ABOUT CAPERNAUM

Staff Bios

Jen Anderson

JEN ANDERSON, SLP

What is your role at Capernaum? 

Speech-Language Pathologist.

Why did you choose to become a therapist? 

To help children learn how to communicate, grow, and develop to their fullest potential. 

Schooling and background. 

I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD and a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. I hold my certificate of clinical competence through the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). I am a member of ASHA’s Special Interest Group 13 Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders Dysphagia. I worked in Baltimore, MD doing early intervention for 8 years, completing my clinical fellowship year there also. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member? 

How each person I interacted with prior to being hired cared about each patient fully and supported each other as a team to provide the best care for each patient possible. 

What is something you look forward to working at Capernaum? 

I look forward to continuing to work on feeding therapy with little ones and learn new speech-language skills working with older kids. 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon? 

I enjoy hiking in the woods, going for a walk by a lake, or relaxing on the couch! 

ABBY BERG, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am the home-based program supervisor and coordinator. I also treat infants and children in their homes or daycare settings. 

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I chose to become an occupational therapist after volunteering in a special education classroom during my senior year in high school. I was drawn to the profession because it seemed like a wonderful mix of art, psychology, and medicine. I have always worked in pediatrics and find it very rewarding.

Schooling and background information:

I have a BS in occupational therapy from the University of MN and am a continuing ed. junkie!

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I love doing home visiting and strongly believe that it is the best setting to provide treatment for children who have complex medical needs. I started working at Capernaum in 2009 after the home-based program I headed-up was discontinued at Courage Center. Capernaum is one of the few agencies in the Twin Cities that provide therapy services in the home.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

After working for 25+ years in the community, I have often been recognized by previous clients and their families. Just recently, a mom was videotaping while I was working with her child (only my hands were showing), and she put it up on a social media site. A minute later, another mom of a child I has worked with years ago saw the video, recognized my voice, and posted that she missed me and thought I was a great therapist…how cool is that!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

Spending time with my family and our goofball dog. It doesn’t really matter what we are doing as long as were together. That’s the best!  

ALI BICEK, OT/VP Development

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist at Academy of Whole Learning, Spectrum High School, and I provide home-based services. I also coordinate Capernaum’s community sites and have other administrative duties!

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

The OT field kept presenting itself to me in different ways, and each time I was more and more interested. My mother-in-law is a pediatric OT, and she really encouraged me to go for it. She made it look so fun!

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

On my 40th birthday, Capernaum coordinated a flash mob for me! They included my husband, parents, and 92-year-old grandmother! It was AWESOME!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I love to be on our boat with my family, exploring, and fishing. I also enjoy watching  my two boys do their sports and activities!

SIMONE BROVEGE, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

Home-based occupational therapist in the NW suburbs…and beyond.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

Forever, I can only recall wanting to “help” people.

Schooling and background information:

University of MN–Twin Cities, BS Child Psychology; St. Catherine’s–Minneapolis Campus, AA – Occupational Therapy Assistant; St. Catherine’s–St. Paul Campus, Occupational Therapist 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team?

I had heard some excellent things about CPT’s service delivery model.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

I have many but overall working with kids is the BEST! They keep therapy “fresh” and entertaining every single session. I have appreciated that families have “taken me in” to be part of their journey–we are a team–working together!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I like to wander around places: odd stores, museums, outdoors on my own, or with my own people.

 

VALERIE CARBALLO, SLP

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a speech-language pathologist providing services for children at two community sites and in the clinic.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I always wanted to work with children in some capacity. I found my passion for speech pathology when I was working with a kiddo whose speech pathologist came into the preschool where I was an assistant teacher. She gave me strategies to help this little girl communicate more in the classroom, and I found myself wanting to have that same ability to help kids grow and be successful by also helping their families and teachers. 

Schooling and background information:

I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison in Child Development and Communication Disorders. I moved to Minnesota and received my master’s degree in Speech-Language and Hearing Sciences from the University of Minnesota.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I love Capernaum’s mission to help children and families find joy in their journey. I believe that communication is a constant journey and the only way to stay motivated to continue to grow is to find joy in all parts of that journey.

Share something you look forward to working at Capernaum.

I look forward to getting back to my preschool roots and focusing on language development with kiddos in their natural setting. I also look forward to opportunities to learn from other clinicians and serve children in the speech and feeding clinic. 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I love spending time with my family playing with our dog, being outside, baking, or planning our next trip. 

