I’m Jessica Perkins, Director and Mentor for the Uplifting Parents Program. As a former Military Child, I lived around the world until my family planted roots in Warner Robins, Georgia. I attended Georgia Southern University where I obtained my BS in Psychology and BA in Spanish. After undergrad, I wanted to turn my love of help others into a career. That is when I decided to go to Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA where I earned my Master of Social Work Degree. The world of Social Work has provided me with amazing opportunities to watch lives transform. While in Georgia, I assisted individuals faced with mental health and substance use disorders, as well as families involved with the Child Welfare system.
Georgia is also where I met my Active-Duty Military husband, John. The military life would take us to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where I continued my work as a Social Worker, working with families involved in the Child Welfare System, Medical Social Work, and Social Service Program Management with the US Army. My time in Oklahoma will always be remembered, not only because the wonderful opportunities provided there, but also because it is where we brought our two sons, Lucas (3 years old) and Warren (1 year old) into the world. Now, our family of five (including our Basset Hound mix, Max) are living in Rapid City where we get to enjoy some of our favorite things. On the afternoons and weekends, you can find me and my family outdoors, fishing, playing games, or in the kitchen whipping up a new recipe!
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 have recently completed the 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 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 Cortney Carmody, Recruitment Coordinator and Mentor for the Uplifting Parents Program. I graduated from Dakota State University with a BA in Marketing and spent the last nine years in advertising. However, two years ago, I made the decision to go back to school. I am currently finishing my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Dakota. My role at Uplifting Parents allows me the opportunity to use my marketing experience as I work to recruit new candidates for our program while also allowing me to shift into the world of human services as a mentor. I also work on the clinical side at Catholic Social Services as a Counseling Intern.
On a more personal note, I was born and raised in a small town in eastern South Dakota but have always loved the Black Hills community. I moved here about ten years ago and then have bounced between Sioux Falls and the Black Hills for the last few years. However, my husband and I are happy to finally call this place home. We love everything the Black Hills has to offer and spend a lot of time hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, and checking out the live music scene. On any given weekend, you will probably find us enjoying the outdoors with our dog and fur baby, Lola. I am also an avid runner and am training for my next half marathon.
I am so happy to be a part of the team at Catholic Social Services. Over the course of my professional career, I have come to realize that I really enjoy working with people. I appreciate the opportunity to hear individuals’ personal stories and am consistently mesmerized by what people are able to achieve when they work at it. Being a part of Uplifting Parents allows me a front row seat to witness what our amazing parents in our program are able accomplish. I am grateful for the opportunity to play even a small role in this program.