Miss Mary Site Director

I've lived in Winona since 1967 and love the nurturing and wholesome community here.  I have been married for 31 wonderful years to my husband, Rich.  We have 5 boys and 3 lovely daughter-in-laws.  My family is very important to me! 

My growing up years were tumultuous and I made some very unwise decisions as a teenager.  Looking back, I know the hand of God was upon me to save me and save me he did!  I always say it is through the work of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of my mother and others that I am where I am today.  While I was in a treatment facility, my mom gave me a butterfly necklace as we graduated because they'd said it was like a chrysalis ceremony.  It has become my life theme.  Especially when my sister gave me a scripture that encapsulates the butterfly theme: 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away and now the new has come."   Along with raising our children I've served on many different organizations to pass that freedom found in Christ to others. I went back to school to earn my degree in education and have been teaching in the public school system for 10 years.  I've directed church groups of many types as well as been involved in community activities.  I'm so excited to be able to continue the work of God in me through Hope Harbor and our community!  

Here Since: 2017

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: Surrender to God's powerful plan

My Job: I direct Hope Harbor here in Winona as well as collaborate with Marshall's Hope Harbor house staff.  

Why I Am A Believer, in Three Sentences: There is no other life that carries the promises of eternity better!  I've been to the other side and it is NOT worth the price.  The freedom & LOVE  that is found in Christ is absolutely out of this world amazing! 

My Favorite ScriptureIt is true that I have a TON but this one "crops" up a lot - Lol: Galatians 6:9  "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up." 

Miss Kate Teacher

I have a BS in Communication Arts and Literature Teaching from WSU and an MA in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from LU. I've taught grades 6th through college and cannot choose a favorite age. I've been married five years to the love of my life, Travis. And I cannot go a day without music and fresh air!

Here Since: July 2017

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: Those forgiven much love much. 

My Job: Inspiring the girls into the love of learning for learning's sake. 

Why I Am A Believer, in Three Sentences: The things of this world have proven meaningless...a chasing after the wind, but God has put eternity into man's heart [Ecclesiastes 3:11]. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord made to the house of Israel failed [Joshua 21:45], and His kindness lead us to repentance [Romans 2:4]. The Lord loves justice and he will not forsake his saints [Psalm 37:28]; His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life...having escaped from the corruption that is in the world [2 Peter 1:3-4], and this hope brings us joy [Proverbs 10:28].

My Favorite Scripture: The promises of Romans 8

Miss Erin Counselor

I truly enjoy working with teenagers and have been for 17 years, teaching and counseling at the high school level.  I have been married to my husband, Davin, since 2000 and we have three beautiful children together. Davin is a head high school football coach, so football is a huge deal at our house!  

Here Since: 2017

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: The Holy Spirit made a way.

My Job: I get the pleasure of meeting girls where they are at and loving them as Christ loves me.  I meet with the girls individually and as a group once per week.  I also get to know and work with the parents/families through counseling and parenting classes.  

Why I Am A Believer, In Three Sentences: He created all things and has called me into a relationship with Him. He gives me strength, takes away my fears & anxieties, and gives me peace.  He guides and is with me through everything and that is super comforting to me!

My Favorite Scripture: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10

Miss Lael Lead House Staff

I was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and raised for the majority of my childhood just outside of Winona, MN (with a few years living in northern New Jersey). Born the eldest of seven daughters, I was homeschooled from an early age until I left home for college. I attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, worked as a nanny for four years, and graduated with a degree in Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation in spring of 2016. Just before I completed my college education I had the opportunity to live in the Philippines for six months working with an anti-sex trafficking organization in the slums of Metro Manila. This experience changed my life and really solidified my desire to serve young women and girls who are hurting.

Here Since: September 2016

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: The Lord made it happen.

My Job: I’ve had the opportunity to serve at Hope Harbor in various ways, working overnight shifts, weekends, evenings and the occasional classroom shift. While training to transfer to Hope Harbor Winona as Lead Staff I’ve been able to see and experience many different sides of both the girls here and the ministry as a whole!

Why I Am A Believer, In Three Sentences: I’m a believer because I know that who I am without Christ is meaningless. Even if I achieved everything the world has to offer, apart from the saving grace of Jesus, I’d really have nothing. For me, I’m truly alive and truly free in Christ alone.

My Favorite Scripture: Romans 8:37-39  "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

house staff

Miss Sarah House Staff

A bit about me… Well first of all, I am short and frequently mistaken for one of the HH girls, my natural hair color is light brown but I can’t remember the last time it was this. My roommate and I live with my kitten Taliah, the boss of the house. I love all things to do with foreign cultures, dancing and Zumba, my precious church family, friends, and my real family, and the laughter and adventures that come with working at Hope Harbor. 