LisaC

LISA CINAR, MD, Medical Director

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am the medical director of Capernaum. I oversee the tube optimization clinic and advise our therapists when needed. I help develop our company policies and procedures, and I provide annual staff training and medical consultations when requested.

Schooling and background information:

I received my Bachelor of Arts from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, graduating magna cum laude with a major in Biology. I graduated from medical school at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine in 2006. I had my pediatric residency training at the University of South Florida in Tampa and St. Petersburg. I am board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics since 2009.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I am excited to be a part of Capernaum because I believe in the vision and the people of this company. Serving children where they live, learn, and play is a unique model that creates a very special connection with our clients. I feel fortunate to have such a unique opportunity to provide much-needed services in a way that is unlike any other medical organization.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I enjoy spending my free time exploring the trails and parks of Minnesota with my family. Whether I’m biking, boating, rollerblading, or walking, I love taking in the fresh air and sunshine. The wide variety of native bird species are beautiful to hear and see, and I have especially enjoyed my numerous bald eagle sightings across Minnesota.

KRISTI DELARWELLE, PT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I teach the adapted dance classes through Capernaum.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I received physical therapy in elementary school after hurting my ankle, and it sparked my interest in the field. I began volunteering at a therapy clinic in a hospital and through adapted sports. When I started PT school, I thought I was going to work in sports medicine, but I really liked pediatrics. Working with children is always exciting. We work with such a diverse group of kids, and we’re always problem-solving to help the child and family. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing the joy on the child’s face and in the family when a child can do something new.

Schooling and background information:

Undergrad at UW-La Crosse in Biology with a minor in Spanish / Master’s at UW-La Crosse in Physical Therapy. Currently working on my Doctorate in Physical Therapy at St. Scholastica.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I was working at a school district in Wisconsin, and my mom saw an ad for a job at Capernaum. I was considering moving back to the Twin Cities so I applied. After my interview, I thought it just seemed right. Capernaum cares about their staff and the families they serve.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

We had our first dance recital at the old Edina clinic. We started with only three kids so we set out a couple rows of chairs. We had such an amazing turn-out that we had many people standing. I did not realize how many lives those kids touched and how many people would come support them.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

Free afternoon? What is that? With going to school and having a kid in sports, those are few and far between. I guess I enjoy running or hanging out with my daughter.

SydneyD

SYDNEY DUNITZ, PT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a physical therapist, and I have worked at Capernaum for 20 years. I have worked in home-based settings, clinics, schools, and aquatics. I love birth to three and preschool, but really I love working with children. I also enjoy helping new families adjust to life in America.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

Initially, I was a biologist, but I wanted to work with people, so I went to school for physical therapy. I had worked as a lifeguard/swim instructor for years throughout college and loved working one-to-one with people. Physical therapy was a wonderful program for me.

Schooling and background information:

I grew up in a suburb of NYC. I graduated from Boston College in biology and SUNY at Stony Brook for physical therapy. My husband and I moved to the Twins Cities in 1988. We live in Minnetonka with a sweet black lab rescue dog. Our adult children have left the nest and live on opposite coasts. We enjoy traveling to visit them.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I love the flexibility that Capernaum offers families and staff. I support the idea of treating children with respect and treating their needs in their setting. I believe in treating the whole child and working with the family to continue the successful treatments.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

My favorite story has occurred several times, and I love it! I will be out in the community meeting someone new, and when I say I work for Capernaum, they say, “Oh, I love Capernaum! My child/friend/patient had the best experience there.”

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I like to spend time with my friends, family, and my dog at the lake and dog park.

KatyE

KATY ELLEFSON, RD

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a registered dietitian and see patients for a variety of needs including: food allergies and intolerances, failure to thrive/underweight, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose/fructose intolerance (FODMAP elimination diet/low FODMAP), pre-diabetes/insulin resistance, tube feeding (including home-made blended formula), and vegetarian/vegan diet.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

Simply put, I love people and nutrition! The complexities of how food fuels our minds and bodies as well as its cultural significance are fascinating to me. I especially love childhood feeding dynamics and how food habits are developed. Bridging people to their health needs and goals through nutrition is a journey I feel honored to be a trusted part of.

