In 2011, Jessie co-founded the non-profit Forward Learning Youth & Young Adults (FLYY) to help youth and families that were marginalized, overlooked, and not effectively reached by or able to access existing community resources. This innovative program combined key components for healing that are rarely if ever offered together through a single organization: a lengthy wilderness expedition, parent skill development and support groups, as well as critical, post-expedition aftercare located at a drop-in center. The curriculum for programming centered around a restorative framework and practices. At FLYY, Jessie has held multiple roles: Co-Founder, Executive Director, Course Director, Field Instructor, Staff Trainer, Parent Group Facilitator, Circle Keeper, Mediator, and Mentor. Beginning in 2015, Jessie partnered with experienced Native American professionals whom helped FLYY elevate its required cultural competency to support Native American teens and families. Subsequently, Jessie and the FLYY team spearheaded “FLYY Tribal”, which was characterized as a multi-faceted wilderness program with added culturally responsive components for Native American youth and families. Running year-round for six-years, FLYY’s wilderness expedition program offered high-risk youth and families a way to discover and develop character and resiliency, and proved to be a life-changing catalyst for hundreds of individuals and their families throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Best known for her work in building rapport with diverse populations, Jessie uses restorative justice principles in a variety of applications to facilitate dialogues around difficult topics. She believes that all people need the opportunity to tell their story, and be seen, heard, valued, and understood. Jessie provides the positive support necessary to help people understand themselves, their relationships, and their surroundings with courage and integrity. Jessie works from an empathetic, trauma-informed, and holistic perspective offering people the opportunity to discover their own resiliency and worth. Jessie is experienced and skilled at developing effective and creative curriculum geared at impacting positive change and healing opportunities for youth, young adults, and families. Additionally, she works collaboratively to develop a clear vision for curriculum implementation, risk management, and program delivery for both large and small-scale projects.
Jessie has extensive training and expertise in the areas of: rapport; conflict management and transformation; restorative justice principles and practices; curriculum development, design, and implementation; communication; racial justice; group culture; family systems; assessment; violence prevention; and risk management. She has worked in the wilderness in all seasons in a variety of landscapes and regions of the United States, community service organizations, urban community centers, and with numerous companies and organizations. Jessie received her B.A. in Outdoor Education in 1993, is a Wilderness First Responder, and is CPR & SCAN-MRT certified. She also received her training as a mediator at from the UW-Wisconsin Continuing Studies, and as a Circle Keeper from the Minnesota Department of Education & Legal Rights Center.