Here Since: 2013

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: Hmmm... Jeremiah 29:11, even though I’m confused :) 

My Job: I’ve had different roles at House of Hope, first as a volunteer, then as overnight staff, now I work full time as day staff – which I love because the girls are so much more fun awake! When people ask what I do, I think the best answer is: I’m a temporary mama. I get to love the girls every way I know how, from hugs, prayer, and laughter to discipline and teaching. I get yelled at, laughed at, hugged, and most importantly trusted. I am imperfect, but I get to share the love that God has shown me. 

Why I Am A Believer, In Three Sentences: I love Jesus because He loved me first, just as I am, died for me, forgave me, and pursued me … and one day I finally understood that. He has healed my heart and changed me from a confused little girl who would do anything to please anyone, to a confident young woman who finds joy in just being who God made me to be. And now He lets me share this love and acceptance with anyone I can, and see Him do the same for others! 

My Favorite Scripture: Just ONE? The story God has given me is in Psalm 40:1-10 but my favorite verse right now is Galatians 6:9 “Do not grow weary in doing good, for a the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.”

Miss Tara, House Staff

I grew up on a  pig farm, with horses, cats, and dogs, outside of Vernon Center, MN and I absolutely loved it. I have an older brother and 3 older sisters, therefore, my parents are rockstars for raising all of us. I graduated from Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial High School and went to Winona State University where I played basketball and graduated with Movement Science and Psychology degrees. I am currently attending Winona State University to get my Master's degree in School Counseling. Some of my hobbies include running, riding horse, hiking, cooking, reading, painting, trying to play guitar, and hanging out with friends. 

Here Since: October 2017

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: Interest, Hesitation, Steps of Faith

My Job: I will be working directly with the girls: encouraging, supporting, and leading them in their faith journey and daily life.

Why I Am A Believer, In Three Sentences: I am a believer because I have tried living a life that left me feeling empty and I knew there must be something more for me. I saw others living for Jesus and noticed how they lived differently; they had this unique joy and I wanted to have that too. Since then, Jesus has been relentlessly pursuing me and I feel truly alive when I feel Jesus working in my life!

My Favorite Scripture:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Miss Hanna House Staff

I was born and raised in Brasil, South America living 2/3rds the time in a big city, and 1/3rd in the middle of the jungle, but always barefoot. I'm a huge fan of food, specifically anything coconut and mango. I live off sunshine. Fuzzy slippers help me get through winter. Coffee is always a yes. 

Here Since: We opened! Yay! October....this year. 

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH:  God's sense of humor.

My Job: My job is being as much a reflection of Jesus as I can be to these young girls. Whether that's working overnights and meal prepping for the next day, or working a direct care shift where we do devotions, or simple things like cleaning, my job is to show these girls the love of Jesus so that He can work in their life for his glory. 

Why I Am A Believer, In Three Sentences: I am a believer because of Jesus' work on the cross. He loves me enough that He has called me out of my sin, and saved my life. How could I say no to such a gift. 

My Favorite Scripture: So hard to pick only one, but 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 

Miss Mary Jo House Staff

Here Since: October 2017

Five Words that Describe How I Ended Up at HH: Gods timing, God's blessing!

My Job: To pray for, nurture and mentor the girls at Hope Harbor. To allow God to work through me and help bring healing to their lives.

Why I Am A Believer, In Three Sentences: I feel that I've always believed because that's how I was raised, but I never knew that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I have watched in awe as He placed people in my path and opened my eyes to His great healing power.I have experienced first hand the saving grace of Jesus when He pulled me from a pit that I had created in my own life. 

My Favorite Scripture: Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." This verse excites me because God is not finished yet. He started something in me that He is still continuing to grow and with everything that He has already done for me in my life, I cannot wait to see what He is up to next.

Winona Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board members serve in a voluntary capacity to support Hope Harbor through leadership, wise counsel, planning, fundraising and prayer; elements that are key to the smooth operations of the ministry. Each Advisory Board member brings personal gifts and talents from backgrounds and professions to maximize the impact of Hope Harbor on the families we serve, the community in which we operate, and further God's Kingdom as a whole.  

Board members also volunteer in a variety of ways within the ministry; tutoring, interceding, teaching, administrating, fundraising, and more. Our Board is a vital team that works together to keep us operating at our full potential. Contact us here if you are interested in finding out more about our board or are interested in serving a term!

Organizational Chart

Current Board of Directors

Jan Karjala, Chair   --   Steve Baumgart, Vice Chair

Cheri Looman, Secretary/Treasurer        

Maryann Dennis  -- Nancy Denzer

Pastor Ben Sadler  --  Sarah Huerta

Steve Nett  -- Tammy Lozenski

Victor Vieth  --  Dorothy Ruppert, Ex Officio  

Joyce Rocco, Ex Officio  --  Pastor Sammy Gondola, Ex Officio

Claudia Stenson, Founder, Ex Officio   --  Cindy McKittrick, Executive Director