Schooling and background information:

I graduated from UW-River Falls with a degree in Biology and Health and Human Performance and then from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Nutrition. I completed my dietetic internship with experiences that further propelled my interests into pediatric nutrition and community health. Following my internship, I was employed at Children’s Hospital where I acquired significant training in pediatric nutrition and counseling. Then in 2015, I started a dual role with HealthPartners Amery Hospital and Clinic as a community health coordinator and outpatient dietitian. This is a role that I currently maintain but that has transitioned to community health program manager for HealthPartners Lakeview Hospital.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

In my previous dietitian role at Children’s Hospital, I fell in love with pediatric nutrition counseling, particularly in the feeding clinic setting. I love the team approach to addressing childhood feeding concerns, including tube feeding weaning and feeding dynamics, and the opportunity to do this again at Capernaum was a huge draw for me. 

Share what you are looking forward to working at Capernaum.

I am looking forward to being a part of growing a tube optimization program with such potential to positively affect kids and families in an enormous way.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

The perfect afternoon would include something outdoors (on the river or in the woods), cooking and enjoying a delicious new recipe, tinkering with a sewing project, reading a cooking or nutrition magazine on the deck with a cup of tea, and ending with board games.

DANA FERNANDEZ, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist serving in the clinic, homes, and community sites.  

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

As a child, I used to attend community programs with my mother. From these programs, I came to learn the challenges that many children experienced, especially those that had an illness or disability. It was from that moment on that I realized that I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. I originally thought that becoming a neurologist would be the correct path, but after observing an occupational therapist, I realized that was the path that would allow me to make a difference in a child’s life and be part of every milestone they reached.

Schooling and background information:

I attended Marquette University for undergrad where I received my Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology degree. I, then, attended Creighton University where I graduated and received my Doctor in Occupational Therapy degree. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I wanted to expand my clinical skills and serve children of various backgrounds, which is exactly what Capernaum had to offer me. They have given me the opportunity to expand my skills by serving children in their homes, in the clinic, and in community sites.

Share what you are looking forward to working at Capernaum.

I look forward to serving children and families from various backgrounds. With some of them, I get to even use my Spanish-speaking skills. 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

My favorite way to spend a free afternoon would be taking my beagle mix dog, AJ, outside or catching up on a good book.

JENNY GALES, Operations Manager

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am the Operations Manager and part of the Leadership Team! Some of my duties include running our corporate office, handling the billing and accounts receivable, bookkeeping, HR, and other miscellaneous items.

 How did you discover Capernaum?

Upon graduating from college in 2010, I moved up to the Twin Cities and was looking for a part-time job before starting graduate school. While browsing the Star Tribune, I came across a 16-hour-per-week Administrative Assistant position with Capernaum. After being offered the job, my role and responsibilities quickly changed to full-time status. I deferred my graduate school start date for a variety of reasons, and the rest is history! My role and responsibilities with Capernaum have continued to evolve since 2010.

Schooling and background information:

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with minors in Spanish and Not-for-Profit Management.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

Initially, it was my desire to help people and utilize my administrative skills. That quickly developed into having a passion for these incredible kiddos and families we serve, and the fact that I could still make a huge impact in their lives, even from behind the scenes!

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

My favorite story about working for Capernaum is actually getting to hear all of the stories from our therapists! My heart overflows with joy when a therapist says to me, “You’ll never guess what so-and-so did today!” We celebrate everything – there is nothing too small to be thankful for!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

In the summer, it’s being outside as much as possible – typically either walking/hiking or playing disc golf. When the weather gets cold (and anything under 65 degrees is cold to me), you’ll find me cooking or baking, doing yoga and exercising, playing the clarinet, piano, and/or flute, or watching a TV show with my cat, Augustus!

RobynG

ROBYN GERRELLS, Patient Services Coordinator

What is your role at Capernaum?

I’m the patient services coordinator.

How did you discover Capernaum?

I was searching for an administrative role. As soon as Capernaum popped up on the job board, I knew I wanted the position.

Schooling and background information:

I have a Liberal Arts degree from Lake Region State College from my home town of Devils Lake, ND. I spent 15 years working with children in day cares, youth centers, and non-profits.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member? 

After working directly with children for so many years, I developed a great passion for advocacy and creating compassionate, healthy learning environments; however, I was ready for a more administrative role. So when I interviewed for this position and got a better feel for Capernaum’s mission to serve families, I knew I needed to be a part of it.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

I love having the opportunity to get to know everyone who walks into the clinic. Seeing the kiddos’ progress through therapy, hearing them say the craziest things, and giving them a high five and a sticker before they leave makes each day awesome.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I love spending time with my sister and the rest of my family when they visit the Cities; going to new restaurants and breweries with friends; weekend projects; going up north with my boyfriend; and, of course, hanging out at home with my cats, Indy and Zuko.

