Providing Tools for Success


Newborn Jack was found, laid on a bed of flowers. Nate was found in a desolate area. Both abandoned by their birth parents, they would spend more than a decade of their life in an orphanage.

Jack’s vision problems were so severely neglected, he was unable to see to complete his homework. Scoliosis plagues Nate’s body and he has never been able to dress and shower himself. The boys, living together in close quarters in the orphanage, found solace in one another. Nate would help Jack with his homework and Jack would shower and dress Nate. They were like brothers the way they’d bicker, play games together and look out for each other.

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Confidence and Trust at Camp Knutson


When Mona and Kurt Hjerpe brought their daughter, Meghan, to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Camp Knutson for the first time, they were a bit nervous. They hoped she would make friends, be alright without them and learn skills to enhance her independence.

But what was different for the Hjerpes from many parents, is that Meghan has Down syndrome. That meant that though they talked about camp, and Meghan was excited to go, they weren’t sure exactly how much she understood about being away from them for a week. As a teenager with a disability, Meghan had not experienced being on her own without her close-knit family nearby.

Camp Knutson partners with the Down Syndrome Foundation to provide summer camping experiences for young people with Down syndrome. Last year, Camp Knutson served over 1,000 campers with medical or developmental needs.

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Disaster Response, Teaching Preparedness and Resiliency

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Sisters Jalayisa (5) and Marissa (10) lived in Columbia, South Carolina with their family in 2015 when a ‘1,000 year flood’ came pouring down. For almost a week water fell from the sky in sheets, with more than 18 inches of rain reported in the area over just one 24-hour period. The girls didn’t fully understand what was happening. Their schools were closed. The power was out and they couldn’t leave their house for five days as the water was up to their door. Major roads were inaccessible. After the rain subsided it left the Boyd family with damaged pipes and mold that forced them to move. The girls wondered why so many bad things were happening all around them.

Disaster changes lives — especially for children who need to process their experiences in order to begin the healing process and rebuild hope for their future. Camp Noah, a program of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, is designed to help children heal from disaster and trauma by focusing on building resiliency skills and helping children prepare for whatever storms in life they may experience.

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