why Parent Hub?
As many know Jennie is currently a private practice group practice owner (Step By Step Counseling) and a private practice clinician. In her role, she has noticed that many potential families in her office have had to turn down counseling services because of insurance coverage, scheduling, or distance from the office. She’s always believed that families need more options! She loves the work she does but wants to do more. As the owner of Step By Step Counseling, for years she’s been asked by community partners and colleagues to provide parenting resources to support caregivers in their parenting journey. She’s been told “we need more than the general Facebook groups out there,” and that we “wish you had more to offer!” Additionally, families have always enjoyed the parent workshops and webinars that she has provided through her office over the years.
Caregivers are overwhelmed. Caregivers are burnt out.
Over the past 10+ years, she has gotten calls where caregivers want tips, tricks, and guidance on how to find joy and instill peace in their household. So she began thinking…
- What if we could support our caregivers in a better way?
- What if we could centralize the information to provide easy access from any location such as home or work?
- What if families had a safe and nurturing space to find resources to help themselves or their families?
- What if, beyond that, caregivers had a place to interact with like-minded caregivers sharing their own insights and experiences. When they elevate their family experience, they share their positive experiences, thus paying it forward.
That’s when she started thinking about the Hub. She wanted a place where families feel supported, encouraged, and celebrated! She wants an online community where parents, foster parents, and guardians feel safe enough to share about their family’s struggles and receive the encouragement or practical solutions they are seeking. She wants to help all caregivers; whether they are foster or adoptive caregiver parenting a child with trauma, or a biological parent struggling with their child’s mental health diagnosis (Bipolar, DMDD, ADHD, Autism, etc). And let’s be honest: parents spend a lot of hours worrying and searching for answers. She hopes to alleviate some of the stress of searching by providing ONE single location where answers and support can be found. She can promise that she does not have the magic wand to make things better, but she can commit to providing community, helpful resources, and evidence-based support.