EMILY GORACKE, PT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a school and home-based physical therapist.  

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I chose to become a physical therapist knowing I wanted to work with children after observing it inaction. I love how it is a medical based profession that empowers the patient. I love to work with children and their families to meet their goals in order to be the happiest and healthiest they can be! Nothing beats seeing the look on a parent and child’s face when they achieve something new.  

Schooling and background information:

I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my undergraduate degree where I studied kinesiology. I then moved back to my home state of Minnesota for grad school, where I attended St. Catherine University. I began my career working in pediatric inpatient rehabilitation and am now focused on treating in the home and school-based settings. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I believe in the importance of working with children in their natural settings of home, daycare, and schools. Capernaum has a great reputation for being family focused for their clients and employees. I also respect how faith and community based their mission is.  

Share something you look forward to working at Capernaum.  

I look forward to collaborating with my amazing team of co-workers, as well as getting to know each child and family I have the opportunity to work with!   

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

My favorite ways to spend an afternoon are playing with my son, chasing around my two dogs, cooking with my husband, or getting out on the lake with my whole family. 

MEGHAN GRATHEN, PT

What is your role at Capernaum?

Home-based physical therapist.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

My love for math/science and my desire to work with others, specifically children and their families, to improve their quality of life, lead me to become a physical therapist.

Schooling and background information:

University of St. Thomas – BS / St. Catherine University – DPT

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I had a wonderful clinical experience at Capernaum in PT school!

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.
 
I greatly enjoy sharing in each and every one of my patients’ and their family’s successes as they grow and change throughout the time that I spend serving them–they are all my favorite!
 
What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?
 
I love to spend time with my husband and son. Going for walks, playing at the park, reading books, and exploring new places around the area are some of the things we enjoy!

BRIDGET IRELAND, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?  

I am an occupational therapist providing services to children and their families in clinic, school, and community sites. 

 Why did you choose to become a therapist?  

There have been numerous influential people and jobs in my life that led me to the path of OT. As a PCA for children and adults with disabilities, and supporting family members and friends impacted by illness, I felt a strong devotion and purpose to help people across the lifespan to feel fulfilled, empowered, and to participate in the daily activities that are important to them. Working side-by-side with families as a PCA, I found it incredibly rewarding and such an honor to be a part of each child’s development and daily accomplishments!  

Schooling and background.  

I graduated from Minnesota State University – Mankato with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Health Science. I then moved to the cities to attend graduate school at St. Catherine University to earn my Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?  

I had an incredible fieldwork experience with Capernaum, during which I quickly noticed the genuine care staff have for each family and child and the strong sense of support between team members – it felt like a family that I wanted to be a part of! 

 What is something you look forward to working at Capernaum?  

 I am looking forward to the joys of working with kids and their families every day and continuing to learn from my incredible coworkers! 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

A perfect afternoon for me would be spending time outside with my family, playing music with my fiancé and friends, trying a new craft, cooking up a new recipe, and relaxing with a book and cup of tea.  

RebeccaL

REBECCA LACHAPPELLE, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist, and I provide services to children in their homes and in schools. 

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I chose to become an occupational therapist because I like helping people achieve their goals, so that they can live their life to the fullest. 

Schooling and background information:

I have a Bachelors of Arts degree from Lawrence University, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I majored in psychology and minored in biology. I have a master’s degree in occupational therapy from East Carolina University, located in Greenville, North Carolina. Since graduating from ECU, I have pursued numerous continuing education courses, many of them with a focus on sensory processing. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

After many years of seeing children in a clinic, I decided that I wanted to work with children where they live, play, and learn, which is why Capernaum is such a good fit for me. I can go into client’s homes and schools and serve them in their natural environments. 

Share something you look forward to working at Capernaum.

I look forward to meeting new children and families and learning from them! Every family and child I have worked with so far has taught me something, and I can’t wait to continue to learn.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

Because I have two young boys at home, it is rare for me to get a “free” afternoon; most free time is spent chasing after them (literally and figuratively). When I get a free afternoon without kids, I like to indulge in a nap and watching some television. When we have a free afternoon as a family, we love to go for walks around the neighborhood and explore neighborhood parks and restaurants.

EMILY LARENZIE, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist at charter schools throughout Minneapolis. 

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I love working directly with children from all different backgrounds to help them achieve their goals and succeed in life. 

