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Uplifting Parents Program Mentors


I’m Becky Cornell-Marsich, the director and a mentor for the Uplifting Parents Program. I grew up in Evanston, Wyoming, and completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Wyoming. I’m married to a very kind human named Sean, and he’s the person who keeps me going everyday. We have a beautiful yellow lab named Sawyer, and we love spending time with him on walks, hikes, and out fishing and camping. My favorite hobby is teaching group fitness classes at The Studio in town!

I first learned of the Uplifting Parents Program when I was working for Black Hills State University as an academic advisor. When a position opened up for a mentor for the UP program, I jumped at the opportunity! And I’m so glad that I did. This has been the most rewarding, meaningful job I have ever had. The single parents that we work with in this program are nothing short of amazing, and my favorite part is seeing them get to their goal of graduation and start their careers. I also love working with the team that we have here in our program, along with the wonderful support systems we have around us, such as our UP Coalition partners, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation, and the Lab for Economic Opportunities at the University of Notre Dame. Our program is so cared for by so many wonderful humans, it’s no wonder our participants have such great success in getting to their goals.

I’m Heidi Hanzlik, a mentor for the Uplifting Parents Program.  I’m originally from near Lawrence, Kansas, and received my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Washburn University in Topeka Kansas.  I began my career as the first female police officer in a small town in Kansas and have always felt that helping people in good times or emergency is my calling.  I am married with 4 children.  My husband is a “retired” DEA Special Agent. Now his job is working on renovating our house and his volunteer work with Team Rubicon or biology internships.   Our oldest son, Sam is in his last year of the Marine Corps doing a long deployment in Okinawa, Japan.  We are very proud of him and what he has done for his country.  Our daughter Rae is a sophomore at St. Thomas More and a very talented artist.  She worked at Bear Country last summer doing Caricatures and really was able to hone her skills.  Carly is a freshman at STM and is active in Cross Country, Track, Debate and Oral Interpretation.  Luke is the youngest as a seventh grader at STM and is a great student and talented athlete.  He was a Canyon Lake All Star this past summer and the team made their way to Indianapolis for the Regional Little League World Series, but unfortunately their run was stopped there.  He wants to try again in the Junior League this summer!

I truly enjoy working with all our participants and am humbled by the obstacles and roadblocks they have overcome to get where they are today.  The Uplifting Parents Program is a wonderful soft spot for them to sing their praises or come unglued for a moment and the team here is willing to shout with them or put the pieces back together when they are ready.  Thank you to all that play a part in the Uplifting Parents Program, your time and effort do make a difference.

I’m Stacey Hahne, a mentor for the Uplifting Parents Program. I grew up in Elgin, North Dakota. While raising two small children and working full time, I started college and graduated from Presentation College with a bachelor’s of social work degree, and I am currently working toward completing a master’s of social work degree program through University of South Dakota. I have two amazing children. My son, Joseph, is 19 and working two full time jobs. My daughter, Morgan, is 16 and a junior in high school. They inspire and motivate to do what I do. I enjoy being outdoors and just being active in general. We live in a great area of SD; West River! So hiking and spending time in the hills are my favorite activities. Spending quality time with my kids, friends, and family is always my favorite activity.

Even before completing my undergraduate program, I knew I wanted to work at Catholic Social Services. Becoming a single parent myself and going back to school to get a master’s degree, I came to fully understand the everyday lives of the UP program participants. I knew deep down in my heart that I wanted to be part of their journey.

My clients are the best part of working with this program! They inspire me every day! They are my heroes for all they do for themselves and their families. I feel honored to have the opportunity to work as a mentor with the UP Program.

I’m Kaitlyn Johnson, the recruitment coordinator for the Uplifting Parents Program. I grew up in Hosmer, South Dakota and moved to the Black Hills after graduating high school. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Black Hills State University, and I am currently in graduate school to work towards completing a master’s of social work degree through the University of South Dakota.

I have a four-year-old son named Toryn and a cat named Ollie. We love going to the park together, spending time with family and friends, and relaxing at home. My favorite hobbies are thrift shopping, playing video games, and drinking iced coffees.
I began my journey with the Uplifting Parents Program when I was referred by an UP Coalition member while I was working towards my bachelor’s degree. I faced many challenges trying to raise my son and go to school at the same time, as many single parents struggle to do. Getting accepted into the UP Program was a silver lining for me, as I was struggling to make ends meet financially, trying to complete my education, and work while I wasn’t in class. This program provided me emotional support along with financial assistance and other community resources.

After graduating from the UP Program and completing my degree, I was on the hunt to begin my career. When a position opened up for the UP program, I jumped at the opportunity! While I credit my determination and hard work with getting me to this point, I strongly believe that the mentorship and support that I received throughout my journey with the UP Program was a driving force in my success in my educational and professional careers. I will appreciate everything this program offered me for a lifetime, and I am so grateful that I am now able to give back to this program and help other single parents in the community succeed.