A sole purpose: High school group holds shoe-boot drive

Posted by Mitch on November 24, 2020 2:37 PM in Uncategorized

Courtesy of mnsouthnews.com (Montgomery Messenger)

A high school group is making a difference for local people who’ve been hit hardest during the pandemic.

The TCU Chapter of the National Honor Society recently held a “Shoe-Boot Drive” asking people to donate gently-used shoes or boots to TCU High School.

Allie Schley, NHS Secretary, and Nikaija Young, NHS member, said the shoes collected were donated to Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. for families in need within the school district whenever possible. 

One of the cornerstones of NHS is service. Schley and Young said holding the drive will help a lot of struggling families in the district.

“Every member of NHS gets to host their own monthly project,” they said. “My (Nikaija) mom works for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council in Le Center. They work with low income/migrant families in the TCU District. The items collected are being donated to them who can put them to good use.”

After two weeks, by the drive’s November 6 deadline, Schley and Young collected approximately 60 pairs of shoes. 

“There are a lot of families in our communities who are struggling,” they said. “By donating to Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, we are able to keep the shoes in our community.”

MNsure counseling sessions to be held in Halstad

Posted by Mitch on October 6, 2020 9:45 AM in Uncategorized

CROOKSTON, Minn.— Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. in collaboration with Northern Dental Access Center in Halstad, Minn. will be offering MNsure Counseling sessions on several dates this fall and winter. These sessions are free and open to the public.

Counseling dates (subject to change due to weather):
October 14, 18
November 4, 12, 18, 25
December 2, 8, 16

Counseling sessions will be available from 10 am to 3 pm. An appointment is required in order to serve as many people as possible in an efficient, confidential manner.

For more information on MNsure, to get MNsure Navigator assistance, or to schedule an appointment for a counseling session, please contact Nancy Ramon (Tri-Valley Community Assistance Program Coordinator) at 800-820-7263.

Stay healthy by keeping up with preventive care appointments

Posted by Mitch on September 14, 2020 3:01 PM in Uncategorized

All health plans sold through MNsure cover these services at no cost to you
ST. PAUL, Minn.—MNsure is reminding Minnesotans that all plans sold through MNsure.org cover preventive care services and chronic disease management at no cost to you (even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible). Preventive care can include screenings, check-ups and patient counseling to help prevent illnesses, disease or other health problems. These services can include blood pressure and diabetes screenings, mammograms, colonoscopies and more. Vaccinations for children and adults, including flu shots, are also available at no cost.

“It’s so important – especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – to make sure your family is vaccinated against diseases like the flu and measles and continues to get routine health screenings to prevent major health problems down the road,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “We know it’s easy to put off routine visits right now, but don’t delay these services. Keep safe and healthy by scheduling preventive care visits for yourself and your family today.”

Preventive services don’t necessarily need to be done in person. Telehealth services or phone visits may be covered by your plan. Check with your health insurance company to find out if telehealth or phone visits are covered.

For more detailed information, check the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) document that was provided by your insurance company or reach out to the number on the back of your insurance card.

In addition to essential health benefits, such as preventive care services, hospitalization, emergency services and pediatric services, all plans offered on MNsure include consumer protections. For a full list of essential health benefits and consumer protections, visit MNsure.org.

Special note: preventive services must be delivered by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network to be free. Services billed as preventive are available without cost sharing, but additional services included in a visit may incur a cost.

MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help.

What is the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program?

Posted by Mitch on August 27, 2020 12:15 PM in Uncategorized

The COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program provides housing assistance payments to help prevent eviction, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners. Local administrators will review applications from individuals and families requesting assistance, verify eligibility, and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households.

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is one of the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program local administrators around the state that is working with individuals located in West Marshall, West Polk, and Norman counties.

For complete details on who is eligible to apply and what costs are covered by the program, visit www.211unitedway.org. Interested applicants may also call 211 (Toll Free: 1.800.543.7709; Local: 651.291.0211) or text “MNRENT” to 898-211 to learn more. The 211 helpline has dedicated multilingual staff available to answer questions about the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mark your calendar: MNsure’s open enrollment period runs from November 1 through December 22, 2020

Posted by Mitch on August 17, 2020 9:08 AM in Uncategorized

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesotans will be able to enroll in comprehensive health insurance during MNsure’s eighth open enrollment period, which will run from Sunday, November 1, 2020, through Tuesday, December 22, 2020. All plans selected during this time will have a January 1, 2021, effective date. Minnesota’s enrollment period will be seven days longer than the federal open enrollment period, giving Minnesotans an extra week to enroll in health care coverage during the current public health crisis. Minnesotans who don’t enroll by 11:59 p.m. on December 22 cannot get 2021 coverage unless they qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP).

“With COVID-19 still very much with us and the flu season ahead, it’s especially critical that Minnesotans have health care coverage for a full 12 full months,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “If you’re currently without health insurance, you may not need to wait until November to enroll. Go to MNsure.org today to see if you qualify to enroll because of a life event like marriage, losing your health insurance, or having a baby, or if you have an income level that allows you to enroll in one of Minnesota’s public health insurance programs.”