Schooling and background information:

I went to undergrad at Iowa State (go Cyclones!) and completed my doctoral OT program at Creighton University in Nebraska. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I feel very connected to the mission and values that Capernaum holds. They align with the type of therapist I aspire to be and the type of team members who I want to surround myself with. 

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

One of my favorite stories is about the summer groups I ran last year. Some of the kiddos were nervous to participate at first, but after a few weeks, everyone became comfortable and engaged with the group activities. It was so fun seeing the kids connect and make friendships with one another! 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I love to spend time at the dog park with my husband and our Shiba Inu, Indi. Otherwise, I love (attempting) to cook new recipes, going on nature walks, or thrifting items from secondhand stores for our new home!   

LisaL

LISA LINDQUIST, Corporate Office Assistant

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am the corporate operations assistant/social media coordinator.

How did you discover Capernaum?

Many years back, I was in between jobs when Bonna asked if I could fill in for someone on maternity leave. I agreed and when that person returned, we split the position, and I’ve been here ever since.

Schooling and background information:

I have a BA in Theater Arts (technical emphasis) from the University of MN. I worked in technical and administrative theater settings for a number of years before joining Capernaum.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

When we started our family, it was my desire to be at home with them. Capernaum gave me the option to work from home, which was the perfect solution to our family’s situation. Capernaum’s emphasis on family was very important to me.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

Bonna challenged me to help decorate the Richfield clinic. Incorporating Bonna’s vision and making it a reality was a fun adventure. I’m thrilled whenever families feel “at home” there.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

Spending time with my family doing anything! We especially enjoy road trips to local river towns, poking around antique stores, and sharing a meal together at a local restaurant. I also enjoy gardening, home projects, reading, and watching movies.

Beth Marpe

BETH MARPE, SLP

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a home-based speech-language pathologist.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I took a job interest survey in my sophomore year of college, because I had to declare a major but had NO idea what I wanted to do. Speech therapy came up as being highly compatible with my responses, though I knew nothing about it! I switched schools and declared it my major–that was in 1991. I have come to really enjoy what I didn’t know existed!

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

My most touching story comes from my initial employment with Capernaum in 2010. I was seeing a 4-year-old for articulation at the former Monticello clinic. We were playing a game and working on our sounds. He stopped the game, looked at me, and said, “You know Jesus, don’t you?” That is my heart’s desire—for Jesus to be living and seen in me. 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I enjoy cooking and hanging out with my dear husband, Tim.

MorganM

MORGAN MARTIN, Insurance Specialist

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am Capernaum’s insurance specialist. I check insurance benefits, obtain prior authorizations, and keep everything insurance-related up to date!

 How did you discover Capernaum? 

In 2017, I was perusing online job posting looking for something that related to my interests in working with children as well a patient intake. I applied, and here I am three years later!

Schooling and background information:

I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science from North Dakota State. (Go Bison!) My focus was Child Development, and I also received a minor in Psychology. Currently, I am working towards my master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education through St. Cloud State University.

Share a favorite story about  working at Capernaum.

When I started with Capernaum in 2017, I worked in our administrative office at the time and didn’t get to see patients too often. With the opening of our clinic in Richfield, it has been so fun to be here when the kiddos come in. I love hearing the energy of the kids and their little voices having fun with our therapists!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

In warm weather, I love to be outside! A free afternoon would most likely consist of relaxing outside or going for a walk or bike ride. Free weekends in the summer are spent heading up to my family’s cabin on Lake Vermilion. In the winter, I do some skiing (both downhill and cross country); otherwise, I like to be warm and spend time inside with family and friends.

LynneO

LYNNE OGG, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a home-based and school-based occupational therapist.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

When I started to think about a career, I looked at interior design and therapy. I ultimately decided upon occupational therapy because I liked the creativity we could use, and I realized I wanted to help people and make a difference in people’s lives.

Schooling and background information:

I graduated with a BA from the College of St. Catherine’s. I’m married with two amazing boys, and I have been working on/off (between breaks to be a stay-at-home mom when my kids were little) for almost 20 years.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I was looking for a summer on-call job (YEARS AGO) and was hired by Capernaum. When I quit my full-time job to become a mom 15 years ago, I remained on call at Capernaum for a while, took some time off, and then slowly began to move to part time as my kiddos grew. I have always loved and appreciated how family-oriented and supportive Capernaum has been!

