October 2019 Newsletter

Categories: News


Join Us for a Special Event

I’m Thankful for Farmworkers Dinner

farmworkers in field

For 40 years, Proteus has worked one-on-one with migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Proteus bridges the gap so farmworkers have access to healthcare, education, employment and training, and housing services. You can read our story here.

Join us for a celebration dinner on  Wednesday, November 6, at the River Center, 340 SW Third St., Des Moines. The evening begins with happy hour at 5:30 p.m. and a program and dinner begin at 6:30 p.m.

Purchase your tickets on our website.

Sponsorships are also available. Learn more by clicking here.

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Proteus Client Begins New Career

New career covers expenses and hobbies


Matt Winkel

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Proteus case managers spend a great deal of time making connections with individuals in the hopes of finding eligible farmworkers for the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Sometimes the best recruitment can come from successful clients who have received our services. Such is the case with Joshua Schwebach. He was enrolled at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa, when his cousin told him about our program.

Joshua had been working seasonally for a local farmer helping plant and harvest crops, and caring for hogs. While he was able to earn enough money to stay in school, he wasn’t able to keep up with all of his expenses. After hearing about the assistance that Proteus could potentially provide he called Melissa Rude, Proteus case manager, to find out his eligibility. After verifying his information, Joshua was enrolled within a few short weeks.

Joshua Schwebach-v2

Josh now earns a salary that supports his living expenses and his hobbies.

Having always enjoyed working on cars, Josh was in the process of pursuing his degree in automotive technology. He was able to do some work on his own, but he had a goal of working for a larger shop or in a manufacturing corporation. During his time in NFJP, Josh received support toward his tuition as well as a stipend for the time he was in class. By submitting his timesheet every two weeks he could expect a check to help offset some of his school expenses. Josh was always very grateful for the assistance he received, allowing him to focus on achieving good grades. After graduation, Josh found employment as a maintenance technician at Wells Blue Bunny, an ice cream manufacturer.

After struggling to make ends meet during school, Josh has a career he enjoys with a starting wage of $25. This income covers his expenses and also allows him to continue working on race cars and other’s vehicles in his free time. He even finds time to continue working on the farm when given the opportunity.

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Seeing the Difference

Partnership with New Eyes removes barriers


Briana Reha-Klenske

Briana Reha-Klenske is a Health Care Manager.

Sandra Aquas, sixteen years old, makes the annual trip with her family from her home in Brownsville, Texas, to Williamsburg, Iowa, to work in the cornfields for Bayer. Because they have making this trek for four years, Sandra’s family is very familiar with the health services and clinics provided by Proteus at the migrant camps. Knowing this, Sandra knew exactly where to turn when her glasses went missing. Needing them to conduct her work, she signed up for the next available clinic.

S. Aquas-v2Having a weekly presence at the camp, Proteus is able to make access to these services easy. After Sandra met with staff and submitted the appropriate information, health care manager Briana Reha-Klenske worked quickly to take care of the situation. Utilizing Proteus’ partnership with New Eyes, Briana was able to get a pair of glasses for Sandra at no charge.

At the next clinic, Sandra happily received her new eyewear allowing her to conduct her work and making time spent with friends and family more enjoyable.

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Farmworker Resource Fair Held at Melon Acres Farms

Event brings organizations together to support farmworkers


Attendees at the Indiana August resources fair heard from several service providers and received free giveaways.

The Mexican Consulate, in collaboration with the Indiana Migrant Seasonal Farmworker Coalition, hosted a resource fair on August 29, 2019, at Melon Acres in Oaktown, Indiana. The consulate has hosted this event for several years in Kentucky and was happy to organize a similar gathering in Indiana. This event is organized in celebration of Labor Rights week.

Following a meal catered by a local restaurant, the consulate presented information on their consular services. Representatives from participating organizations, including Proteus’ bilingual case manager, Miriam Sonderborg, also provided information. Organizations in attendance were Indiana Legal Services, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, U.S. Department of Labor, and Indiana Migrant Education and the Aides Resource Group of Evansville. In addition to the information sharing, numerous items were available for the attendees, including multiple pallets of food staples, produce and bakery items donated by Walmart. Any remaining food items were delivered to families who lacked transportation for the event.

IMSFC_full-logo-colorIt was a great evening for collaboration among community partners and it was attended by more than 100 workers and their families. The Indiana team hopes to plan and host similar events in the future.

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Youth Participant Studies Thermal Imaging

Alyssa is applying her interest in horses to find a career


Melynda Stutsman

Melynda Stutsman is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Alyssa was a junior at Medora High School when case manager Melynda Stutsman met her during a classroom presentation. Alyssa was very interested in a career working with horses. She trains and shows her horse at county fairs and participates in 4-H. Working with her case manager, she was approved for the National Farmworker Jobs Program because of the work she did on a neighbor’s farm as a youth participant.

With support from Proteus and NFJP, Alyssa plans to continue her studies about horse health and obtain a full-time career in the field.

Focusing on her interest in the care and development of horses, including using thermal imaging, Alyssa is working on her degree. She’s learning how thermal images can depict areas of heat, inflammation, cold and reduced blood flow in the muscular, vascular, skeletal and nervous systems. She’s also learning how the process can be used to fit a saddle or find where the horse has inflammation to determine which shoes are needed.

Alyssa plans to continue her studies about horse health and obtain a full-time career in the field.

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Welcome Program Director – Workforce

Johnny Alcivar joins team


Johnny Alcivar

Johnny Alcivar is Program Director – Workforce and coordinates the National Farmworker Jobs Program.

Johnny Alcivar joins the Proteus team as program director – workforce. In his role, he’ll lead efforts to expand the National Farmworker Jobs Program in Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska.

Johnny is a first generation immigrant from Ecuador. He spent his teenage years in New Jersey before moving to Iowa to attend Iowa State University where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in political science and international studies and a master’s degree in community and regional planning.

He was a fellow of the New Leaders Council Des Moines Chapter and he has served as a board member of the Street Collective of Greater Des Moines. Johnny volunteers with the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission and is active in the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Subcommittee. His contributions to Iowa will be recognized by the Iowa International Center as a 2019 Passport to Prosperity honoree.