Consumers will be able to view and compare 2021 plans in mid-October so they can be prepared to enroll starting November 1.

Minnesotans who have a qualifying life event, are enrolled in coverage outside of MNsure and have an income decrease that makes them eligible for tax credits, or have lost or are losing coverage through their job; may be eligible to enroll in coverage before November 1. Additionally, Minnesotans who qualify for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, or are a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe can enroll any time of year. Visit MNsure.org to learn more about current enrollment options.

Financial assistance options are only available through MNsure

For coverage year 2020, 54 percent of private plan enrollees are receiving tax credits averaging more than $5,100 a year per household. In total, Minnesotans are poised to save over $200 million in tax credits in 2020. Of the more than 417,000 Minnesotans who found coverage through MNsure, over 80 percent qualified for tax credits, MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance.

Free over-the-phone help is available

MNsure has a statewide network of over 1,600 expert assisters who provide free, over-the-phone help for Minnesotans looking to apply and enroll into health coverage. Consumers may work with a navigator or a broker. Navigators specialize in MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance, while brokers can offer advice on selecting a private health plan.

MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help.

Vokaty and Morrison Earn Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) Certification

Posted by Mitch on August 10, 2020 4:33 PM in Uncategorized

On Wednesday, July 24, Lindsay Vokaty (Program Operations Manager) and Tara Morrison (Program Design Manager) were recognized by Minnesota Community Action Partnership as part of the 2020 class of Certified Community Action Professionals (CCAP). The CCAP designation is a nationally recognized credential earned from the Community Action Partnership in Washington, D.C. Both are staff members with Head Start, Child and Family Programs at Tri-Valley.

Earning CCAP certification is a rigorous process. Candidates must complete a candidate data form, develop an executive skills portfolio, and pass a four-hour written exam. Benefits of achieving the CCAP certification include earning recognition for accomplishments in the field, recognition for the standard of professionalism in Community Action, enhancing the credentials of Community Action staff at the agency, and providing an edge in competing for public and private grant funds.

The CCAP certification is designed for current and emerging managers or leaders in the community action profession. To achieve certification, employment in either a community action agency (CAA), a delegate agency or sub-grantee of a CAA, a CSBG eligible entity, a state or regional association office, or a state community services program office is required.

A formal recognition of their achievement will take place at the Community Action Partnership’s Virtual Convention Awards event on Thursday, August 27.

CONSUMER ALERT: How to find MNsure online and make sure you’re buying comprehensive coverage

Posted by Mitch on July 31, 2020 11:28 AM in Uncategorized

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Searching for MNsure on the internet can yield misleading results. If you search for MNsure, you may see ads and websites that appear to be the official MNsure website but are not. Some of these sites collect your contact information and either bombard you with phone calls or try to sell you sub-standard health insurance. Here’s how to be sure you’re working with MNsure and purchasing comprehensive health care coverage: 

  1. Check the website URL: make sure you’re clicking on MNsure.org when using a search engine or simply type MNsure.org into your address bar. 
  2. Be sure you’re buying comprehensive coverage: All plans sold on MNsure.org are Affordable Care Act-compliant, meaning they include essential health benefits and consumer protections. MNsure does not sell short-term limited duration health plans (STDs) or association health plans (AHPs). 
  3. Confirm you are getting the financial help you are eligible for: MNsure.org is the ONLY place for Minnesotans to access all the financial benefits that can make your health insurance more affordable. 
  4. Protect your private information: MNsure will never call you and ask you for your Social Security number, credit card or bank account number. To learn more about protecting yourself against fraud, and how to report suspected fraud, reach out to MNsure’s anonymous complaints telephone line or email.

If you are in need of additional assistance, please reach out to MNsure’s contact center by calling 651-539-2099 or 855-366-7873. You can also find free help from one of MNsure’s assister partners.

MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help.

Tri-Valley in Partnership with MNsure Offers Insulin Assistance Program

Posted by Mitch on June 17, 2020 11:10 AM in Uncategorized

On April 15th, 2020, Governor Tim Walz signed into law the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act which created the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program.

The overall program, which begins July 1, allows eligible individuals to apply for an “urgent need” supply (30-days) of insulin with a valid prescription (the Urgent Need Insulin Safety Net Program). These eligible individuals can also apply for the Continuing Need Insulin Safety Net Program which provides up to 12 months of insulin. 

For more information about the Insulin Assistance Program, contact certified MNsure Navigators Nancy Ramon at 800-820-7263, or Mitch Bakken at 800-584-7020 or visit https://mn.gov/boards/pharmacy/insulinsafetynetprogram/.

Human Services launches new benefits for school children

Posted by Mitch on June 5, 2020 11:32 AM in Uncategorized

For media inquiries only
Katie Bauer
Those on free and reduced-price meal program to receive additional SNAP benefits To ensure 350,000 Minnesota school children who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal program have access to healthy food, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education and Code for America, recently launched the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, also referred to as P-EBT, benefit.