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

I never made it to the office too often, but when I did, I always received a warm welcome and a hug from Bonna and Marcia (previous co-owner). They always made me feel special and welcome in our “family” at Capernaum.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

That’s a hard one! I’d have to pick between painting (or some type of art project), baking, or hanging out outside with my family!

BonnaO

BONNA OLSON, PT/Administrator/Owner

What is your role at Capernaum?

It is hard to describe my role at Capernaum. I am a physical therapist and treat a little. As far as administration goes, I wear many hats, and any hat that is without a person, I will try to wear that one, too! Hopefully, my role is an encourager, a wise decision maker, a leader, and living out Capernaum’s philosophy, mission, and motto in my work/interactions.

What made you choose to become a therapist?

I chose to become a physical therapist because it was a medical field with one-on-one interactions where I could encourage, educate, and assist someone in their own physical improvement/recovery. I love how personal it is.

Schooling and background information:

I graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with a BA in Physical Therapy.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

Marcia Mattson and I began working together in 1981. I had just graduated from PT school, and she had already been a therapist for several years. We began working in a group home. I was employed by the group home, and she came in to provide direct services. The Lord kept expanding our opportunities to provide therapy at different sites. In 1988, we both wanted more time for our families and more flexibility, so we incorporated and became Capernaum Pediatric Physical Therapy, Inc. and solely worked on growing Capernaum. It wasn’t long and we were also providing occupational and speech therapy services, so we changed our name to Capernaum Pediatric Therapy, Inc. in the early 1990s. We continued to grow as the Lord opened doors. It has been an amazing adventure. Marcia is now retired, and we sold our clinics, but God still has plans for Capernaum. Our homebased, school, and community site services continue to grow! 

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

Since I have been in this field so long, I have a lot of favorite stories. Most recently, two different moms found me (one in a store and one at church) and told me how well their children were doing, and that it was because of Capernaum’s services. One even quoted words I had spoken to her long ago! That was powerful and reminded me of the influence we have to encourage and lift others up. Another favorite story is when one of my little ones received her very own walker. She was outside walking and her words were, “This is amazing! I am amazing!” Nothing better than that!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

If I could do anything, I would gather my adult children and their spouses or significant others, go on a hike or bike ride somewhere by water, eat at an outdoor restaurant for dinner, and just sit and laugh and chat about crazy things!

KirstenO

KIRSTEN O'ROURKE, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist providing services to children and their families in the clinic and schools.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I learned about occupational therapy while I was working as a social worker. I chose to become an occupational therapist so that I could more directly serve others. I also chose to pursue a career in OT because it incorporated a lot of things that I am passionate about including building and maintaining relationships with others, empowering others, and thinking outside of the box.

Schooling and background information:

I graduated from Augsburg College with an undergraduate degree in social work and then later obtained a master’s degree in occupational therapy from St. Catherine University.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

Capernaum has an excellent reputation for being family-centered and serving children in their natural settings, which is really important and aligns with my values. The Capernaum staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about helping others; I feel so grateful to be part of this amazing team.

What is something you look forward to working at Capernaum?

I enjoy working with kids because it is so much fun, and I truly learn something new every day! I am also looking forward to serving others and making a positive difference in other people’s lives!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

My favorite way to spend a free afternoon is outside, preferably hiking somewhere near the water with my husband and daughter, and then going to a restaurant or making something delicious to eat.

MaggieP

MAGGIE PEARSON, PT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a physical therapist currently serving home-based clients in the northwest metro area.  

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I knew that I wanted to be in healthcare since high school, but I wasn’t sure specifically which area. I shadowed a few physical therapists during college and decided that would be a good fit for me.  

Schooling and background information:

I went to college at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Then I moved to St. Louis, MO and attended Physical Therapy School at Washington University in St. Louis. After graduating, I have worked in many settings including adult acute care, home-based pediatrics, early intervention, and outpatient pediatrics. I received my specialist certification in pediatric physical therapy in 2017. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I love being able to meet families and children in their homes. This allows me to really help them find fun ways to incorporate physical activity and developmental activities into their lives to help the child’s development.  

What is something you look forward to working at Capernaum?

I am excited to be part of a team that is dedicated to serving children where they live, learn, and play! I love getting to know families and having fun while I help children to learn new skills.  

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

If I have a free afternoon, I love to be outside with my family. Spending time at a lake and playing in the water is even better!   

