PCLG is comprised of parents and caregivers of children with diagnosed mental health conditions in Hennepin County
See our bios below:
See our bios below:
Triasia Givens is a mental health practitioner and co-owner of Healing & Restoration Consulting LLC, as well as the newly established non-profit: Parenting Beyond Abilities. She currently serves as the co chair for the Black Parents Advisory Council and is a dual graduate student in the Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership and Co-Occurring Disorders Programs at Metropolitan State University. She is a certified Family Peer Specialist who has experience and certifications in Domestic and Sexual Violence, Positive Discipline Parenting, and Youth Mental Health First Aid. She is also a recent alumna of the Wilder Community Equity Program. When Triasia is not serving families or studying, she is raising her 10 year old son.
Liz Gronert is the current co-chair of Parent Catalyst Leadership Group and the Governance Committee of the Children‘s Mental Health Collaborative. Liz has been an Advanced Facilitator for Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). She has been connected to family and parent (peer) support groups for 15 plus years after her oldest child was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at an early age. Liz was one of the first (volunteer) facilitators of online support with DBSA at that time. She works as a Customized Employment Coordinator with Kaposia, Inc., an organization that assists individuals experiencing barriers to employment bring their strengths and interests to the competitive employment arena. As the parent of two children who live life with mental health challenges, Liz has found the greatest resource for her as a parent has been connection to other families and their real life experiences. Gratitude for that connection is what brought and keeps Liz volunteering with children’s mental health advocacy and awareness.
Margaret “Peggy” Larkin, JD, is a parent of two girls, one who is now an adult with a family of her own and a teenager, each with mental health diagnoses. Peggy is a member of the State Subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health, Minnesota Coalition to Lower MA TEFRA Parental Fees and is a PACER parent leader. She is also an active member of the Parent Catalyst Leadership Group, a division of the Hennepin County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative. Peggy grew up in South Minneapolis, working with adults with disabilities as a young volunteer at Powderhorn Park and volunteered to work with special education students at Washburn High School while in high school. She earned her B.A., graduating summa cum laude, from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a major in psychology, and completed her JD at Mitchell | Hamline School of Law. Peggy is a licensed attorney and has experience in family, municipal, and criminal law, including: problem-solving courts aimed at improving the lives of individuals with a mental health diagnosis, veterans, women involved in prostitution, individuals experiencing homelessness, and people struggling with addiction. She has been a volunteer advocate at a shelter for women experiencing domestic violence, has testified for tenant rights before the Minnesota Legislature, and lobbied congress in Washington D.C. for increased education funding for college students who are low-income, first-generation, or disabled. Peggy’s compassion for families and children struggling with challenges when a child in the family is diagnosed with mental illness grew out of her personal experiences as a single parent helping her own children manage their symptoms and ultimately lead a fulfilling life.
Beth Lovre (B.S. in Paralegal Studies with an emphasis in Public Interest, Minnesota State University Moorhead) is an Elementary School Volunteer Coordinator and a previous Medical Assistance Eligibility Specialist and County Financial Worker. Beth passionately advocates for her two children with mental health needs by navigating the complex systems of medical care and county programs. She shares her own mental health challenges and her families’ journey in hopes of encouraging others and reducing the stigma associated with mental health. Part of this single mom’s self-care routine is listening to music, coloring or snuggling with her Pug Melvin. When she is feeling motivated, she will tackle an improvement project in her house or in the yard. Her volunteer work and her continued education are fueled by the goal of making mental health services accessible for all by advocating systematic change.
Karen Malka is a parent of two daughters living with mental health challenges and a teacher. Karen’s 18 years of advocacy for her daughters in the areas of education, medication, county services and the mental health system, have allowed her to share her lived experiences and knowledge with other families. In addition to her personal experiences, Karen has been very involved in the area of children’s mental health. She is a Co-chair of the Parent Catalyst Leadership Group, facilitator for its monthly parent support group, and also sits on the Governance committee of the Hennepin County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative. Karen has served on the board of the Minnesota Disability Law Center and the Statewide Family Network. She has received both state and national certification as a Certified Family Peer Specialist, and has had the opportunity to share her experiences with students studying medicine and special education at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg University. She has participated in Children’s Psych Consult protocols for Bipolar Disorder at the DHS. Karen feels that, in addition to the learning gained by attending many workshops, conferences and trainings over the years, the opportunity to come together with other parents who “get it” has been one of the best gifts, and that connection is what has kept her going both personally and as a volunteer in the community to reduce stigma, build awareness, break down the walls of isolation for families and bring about positive change for our kids.
Cathy Moen is the parent to one child and is employed at Nestlé Health Science. As a member of the Parent Catalyst Leadership Group and a parent who has actively engaged in mental health conferences and workshops, she has learned that advocating for your child is where you will find the best success. She has personal experience in dealing with school mental health issues and sits on the School Based Mental Health Committee of the Hennepin County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative. She enjoys spending time with her family & friends, traveling, shopping, decorating and organizing.
Margaret Sullivan serves as the Coordinator for PCLG. As a parent learning to navigate the tangled web of special education and mental health services for her own children, she became inspired to become an advocate for system reform and pursued an MPA at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She has long been committed to fair representation and improving outcomes for less advantaged community members by promoting their active participation on governing councils for schools cities, counties, and nonprofits. She has served in leadership positions at the Minneapolis Special Education Advisory Council, Minneapolis Interagency Early Intervention Committee, the HPDL Neighborhood Organization, the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company, and the Lyra Baroque Orchestra Board of Directors.
Sarah Vinueza is mother of two children and works as Resident Services Lead at Assisted Living. She has received her Senior Living Culinary Management certification. She was in the Early Childhood Education Magnet in high school where she received specialized classes on early education and volunteered in a child care center preschool room and kindergarten classroom for 3 years. Sarah takes part in the PTO and site councils at her children‘s schools, is Co-chair of the Minneapolis Public Schools Special Education Advisory Council, and serves on the District Advisory Council for MPS, as well as the Early Childhood Special Education Shared Leadership Team and the Hennepin County Parent Catalyst Leadership Group. She co-facilitates a monthly Parent to Parent workshop for Eastside Neighborhood Service and has taken part in the PPE/parent participatory evaluation program and EDIA as an American Indian Parent evaluator. Sarah enjoys spending time at The Lower Sioux Indian Community, where her mother lives and her family is from. Sarah has also spent a lot of time traveling in Ecuador where she visits her children’s family.