The Federal Family First Coronavirus Response Act allows children eligible for the meal program to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits retroactive to March through the first week in June. This is in addition to any SNAP, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Unemployment Insurance benefits their families may already receive.

“Hundreds of thousands of school children depend on one or more healthy meals a day through the school meal program,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “This new program will ensure families can purchase healthy food to fill their children’s stomachs while easing the financial burden of extra grocery purchases.” 

“It is so much harder for students to learn and grow when they are hungry,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Our schools have made incredible efforts to meet the nutritional needs of Minnesota’s students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know a gap remains and that makes it our responsibility to look for solutions to food insecurity. This program is an important step in filling that gap to make sure no child goes hungry.”

The Minnesota Department of Human Services will issue benefits in a lump sum of $325 per child; families must use the benefits to purchase food only within a year of the date issued. Families with children, 5-18 years old as of Sept. 1, 2019, who were receiving free or reduced meal, SNAP or MFIP benefits as of March 18, 2020, are eligible. Families will receive these benefits automatically and do not need to take any action. The department will load their benefits to their existing EBT cards on May 30, 2020. Families can check their EBT card balance at EBTedge.com.

Families who were receiving free or reduced meals for the 2019-2020 school year but who were not also receiving SNAP or MFIP benefits will need to sign up for a benefits card, known as a P-EBT card, to receive these additional funds. Working with partners at Code for America and the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will launch a card application form on June 8, 2020. Applications can be submitted until June 30, 2020. The application can be accessed at: www.mn.p-ebt.org as of June 8, 2020. The department will issue benefits approximately every 10 business days after it receives applications.

Pending the number of applications, the department could issue as much as $113,750,000 in P-EBT benefits.

Individuals in need of assistance accessing or using these benefits can contact the P-EBT hotline after June 1, 2020, at 651-431-4050 or 800-657-3698, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families in need of additional assistance accessing healthy foods are urged to contact their county or tribal human services office or the Minnesota Food Helpline at 888-711-1151 or www.hungersolutions.org. -30-

Tri-Valley’s Melody Hedden Recognized as a Head Start Hero from the Minnesota Head Start Association

Posted by Mitch on May 20, 2020 2:08 PM in Uncategorized

The Minnesota Head Start Association (MHSA) recently honored Melody Hedden (Assistant Director of Program Services) as a Minnesota Head Start Hero (Head Start alumni who became involved in their local community and made a difference). Hedden was recognized at the Minnesota Head Start Heroes Ceremony held at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul in March.

Hedden’s Head Start experience began in 1979 when she was enrolled in Head Start. In 1998 her first child enrolled into the program. She would later have two more children enroll in Head Start.

“When my parents signed me up for Head Start in 1979 I am sure they weren’t aware of the impact it would have on my life,” Hedden says, “Head Start is the foundation from which my life skills were built.”

Her drive to be a voice for those who had lost theirs, led her to a life of learning and advocating. In addition to degrees in Human Services Technology and Human Services, she has credentials and certificates in Partners for a Healthy Baby, Family Service, Family Service Trainer, Head Start Management Fellow, and Certified Community Action Professional. In 2009, Hedden was named the North Carolina Family Advocate of the Year.

“I am honored and blessed to be the recipient of such an award. I would have never guessed in a million years I would be sitting where I sit today and Head Start played a huge role in that,” says Hedden. “I can’t help but reflect back in my life in amazement of the doors that opened up for me and are continuing to open all because of a program that believes and supports those people who have the most obstacles standing between them and their hopes and desires,”

In 2014, Hedden moved her family north to Minnesota to secure a position as Family & Community Services Manager at Tri-Valley in Crookston. Now as the Assistant Director of Program Services, her position allows her to be passionate about facilitating life changing events in the lives of children and families.

“It is my life’s goal to not only do my best work with Head Start as a way of giving back, but to educate others of the opportunity that lies within the program. I encourage anyone reading this to learn more about the local Head Start program in their community. Look at their Community Assessment and the data that supports that Head Start works,” she adds.

Melody and her husband Joe have five children. Three of their children currently serve in the military. Joe, was also in the Army and served in Iraq. In addition to their biological family, Melody and Joe are foster parents and are currently in the process of adopting two of their foster children.

Hedden closes with, “To all of those families that trust us with their little ones we thank you. It’s because of you this program continues to thrive!”

Head Start Heroes is an annual event that honors members of the Minnesota Head Start community who overcame tremendous challenges and achieved personal and family success. These children, families, alumni and staff members have been selected by the Minnesota Head Start Association Scholarships and Awards Committee based on compelling, personal testimonies about their Head Start experience and how they were able to transform their lives. The Head Start Heroes epitomize how determination, fortitude and access to early learning and whole-family approaches can pave the way to lifelong success.

For more information on Tri-Valley’s Head Start/Early Head Start or Migrant & Seasonal Head Start programs visit the Tri-Valley website at www.tvoc.org or call 800-584-7020.

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