July 2018 Newsletter

Categories: News


Food for Thought

Proteus receives grant from Monsanto


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A Proteus health clinic staff member conducts a physical on a farmworker during a clinic for Monsanto workers.

Proteus was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund that will be used to educate Iowa farmworkers about healthier dietary options. With these funds, Proteus staff will to provide information on selecting proper food options at the grocery store, while giving instructions on how fresh and wholesome food choices are not only better, but also an easy option when shopping. Staff will purchase appropriate food items to demonstrate the vast selection available at grocery stores. Fresh produce including bananas, avocados and oranges as well as whole grain items in the form of tortillas and rice, showcase the simplicity of making healthier choices. Distributed at Proteus health clinics, hosted across the state, recipients are pleased with the provisions and are educated on the benefits that healthy food choices have on their overall health.

A life of moving from home to camp to work each season can be difficult when trying to ensure the family does not go without food. While faced with the health risks associated with processed and saturated fatty foods, the convenience of these options often outweighs the misperceived notion that healthier eating is more difficult. Providing instructions on the ease of selecting healthier options, the benefits they have on overall health, along with the providing grocery items as examples, gives great insight to living a more healthful life.

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Client Begins Career with John Deere

Curt earns two degrees through NFJP


Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

One of the many benefits of the National Farmworker Jobs Program is the flexibility that it offers to its participants. A client may need to adjust their goals in order to be able to complete their degree and ensure success in the workforce. By working with clients on an individual basis, our case managers are able to aid them on the way to a lasting career.

This is the case with Curt, who first heard about Proteus during a classroom presentation from Rachael Roper, Proteus Case Manager. Before enrolling at Hawkeye Community College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Curt had been working seasonally helping with harvest over the years. Compared to many traditional students, Curt had many expenses that he was trying to juggle while going to school.

Curt K

Through NFJP, Curt was able to graduate in May with a job offer to immediately begin working for John Deere in their product engineering department.

“Having a very full schedule of classes and projects left very little time to participate in much part-time employment,” Curt said.

Proteus was able to assist Curt in many of his school expenses during his time at Hawkeye. We were able to help him with tuition, books and stipend for some of his time in class.

After completing his degree in mechanical engineering technology, Curt discovered he was only two semesters away from also having a degree in IT/network administration engineering. Obtaining this degree would greatly increase his chances of securing a career with John Deere. After consulting with Rachael he was pleased to learn that he could remain in the program until he gained the education he needed to secure employment.

By working hard to complete his program, Curt was able to graduate in May with a job offer to immediately begin working for John Deere in their product engineering department. After working seasonally for several years at very low pay, Curt is earning $30 an hour plus benefits! He is now working in the career he has always wanted and no longer has to worry about being able to support himself.

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Building Partnerships

Food pantry provides needed supplies to farmworkers


Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Stories can make us laugh, smile, think, ponder and learn. They teach us about the world and inspire us to make a difference in the communities where we live and serve. People create the story, their actions and passion develop it, and when people and their passions come together within a community, they make things happen. The partnership between Proteus and the North Central Indiana Food Bank is a great story.

The North Central Indiana Food Bank made its first distribution of food in December 1993, 6,800 pounds was given out. In July 2000, the food bank purchased an 82,000 square foot facility in downtown South Bend, Indiana, to ensure sufficient storage to meet the rising demand in northern Indiana.

In 2006, the organization’s name was changed to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and serves six northern counties, including Elkhart, LaPorte, Kosciusko, Marshall, Starke and St. Joseph. Today, the food bank actively partners with local and national manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, food growers, packers and brokers to procure food.

Food Bank of Northern Indiana has been a partner with Proteus for two years. The partnership began by feeding 960 migrant farmworkers, covering nearly 12 counties.

Jesusa Rivera, Proteus Bilingual Case Manager, explains, “The majority of migrant and seasonal farmworkers come to the first day of work with limited resources and often have only the clothes on their backs. They come with little to no food or money for necessities such as hygiene items, laundry soap or extra work clothing.”

Through her work, Jesusa been able to explain the needs of the families and farmworkers to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and its managers Jamie Owen Cripe and Lee Milton. They understand the despair, hunger and uncertainty farmworkers face while waiting to receive their first check.

To help alleviate this distress, Proteus is distributing food in areas where the farmworkers are living and working. Food distribution sites have been established at Stark, St. Joseph, LaGrange and LaPorte counties. At each of the locations, the food is quickly gathered and the supply is depleted. During the events, the families come together and even the littlest helpers carry food to their vehicles.

None of this would have been possible without the partnership that is embraced and nurtured by both Proteus and Food Bank of Northern Indiana.

