Frank Lamere (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), is a social and political activist from Nebraska and founder of the Memorial March to Honor Lost Children. Mr. LaMere chairs the Community Initiative for Native Children and Families and facilitates the Four Directions Parenting Program in Sioux City, Iowa. Frank serves as a consultant to several boards and councils, including a community health center, the Winnebago Hospital, Mercy Medical Center and the Briar Cliff University Social Work program.
Emmerlynne Bear Comes Out is a recruiter for the IowakidsNet Native Families for Native Children (NFRNC) — a collaborative effort to help recruit native families to start foster homes for native youth.
Nora Boesm is from South Dakota. She was born in Scottsdale, Ariz., but moved to S.D. in her teen years. She married her best friend 18 years ago. Together, they have fostered 90 children and adopted 12 children. Most of their children have had some form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Nora has worked to build community awareness and provide education in the field of FASD the past 12 years. She has had to be an advocate for her adopted children and foster children. Nora founded Roots to Wings, an online family support organization, in 2007.
Tom Bouska is a service area manager for the Iowa Department of Human Services.
Richard Closter serves as the Community Liaison for the Western Iowa Service Area of the Iowa Department of Human Services, working primarily in the 14 northern counties of the area. Previous to this position he worked for the Department in positions in quality assurance and program improvement for the financial assistance programs and has also worked as a supervisor for income maintenance units for the Department. For many years he served as a program specialist and trainer for caseworkers in the financial assistance programs.
Chiara Cournoyer works with the Native Families for Native Children (NF4NC) initiative. Cournoyer is a graduate of Briar Cliff University, where she participated in the Siouxland Indian Child Welfare Traineeship Project — the first time a university in the U.S. used child welare workforce development funds to focus solely on the development of aNative American child welfare social workers.
Heather Craig-Oldsen is a child welfare consultant an adjunct professor of social work at Briar Cliff University. A former full-time professor at BCU, Craig-Oldsen was the principal investigator of Briar Cliff’s Siouxland Indian Child Welfare Traineeship Project (SICWTP), which promoted the professionalization of child welfare through support of culturally appropriate undergraduate social work education.
Shane Frisch is the supervisor of the Native Unit for Iowa Department of Human Services.
Jen Gomez works for the Sioux City Community Schools and is the Director of Students Services and Equity Education. Jen has been with the school district since 2008 and has served as an assistant principal at North High School, Head Counselor, and school counselor at West High School. Jen has a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Iowa, a Master's degree in Education and School Counseling from the University of South Dakota, and a Master's degree in School Administration and Education Leadership from Wayne State College. In addition, Jen holds a school counselor national certification.
Ashley Hopkins works for Four Oaks Organization, one of the largest private, not-for-profit child welfare/juvenile justice organizations in the state of Iowa.
Julia Kleinschmit is a clinical associate professor and program administrator for the University of Iowa’s Master of Social Work program. Her areas of interest and research include reducing the number of native children int the child welfare system and the nuber of children of color in juvenile detention.
Dawn Lutje is the service area leader for IowaKidsNet, an organization that recruits, trains, licenses and supports families to foster and adopt children in the state of Iowa.
Pat Penning is a graduate of Morningside College and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the State of Iowa. She is a former DHS employee of 35 years; working in all areas of the agency including cash and food assistance, services for adults, and child welfare. Pat was a Service Area Manager for 13 years in the Des Moines and Sioux City Services Areas. During that time she worked collaboratively with the community to implement the Minority Youth and Family Initiatives and the Breakthrough Series Collaborative. Recently retired, Pat continues her commitment to serve the children and families of Iowa through volunteer work, involvement with the BSC, and serving as an RPI facilitator.
Gary Niles is the chief juvenile court officer for the third judicial district court of Iowa. He has held that position for 15 years and before that served as a supervisor in the Woodbury County Juvenile Court Services Office. He started the Woodbury County Drug Court in 1999 which has been recognized at a state level and been the subject of a book length research study because of its innovative structure and better than national average outcomes.
Elizabeth (Liz) Rembold is the director of the social work program and assistant professor of social work at Briar Cliff University. She received her B.A from the University of South Dakota and her M.S.W from the University of Iowa. She is an LISW in Iowa and CSW-PIP in South Dakota. Liz worked for almost 15 years in clinical practice, in both inpatient and outpatient mental health settings and has worked with children, families, and adults. Her interests include infant and early childhood mental health and child welfare. She currently resides in Yankton, S.D. with her husband Josh and their three daughters.
Misty Thomas is the social services director at Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska. She is a member of the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska and a descendant of the Tlingit of Alaska. She has been featured regionally and nationally for her expertise on social justice issues; including as a guest blogger for the White House as a “Champion of Change.”
Roland Warner is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Roland was born and raised on the Winnebago Indian Reservation where he currently resides with his family. He is considered one of the spiritual leaders of the Winnebago community, where he is asked from time to time to be of service to his people. Roland has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State College with an emphasis in Human Services Counseling. Currently he is in the Master’s Program where he is working to become a Mental Health Clinician. Roland works with the Iowa Department of Human Services as a Tribal/Native Liaison where he helps Native families in the Sioux City area.