GinaR

GINA RAINELLI, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist who works with children in home-based, school, and community sites

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

As a child, my mom was a caregiver to many people with disabilities and would take me to work with her, so I became comfortable around many people of all abilities. In high school, I worked in a day program and residence for people with developmental disabilities, and saw many facets of OT in these setting, and loved what they were doing with the clients/residents. As I grew to know more about OT philosophy of helping people become more independent in their daily activities, and that OT has its background in mental health, I knew it was the right career for me.  

Schooling and background information:

I have my BA in health sciences and my MA in occupational therapy from St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. I have my post-professional doctorate with a concentration in pediatrics from Rocky Mountain University in Provo, UT. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

As a public school therapist, I had heard about Capernaum. I had read many reports from a Capernaum therapist and was impressed with the therapist’s skills with children. When I interviewed, what really caught my attention was that I would have the ability to work in many areas of OT such as school, clinic, community, and home-based settings. I also knew I would get the support and guidance I needed as I grew my skills into areas of OT that were new to me.    

Share a favorite story about working at Capernaum:

I have so many! The amount of support and kindness I have received from everyone I work with is beyond amazing. Next would be working with a high schooler on life skills so she can live independently when she graduates. The special ed teacher and administrator have said that since I started working with her, she has been showing up to school (after being chronically absent and having difficulty in school even though she is very smart) and has a spring in her step. Then there is being able to see my home-based little ones meet milestones for the first time when I am with them. It’s all so rewarding!   

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I love to travel (I love road trips); be outside, especially grilling or by a bonfire with family and friends; swim in Lake Superior or any lake; take walks with my dog, Georgia; binge watch TV; and eat new foods to me ( I recently tried Korean and Ethiopian foods for the first time…both delicious!).   

KristinR

KRISTIN RIES, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist and provide home-based services.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

Growing up, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I discovered occupational therapy in high school and loved that it seemed to encompass all the areas I enjoyed in life. It was similar to teaching, but also included some psychology, creativity, and medicine. I am especially honored to be able to work with kids and help them during such important years of their lives.

Schooling and background information:

I went to Creighton University in Omaha, NE for undergrad and for my doctorate in occupational therapy.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I have worked in several clinic and hospital settings, as well as the school system. I truly love providing care to children in the home setting and think it is the best place for kids with complex medical needs. 

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

One of my favorite recent stories comes after weeks of not being able to see kids in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During my first telehealth session with a client working on feeding, his computer screen turned, and he immediately said, “It’s my Kristin! I’ve missed you and can’t wait to have a picnic today.” We proceeded to include the whole family in our therapeutic picnic. I had my own plate of food at home, and we took turns trying new things. It was so fun and one of our most successful sessions so far!

 What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I love spending time at our cabin in Grand Rapids with my family, going for walks with my husband and two kids, and playing the piano or baking.

DawnS

DAWN SCHUETTE, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an in-home occupational therapist. 

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I worked in an adult group home in college and knew that working with people with disabilities was what I wanted to do for a career. I began researching many different degrees/careers and came across OT. I knew right away this was exactly what I wanted to do. 

Schooling and background information:

I went to Bethel University for two years right out of high school. After I discovered OT, I transferred to St. Kate’s where I graduated in 1996 with a BA in OT. I have spent my entire career all over the United States including WA, CA, NC (twice), and VA as the wife of a Marine. I have worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehab, outpatient hand therapy, lymphedema, early intervention, pediatric clinic, and finally in-home ages 0-21 (mostly children with developmentaldelay/autism). My pediatric background has been primary for the last 10 years. Now at Capernaum, I am back to in-home early intervention which is my favorite setting. My husband retired from the USMC in 2014, and we finally made the big (and final move) to MN in the summer of 2017 to our “forever home,” and I am so glad we did.   

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

In-home therapy is my favorite setting. I believe that children (especially 0-3) can best be served in the home, where parents can be involved in the session and equipment needs, in general, are low.  After meeting Bonna and Abby, I knew right away that I would love being a part of the Capernaum team.   

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

My favorite story is really a success story of working with a family to help their son go from not putting anything in his mouth to getting him to eat by mouth, and eventually not need his feeding tube. 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon? 

I enjoy working out in my garage each day and running  my kids around to their sports and activities (ages 16 and 12). I really enjoy doing hard things that test my physical and mental toughness. My most recent  adventure was riding a mountain bike around the White Rim in Moab Utah with a group of 15 women. It was 100 miles and took 4 days.  We camped under the stars of the desert, and it was the hardest physical and mental challenge I have ever accomplished.   

