Providing facilitation and support for families in transition, with an emphasis on the needs and value of each family member, in order for families to meet their unique community living goals.
Kaitlyn JorgesFunctional Family Facilitator
Kaitlyn is one of our Functional Family Facilitator’s and has been with us since February of 2020. She is also on course to work in family support with probation. Kaitlyn has worked in childcare from an early age. Prior to working with Independence Rising, she was a toddler teacher in a public daycare and cared for children of an array of ages. Kaitlyn created educational lesson plans specific to developmental milestones of each child in Kaitlyn’s classroom. Kaitlyn has a child of her own which helps her to have an open mind as well as compassion for each family that she advocates for. She has the strengths of problem solving and patience. Kaitlyn has used these strengths to find solutions for each family Kaitlyn helps and being able to keep working on family’s goals until they are achieved. Kaitlyn has completed training’s in abuse and neglect, discipline in childcare, infant safety, child development and more.
Julie Peterson Functional Family Facilitator
Julie Peterson is fairly new to Independence Rising. Julie worked at a gas station for three years prior to coming to work with Independence Rising. Prior to working at the gas station, Julie worked at Kids Academy for two years. There she worked with children with special needs. Even though it seems Julie has done a lot of work in the retail area, Julie also has experience as an in-home care provider and did that for about for two years. Julie does have experience working with families as well. She really enjoys the work Julie does with Independence and sees herself being a part of this company for a very long time.
Billie TaylorFunctional Family Facilitator and Registered Service Provider through the office of Probation
Billie has been a Functional Family Facilitator for Independence Rising for almost 4 years. She is also a part of Family Support and administers drug testing. Billie has recently been registered as a Service Provider with Probation for Juvenile Services. In the time Billie has been with us, she has also spent her time in the Independent Living and Peer Mentoring programs. Billie has also been a Foster Parent, which gives her the ability to see what it is like for everyone involved in the foster care system. Billie has worked with kids for a very long time. She does have 2 of her own children, along with 2 stepchildren and 2 foster children, that are all grown. Along with several other kids that came and lived with Billie and her husband to get through school. Billie is also a grandma to 4 granddaughters with a grandson soon to come. When Billie’s kids were younger, she coached Swim Team, Wrestling, and Youth Basketball for several years. Before coming to Independence Rising, Billie did some home care, ran a trucking company for several years, was a farmhand, an EMT, a Lifeguard, and has been a server and bartender for many years. Currently, she is still the Manager of a Club House at a golf course in the summertime. The one thing Billie loves about working with families and children, would be that we get to help change people’s lives hopefully for the better. As much time as we spend with these families, you get to know them, when everything works out, the smiles on the kids’ faces make it all worth it.
Nina WagonerFunctional Family Facilitator
Nina Wagoner is currently a Functional Family Facilitator and has been with Independence Rising since
December of 2019. Nina attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney and graduated with her
Bachelor’s in Social Work. Nina’s previous work experience includes working at a daycare, being a lead
teacher at an after-school program and interning at DHHS. Nina’s current role with Independence Rising
includes parenting time, family support, and drug testing. Nina has completed many trainings including
car seat training, trauma 101, Mental Health and First Aid, and many more. Nina’s strengths include
positivity, compassion, and patience. Nina uses these strengths to help every family she works with.
Overall, Nina enjoys getting to know families and helping them succeed.
Whitney Edwards Functional Family Facilitator
Whitney works in family support and has been with the company for 3 years. She is currently Pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work so she can go on to be a caseworker. Her work experience includes being a teacher in a daycare for about three years and she is also the mom of an amazing 5-year-old boy. Whitney’s strengths are being well organized, good communication skills, and always being ready for any new challenges that may come her way. One thing she loves about working for Independence Rising is being the positive help in these families lives and watching them grow as a family!
Lydia ConnellFunctional Family Facilitator
Lydia Connell has been working for Independence Rising as a Functional Family Facilitator since January of 2021. Her duties within Independence Rising include accurately documenting visitations within families, safely transporting children to visits, and connecting with parents to improve parenting skills and reunite them with their children. She is currently a senior at Chadron State College studying human biology as a pre-medical student and will be attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the fall. In addition to babysitting and working with children in a classroom setting, Lydia has been able to take psychology and counseling courses that allow her to better understand familial relationships and effectively work with children and families. Prior to working for Independence Rising, Lydia worked as a CNA for three years and continues to work as a CNA. She is certified in First Aid and BLS for infants, children, and adults. Her strengths include working with others, punctuality, and being highly detail oriented. Lydia loves connecting with children and finds it rewarding to watch the growth of the relationship within families.
Candi GibbensFunctional Family Facilitator
Candi does family support and parenting time with Independence Rising. Candi just started February 1st with Independence Rising and enjoys working with families and children. Candi has three boys who are grown and has grandbabies now. Candi also has four stepkids. Candi has worked with kids most of her life and has done in-home daycare. She has also worked for the school system with a before and after-school program. Candi loves to work with children and see how they change and grow and what their likes are and what they want to be when they grow up. Candi is married and loves to spend time with her family.
Breanna BluhmFunctional Family Facilitator
Breanna Bluhm is a Family Functional Facilitator that began her journey with Independence Rising in mid-July of 2021. She has previously worked for the Nebraska Youth Center with youth that needed redirection. She learned to help children redirect negative behavior, help them correctly do chores, and overall helped care for their well-being. She also worked as a CNA for several years, including at the Kansas Soldiers Home. There she worked closely with soldiers and wives of soldiers that are Veterans. She has first aid experience, as well as some former medical training. Breanna is a hard worker, prepared, and loves working with people to accomplish their goals. When Breanna is not working, she is doting on her dog and cats.
