July 2019 Newsletter

Categories: News


Adversity Hasn’t Slowed Her Down

Darlene is working toward a career in criminal justice


Darlene hasn't let adversity stop her from her dreams.

Darlene hasn’t let adversity stop her from her dreams.

Darlene Waltemeyer has had adversity in her life, yet she hasn’t let it slow her down. With the help of Proteus she is working on her two year degree with the ultimate goal of a four year degree in criminal justice. Growing up in foster care, Darlene became interested in the criminal justice system and wants to help others who have gone through the same trials she has. She became homeless after turning 18, and wasn’t making enough to support herself while she attended school.

Raquel Kentner, Proteus case manager, reached out to Darlene through one of her instructors at Des Moines Area Community College in December 2018. Because one of her summer work experience raising and vaccinating sheep on a farm, Darlene was able to enroll in the National Farmworker Jobs Program in January 2019. Moving from DMACC’s Boone campus to the urban campus was a difficult transition for Darlene, but Raquel provided support by helping Darlene find affordable housing and assist Darlene in developing her soft skills, too.

Darlene is still in NFJP and thrilled to receive the services Proteus has to offer. “Raquel has been the most positive and consistent part of my life,” she said.

Proteus has provided financial assistance to help Darlene with her books and tuition for the spring semester at DMACC as well as assist with rent and groceries so she can focus on completing her education. Darlene’s goal is to finish her associates degree in December 2019 and she’s looking forward to attending Iowa State University.

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Preparation Makes Training Successful

Case managers play important role in farmworker training


Maria Shinstock

Maria Shinstock is a Case Manager in Nebraska.

Summers are very busy for Proteus case managers with much of their attention focusing on health and safety training for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Many of the workers come to Nebraska from other states such as Texas, Arizona and California as well as other countries such as Mexico and Guatemala. The training focuses on pesticide and heat safety and are taught in Spanish and English.

To make the trainings a success, Proteus case managers have to be prepared for the big moment and these are some of the steps they follow:

      • Each year, case managers must be trained and certified before training the farmworkers. This includes participating in webinars, learning how to complete required forms and practicing their training presentations.
      • Case managers contact private businesses, government offices and organizations to collect new or used long-sleeve shirts to distribute to migrant farmworkers who come through Nebraska in the summer. Some of the businesses and organizations that make our work possible are:
        • Nebraska Department of Labor
        • Nebraska Migrant Education Program
        • Legal Aid of Nebraska
        • Simon House, Inc.
        • Crete Nebraska Community in Motion
Maria shirt

Donated long-sleeved shirts are distributed to farmworkers during training.

    • When the date approaches, case managers contact growers and crew leaders to find out when the migrant farmworkers will be arriving in the area, where they will stay, and when case managers can schedule the health and safety training sessions.
    • Proteus case managers invite migrant education recruiters, Nebraska Department of Labor MSFW staff and Nebraska Legal Aid attorneys to assist with the training programs. Because the sessions are typically held before or after work, case managers try to make the process as efficient as possible. Partner agencies often help distribute safety flyers and take the opportunity to talk to the workers about their programs.

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Doing What’s Right

Encouragement leads to new career


Jamie Vanis

Jamie Vanis is a Case Manager in Iowa City, Iowa.

Maria Baker had spent over a year working for a local vegetable farmer near Waukon, Iowa, tending to a variety of plants as well as helping with hay and livestock. Earning $9.00 an hour and working many hours was not the life she had in mind. Raising four children and having a passion to teach, Maria explored the option to return to school and pursue a degree in education.

As she made this step, she soon realized the difficulties surrounding her endeavor. Maria was referred to Proteus and upon completion of the intake process, she was accepted into the National Farmworker Jobs Program. As the time drew near for classes to start, Maria received encouragement from her case manager. As often happens, plans changed and Maria learned of an opportunity to work as a

With support from Proteus, Maria has a new career.

With support from Proteus, Maria has a new career.

teacher’s assistant for a second grade class. Knowing immediately this is what she wanted to do, Maria and her case manager worked on a resume and she applied for the position. It didn’t take long for the Allamakee School District to call with an offer which Maria gladly accepted. Now earning $12.75 an hour, Maria truly enjoys what she does and she appreciates that her career provides time to spend with her family.

Receiving the help and confidence from her case manager greatly aided in Maria transforming from a life of laborious toil to a career she absolutely loves.

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Proteus Receives $10,000 Grant

Bayer Fund donates funds for nutrition education program


Patrick Taggart

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Proteus was again awarded a grant from the Bayer Fund in the amount of $10,000 to be used to educate Iowa farmworkers on healthier dietary options. With these funds, Proteus staff will be able to provide proper grocery options while giving instructions on how fresh and wholesome food choices are not only better for one’s benefit, but an easy option when shopping. Staff will purchase appropriate food items demonstrating the variety of options 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.

indexThe health food choices are distributed at the many health clinics across the state hosted by Proteus and recipients are educated on the benefits healthy food choices have on their overall health. A life lived moving from home to camp to work seasonally can be difficult when trying to ensure the family does not go without food. Providing instruction on the ease of healthier options, as well as the benefits other food groups have on overall health, along with samples provides a great insight to living a more rewarding life.

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Welcome New Healthcare Manager

Catalina Perry is a healthcare manager in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Catalina Perry is a healthcare manager in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Catalina Perry joins team


Catalina Perry has been hired as the healthcare manager for our Fort Dodge, Iowa, office. As a Fort Dodge resident, she brings a great deal of knowledge about the area to the position.

She’s held several different positions in the surrounding counties providing outreach and education to the Latino community. Because of this exposure, Catalina is aware of many programs that could be of great value to our patients and provide them with additional resources. She has even volunteered for Proteus in the past by offering to help translate for our staff. Catalina will soon graduate from Buena Vista University with a bachelor degree in organizational leadership.

We’re pleased to welcome Catalina to the Fort Dodge team!

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Welcome Iowa Regional Health Director

Laura Barnett joins team


Graduating from high school in Cedar Rapids, then attending Iowa State University in Ames, Laura is now settling down in Des Moines as Proteus regional director in Des Moines. She’s excited for the opportunity to continue working for Iowans.

Previously, Laura was a special education teacher at Grandwood Education Center where she taught students with learning and behavioral disorders. She also served as the program director of the Greater Des Moines YMCA and later managed the aquatic program at Life Time Athletic in Urbandale. She sorely missed serving her community and returned to school to earn her master’s in public administration from Drake University in Des Moines.

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