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August Newsletter

Image of blackberry bush with Health Ministries Network logo

Dear Health Ministries Network Community,

What exciting news we have! We will be welcoming a new Executive Director this month, Alison de La Bruere (Blake). Please take a minute to say hello if you see her around Bellingham and check out her wonderful introduction letter below. Ali will be transitioning into our Health Ministries Network family in August, then taking a little time off between jobs and returning in mid-September to continue our journey. She brings many talents to this position and we are sure you will be hearing from her this fall with lots of opportunities to participate in events, educational offerings and volunteer activities.

HMN was invited by the North Sound ACH to the Canoe Journey at the Lummi Nation on July 23rd. A wonderful salmon dinner was prepared by the Hillaire family and we were honored to be hosted by the Children of the Setting Sun. If you have not seen some of their work, please take a look at the 13 Moons Videos. The connection between culture and food is something that we all share. Healthy food not only nurtures our body but enriches our soul.

We are introducing a new feature in this newsletter called: Our Amazing Volunteers! We will feature an FCN or HM who has made an impact on the community they serve. So let us know if you have someone in mind who has a story to share.

We are still needing a little help for The Bellingham Schools Back-to-School Block Party on August 19, 10-2 PM and we welcome you to participate! It was great fun last year and it will be a chance to meet Ali! Tabling with us, whether taking BPs or having a conversation with someone, is a great opportunity to meet people where they are at. For more information email

At our monthly meeting on August18th we will be introducing Ali. This is a great time to share what you have been doing in your faith communities and how HMN might continue to support this work. We will be sharing information about Community Health Workers (CHW's) and talking about how we might include them in our practice(s) On another note, we are looking at the possibility of in-person meetings again (with Zoom option) so please give feedback to us if you think you are interested. We need to gage the interest in order to secure a place for these meetings so please let us know.

Remember to share the 2023 Fall HMN Foundations in Health Ministry (for prospective Faith Community Nurses (FCNs) and Health Ministers(HMs) and Community Health Advocates (CHAs)! The link is available on our website and Bill is a great instructor! All on-line instruction but we are planning a celebration ceremony in-person if possible.

HMN wishes you a wonderful summer. The gardens are growing and we are so blessed to have such a bountiful environment and generous neighbors. If you have excess produce, please consider our local Food Banks or neighbors in need. Take time to nurture yourself with good food, fresh air and special times with friends and family.

With gratitude,

The HMN Board of Directors:

Dick Cathell, Interim Board Chair

Joni Hensley, Interim Executive Director

Kate Massey

Charles (Chaz) Nelson, Secretary

Melanie Cool

Sunny Garza

Rebecca Cavanaugh, Interim Treasurer

Bill Lonneman

Anita Busby


Welcome Ali to Health Ministries

Alison de La Bruere fishing in Alaska

Hello Everyone,

It is so nice to meet you! My name is Alison, and I am thrilled to serve as Health Ministry Network's new Executive Director!

I have admired Health Ministry Network and their effort for some time, now I get to take part with this role!

I have always had a love for health and fitness since I was a young girl. I grew up running, skiing, hiking and biking in Juneau, Alaska. I took that childhood passion and studied Kinesiology/Health Science at Liberty University a Christian university in Virginia. After leaving Virginia, I made my way back to Alaska where I became an Operations Manager for Cycle Alaska, a local bike tour company. In 2017 I made the big transition into the nonprofit world landing as an Operations Manager at Days for Girls International. I fell in love with serving others through nonprofits, most recently with Skookum Kids as their Visitation Coordinator. I have learned so much working in both the corporate and nonprofit world, I am excited to grow with HMN.

On the weekends, you can catch me trail running with my dog, Holly, in the Chuckanuts. In the winter I ski with my husband, Brandon, at Mt Baker. In the evenings, I coach Cross-Country /Track and Field for the Bellingham School District. On Sundays my husband and I attend Christ The King in Bellingham, please say "hi" if you see me after the service! I look forward to seeing you all around town and through HMN!

Alison sitting in front of a fire pit

HMN August Meeting: Get to Know the new HMN Executive Director!

After reading a bit about our new HMN Director, we hope you are excited to chat with Ali at our HMN monthly meeting on Friday, August 18th, 12:30pm via Zoom.

Please use the following link, bring your questions--and invite a friend!