Chelsey HardyFunctional Family Facilitator
Chelsey is one of our Function Family Facilitators and has been with us since August 2021. She is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, pursuing a degree in psychology and criminal justice. She aspires to use her degree to help children and families in the legal system. Chelsey has completed courses that help her communicate and understand family dynamics, such as human development, conflict resolution, and social work. Before working for Independence Rising, she spent her time focusing on her education while being a full-time mom. Her strengths include professionalism, organization, and a passion for human service
Amanda WelchFunctional Family Facilitator
Amanda has been with Independence Rising since September 2021. She is currently working as a Functional Family Facilitator her duties include documenting visitations with families, safely transporting children to visits and connecting with parents to improve parenting skills and reunite them with their children. She has worked in the healthcare field as a traveling Medication Aide and Certified Nursing Assistant. Amanda has also been a Child Care Provider for several years. Amanda loves working with children and families. Amanda has four children of her own, three girls and a boy. Amanda loves spending time with her children and family.
Emily BeyeFunctional Family Facilitator
Elizabeth PristavecFunctional Family Facilitator
Liz Pristavec is currently a Functional Family Facilitator and is fairly new to Independence Rising. Liz attended Northwest Florida State College. She studied Architectural technology/technician. Liz had her heart set on making building from the bottom up and then realized it might be easier toto work in the health care field. Liz decides that she would open her own daycare in Holdrege Nebraska and that was a very successful company for almost 10 years when Liz decided that since her children were grown Liz would see what was out there in the big world. Liz decided on health care as a Patients Rep within a clinic and did that job for just over 14 years. Liz became rather board and was seeking someth8ing else by this time and Whitney, Liz’s oldest Daughter said come work with me mom and the rest is history. I enjoy helping family within Nebraska ted no matter how big or small the issues may seem, Liz has traveled to every state in the USA but has big plans to explore other counties past the USA and go all around the would.
Raven JackFunctional Family Facilitator
Associate Degree in Early Childhood Ed with Behavioral education. I have been a director of childcares for the past 4 years and am currently the director of two site locations within North Platte on my off hours. I have worked
in childcare for 9 years and in home health with special needs adults for 2 years. I am a single mother of two boys. Started with Independence Rising in November 2021.
I enjoy working with children to give them a positive person in their lives and be a change in children’s lives. I grew up not having the greatest positivity around me and become an adult without that was difficult and I want
to be able to help children and families live more positive lives.
I have over 45000 hours of Early Childhood Training 1200 hours of behavioral training with kids and have always had First Aid and CPR. I feel that these trainings have made me a better parent and always encourage other parents
to give it a go. I feel that I am always willing to learn, and grow regardless of the challenges and that would be my biggest credibility.
Harlee SterkelFunctional Family Facilitator
Harlee Sterkel is fairly new to us as a Functional Family Facilitator at Independence Rising. Prior to joining Independece Rising she has worked many years with children. This experience includes babysitting, interning at an elementary school, summer Kids Klub, assisting with her mom’s in home daycare, and working at a variety of daycares since the age of 16. Harlee taught many children in the daycares she worked at of all ages. She is in the process of obtaining a degree in elementary education or social work. She also has personal home experience with this field. She has taken many courses and trainings such as child development, First Aid and CPR, and many more. Some of her skills include, being very organized, patient, and a passion for helping others! Harlee’s biggest goal in life is to make a difference in people’s lives. She finds it very rewarding knowing she’s helping make a difference in people’s lives especially in difficult times.
Rolan HadiFunctional Family Facilitator
Rolan Hadi is a new hire with Independence Rising as a Functional Family Facilitator and has been employed there for about two months. Rolan is a recent graduate from Southeast Community College with her associate degree in criminal justice and is planning on transferring to University of Nebraska Lincoln to obtain her bachelor’s degree in social work. While her main focus was study of law, she took courses that have helped her gain insight regarding children who enter the system including Juvenile Justice and Social Psychology. Rolan has experience working with children as she was a volunteer student teacher through the Bright Lights program at Holmes Elementary as well as an AVID tutor for Lincoln Public Schools. Rolan also has experience helping individuals during traumatic events while being a dispatcher for the Nebraska State Patrol. Rolan is very familiar with the court system in terms of custody paternity, and juvenile cases while working as a clerk for the Lancaster County District Court.
Matthew KinardFunctional Family Facilitator
Matthew Kinard is one of our newer Functional Family Facilitator, He will be focused on mostly Drug testing consisting of UA’s and Sweat Patches.
Matthew’s occupation beforehand was mostly physical labor jobs, He’s recently taken an occupation change and has been looking to be a more helpful person in his community. He’s a great communicator and understanding of people and their needs.
Kaleigh KoehlerFunctional Family Facilitator
Kaleigh Koehler is currently working as a Functional Family Facilitator and has been with us since May 15th, 2023. Kaleigh attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2024. Her major is Child, Youth, and Family Studies with a minor in Educational Studies. Kaleigh has taken First Aid Training and CPR Training. She has also taken many courses such as Family Science and Fundamentals of Child Development throughout her college career. Kaleigh has previously worked as a childcare provider at Bubbles and Blocks Child Development Center, where she learned to work with parents and care for children of all ages. Kaleigh was also a full-time nanny for 3 years. She has gained many skills such as patience and communication throughout all her experiences.