AmyS

AMY STROHM, PT

Amy is a home-based physical therapist and has been with Capernaum for many years!

Paige Vetch

PAIGE VETCH, OT

What is your role at Capernaum? 

I am currently serving as an occupational therapist at two different charter schools: Beacon Academy and Higher Ground Academy.

Why did you choose to become a therapist? 

I chose to become a therapist because each day I get to come into ‘work’ and play! I love helping children learn how to engage in play, in social skills, and in managing their emotions.

Schooling and background. 

I received my undergraduate degree in Biology from Saint Mary’s University. I received my Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Saint Catherine University.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member? 

I chose to join the Capernaum team because I love the range of community sites that Capernaum services. Knowing that if there is a need, Capernaum will try their best to fill that need, which is reassuring to serving the whole child and whole community.

What is something you look forward to working at Capernaum? 

I look forward to learning from a variety of different therapists and professionals! With having so many community areas, I know I will be able to learn something new all of the time.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon? 

I LOVE spending time playing games with my husband, family, or friends! We really like to play board games; however, card games do the trick, too!

KariW

KARI WADERICH, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am an occupational therapist, and I work at two community sites:  Northside Child Development Center and Southside Family Nurturing Center.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I was introduced to occupational therapy when I was working for a group home company for adults with disabilities. Through my relationship with those residents, I learned that everyone deserves to live a meaningful life, whatever that may mean to the unique individual. I have also been inspired by the creativity, empathy, and striving for understanding which seem to me to be inherent to the field of occupational therapy.

Schooling and background information:

I have a bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and English Literature from Bethel University in St. Paul, and I have my master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

The more I learned about Capernaum, the mission, and the people, the more I wanted to be a part of this company. 

Share a favorite story about working at Capernaum

Most children are quick to associate OT with having fun, but some take a little longer to warm up to the idea and those kids are my favorite! I once had a client who I don’t think smiled at me for the first month or more. So stubborn and grumpy! I had to be really creative in finding activities to work on his goals, and so much of those first sessions were spent just trying to build rapport and get his buy-in. One day I heard him say something about PJ Masks (a kid’s TV show that luckily my own kids really like!), and I told him I wanted to be Owlet, and did he want to be Cat Boy or Gecko? He was shocked! We then played the rest of the session in character. He did so many of the therapeutic activities I wanted him to do, AND I saw him smile for the first time (a beautiful smile!). He continued to be stubborn and grumpy going forward because that is just who he is, but I got better and better at finding the ways to make practicing the tricky stuff fun for him, and he was more willing to try. I learned a lot from him, and whenever I could get a grin or a laugh out of him, it felt like such a triumph! 

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

I have small children who keep me very occupied, but when I have time, I love gardening and making things. If it’s a really special day, I would go to a movie!

AlicaW

ALICIA WALES, PT

What is your role at Capernaum?

I am a physical therapist serving in homes, clinic, and at two of our community sites (NCDC/AOWL). I have also substituted in school settings.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

I was inspired by my high school athletic trainer and my grandparents’ experiences with PT.

Schooling and background information:

I earned my BS degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, and my Doctor of Physical Therapy from the College of St. Scholastica. One of my PT internships was at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. 

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I absolutely love working with children! It is such a blessing to be a part of their growth and development. At Capernaum, I have the unique opportunity to work in multiple pediatric settings.

Share a favorite story while working at Capernaum.

Helping kids I treat become more independent movers and share my excitement of their accomplishments with their families.

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

Hiking, baking, board games, and playing with my dog.

CarolW

CAROL WELTON, OT

What is your role at Capernaum?

Occupational therapist.

Why did you choose to become a therapist?

In high school, I babysat for a family with 5 children; their second child had hydrocephaly, spinal bifida, and major feeding issues. I enjoyed learning and assisting with his cares. Several times I accompanied his mother to therapy and medical appointments and became interested in OT.

Schooling and background information:

Undergraduate OT degree from St. Catherine’s; graduate degree from St. Mary’s. I have worked in Infant Home Intervention programs (before schools became mandated providers), adult rehab, and the last 33 years, as an itinerant OT in schools.

What made you desire to become a Capernaum team member?

I was looking for a part-time opportunity, preferably in schools, but also not contracting on my own – perfect fit!

What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?

Golfing or time with family and/or friends.

KRISTA WILLIAMSON, PT

Krista is a physical therapist who works in the school setting and has served with Capernaum for many years!