IN food distribution-3 IN food distribution-1 IN food distribution-2

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NFJP Funds Student Success

Zach earns degree and has new career


Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Zach Schmitt was doing what he could to support himself as he pursued an associates degree in diesel mechanics at the Northern Iowa Community College campus in Peosta. When he heard about Proteus, its services and eligibility guidelines at a classroom presentation arranged by his instructor, Pat Osterhaus, he was eager to apply. Having worked seasonally on a dairy farm where his primary duties were the planting, tending to and harvesting of crops, Zach felt he was a good candidate. Indeed; he was as he was quickly accepted into the National Farmworkers Job Program.

Zach SchmittHaving Proteus by his side provided Zach with a stipend for classroom hours which he was able to use to take care of bills. These funds eased the burden on him. In addition, Zach received funds to purchase $500 worth of tools required for his classes and then retain the tools for his future career. In his field, many employers require workers to provide their own tools. This provided one less thing Zach had to worry about.

Zach received his degree in June of 2016 and he was quickly employed at Big Wheels Repair earning $15.00 an hour. In his new job, Zach has been able to apply the skills he obtained at NICC and he is able to earn a steady income at a job he enjoys.

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Micheal Benefits from Proteus Partnership

Allergy to corn identifies new career path


Jody Stutzman

Jody Stutzan is the Regional Director in Nebraska.

Jody Stutzman, Nebraska Regional Director, met Michael Morales’s mother when she spoke to a group of parents at the Hastings migrant education parent night event. Michael’s family had been doing migrant farmwork for many years. During the summer of July 2017 Michael worked in the corn fields for a week. Due to a medical condition he had to stop working. With no other work experience, Michael was not sure of his options.

Michael Morales (2)

With support from Proteus, Michael will participate in the Beyond School Walls program.

After receiving an email about an opportunity Hastings Horizon Recovery and Counseling and Nebraska VR were offering high school students, Jody reached out to Michael. The program offered the opportunity to learn job readiness skills and then apply those skills in an actual job. Michael was enrolled in the summer program and placed Dally’s Deli in Hastings. With help from Proteus, Michael was able to get work shirts, pants and non-slip shoes that are perfect for working in restaurants. Michael has learned customer service skills, cash handling, cleaning and sandwich preparation. He will complete this job in August and have work experience to list on his resume.

When school starts, Michael will be enrolled in the Beyond School Walls program that matches Michael with a mentor from a Hastings business. Michael has expressed interest in art, welding and cars. These opportunities will prepare Michael for the next steps after high school.

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Annual Health Training Held

Staff prepares for summer season


Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Training for our health staff kicked off May 28 and finished June 1. The week was filled with organizational history, policies and procedures, system introduction, clinic workflow, clinic forms and mobile clinic instructions.

Health Training 3

Iowa health staff participated in training to prepare for the summer season.

A major focus of the training was on clinic workflow. To improve on operations, a mobile clinic was set up. Health aides were then able to train on each work station, practicing with English-speaking and Spanish-speaking clients. The training was extremely helpful for many of our first-time summer staff. They gained experience in collecting the necessary equipment, setting it up and then breaking the clinic down when done. This provided new staff with a greater understanding of the mobile clinics and how challenging situations can be.

The training provided staff with the opportunity to work through any questions or concerns. They also gained insight on how things should go with little questions during their first official mobile clinic.

With this training, our staff is ready for another successful season for our patients.

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Welcome Iowa Case Manager

Raquel Kentner joins Des Moines team



Raquel Kentner is a Case Manager in Iowa.

Raquel Kentner began working for Proteus in June as a case manager. She is located in the Des Moines office. Raquel covers the west and central areas of the state, including Boone, Story, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, Guthrie, Dallas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont and Page counties.

Raquel joins Proteus with a wealth of knowledge from nonprofit and for profit. She has experience as a pharmacy representative and was successful in managing her sales territory, reaching out to customers and proactively addressing their needs. She also worked as a behavior health intervention specialist, providing tools and support to families resulting in a more supportive home environment, providing a better life for children and their caretakers.

Raquel is anxious to work with the farmworker population in the area of Iowa that she serves.

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Welcome Iowa Health Care Manager

Carmen Vargas joins Fort Dodge team



Carmen Vargas is a health care manager in Iowa.

Carmen Vargus has joined the staff at the Fort Dodge, Iowa, office as health care manager. She is a recent graduate from Drake University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Health Service Management. While in school Carmen was very active both on campus and in the community. She has been employed with Proteus for the last years as a summer health aide where she gained extensive clinic experience working with farmworkers in the Des Moines region. During these two seasons, she worked in many clinics in the Fort Dodge area.

Starting her full-time employment with Proteus, Carmen helped with the annual health training for Proteus staff. Her experience was quickly put into place.

We are happy to welcome Carmen to the Fort Dodge Proteus team, and are certain she will be a tremendous asset to Proteus and our clients.

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