All are invited!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 870 3130 1954

Passcode: 780083

One tap mobile

+12532050468,,87031301954#,,,,*780083# US

+12532158782,,87031301954#,,,,*780083# US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 870 3130 1954

Passcode: 780083

Find your local number:

We look forward to seeing you there! Please send questions to


Our Amazing Volunteers

Norma Maarhuis volunteering at an Ask A Nurse program  health clinic

This month we are featuring our amazing FCN, Norma Maarhuis, RN. Norma not only serves in her faith community at Sonlight Church in Lynden but she has been also regularly helping out at the Ask A Nurse program at the East Whatcom Regional Center in Kendall, WA. The other day one of the clients who she had seen the month before came up to give a hug and express their gratitude for Norma. Norma had seen this client for a routine BP screening and noticed that they did not look well with edema in their face and extremities, a flushed appearance and rash. The blood pressure reading was alarming and Norma gently shared the findings with the client and emphasized in her kind words that this person needed to be seen by a health care professional right away. She was so convincing that the client sought immediate help and shared that they were hospitalized for over two weeks while suffering kidney failure. There was much to be thankful for. We are truly blessed to have Norma sharing her nursing

expertise and giving unconditional love and support to others. Thank you, Norma for all you do!


Need to Renew and Refresh your CPR Certification? Look Local!

For those of us seeking to renew our CPR certification please check out your local fire stations. Many fire departments will offer First Aid, CPR and how to use an AED. BLS training for health care professionals will also include how to give CPR with administering ventilations with a bag valve mask device but this may not be applicable in our volunteer settings. Please check with your faith community leaders if you have any questions. We are covered by the Good Samaritan act when volunteering. If you are being paid make sure to determine if CPR or BLS is right for you! NEXT CLASS: Free First Aid, CPR and AED class will be held in Sumas on August 10th from 6-9 PM.


Registration is OPEN for the Fall 2023 HMN Foundations Course


FCLs: Does Your Faith Community Need Mental Health First Aid Training?

UPDATE: We have heard from a number of you, regarding the need for Mental Health First Aid to Faith Community Leaders and FCNs/HMs/CHAs. Thank you for your interest!!! It is looking like we will likely have enough folks to offer the class this fall. If you have not responded yet, please do!

The Class: Mental Health First Aid for Adults teaches people how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary.

  • In-person trainings: consist of a full 8-hour day (usually from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm) with a lunch break.

  • Virtual trainings: require about 2 hours of pre-work through a set of online modules. The live virtual training is 6 hours (usually 9:00 am to 3:00pm) with a 30-minute lunch and short breaks.

Those who successfully complete the full day are eligible for a Mental Health First Aid certificate issued by the National Council for Behavioral Health. The certificate remains valid for three years. Class size is limited to 30, and, through grant funding from the State Department of Health, the trainings are often offered free of charge. (We have checked with the college and Health Ministries Network will need to pay so please make sure that you will be able to commit this amount of time so that we can fill all 30 slots that we pay for). We will probably look at an in-person 8-hour session.

Continuing Education Credits

Participants who complete the MHFA course may be eligible to receive continuing education credits (CEs) for Mental Health First Aid courses. After completion of a MHFA course, participants will receive a certificate of completion which they can submit to their board of choice. Learn more at

If you are interested, please send a quick email to If we request this training, we will have room for up to 30 participants, and these individuals must complete a simple registration with us.

If you believe that your community of 20-30 individuals could use this training, you can also inquire specifically for your community. In this case, contact


Learning Opportunities from NSACH

Join us on August 16, 2023, for the August Partner Convening, where we will hold space to check in with one another, learn what partners are up to, and discuss emerging tools that North Sound ACH is ready to release. The convenings are open to our partners, interested community members, and anyone who wants to join us! We will meet in-person at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge for a one-day convening of celebration, networking, asking questions, and sharing ideas and solutions. Please be sure you register (click here); we look forward to seeing you there!


Edge of Amazing

Register now for the 9th Annual Edge of Amazing Health and Well-being conference, on October 18, at the Delta Hotels by Marriott in Everett.

What’s New in 2023?

  • Theme: Reconnection – integrating heart and soul practices that heal, sustain, and improve well-being for ourselves and our community.

  • An in-person format with a half-day general session and an afternoon full of opportunities for networking and interactive experiences.

  • A LiveWellLocal™ Community Resource Share Area featuring a broad array of local health and well-being resources.

  • More opportunities to participate in interactive practices throughout the day including mindfulness, data poster presentations, art therapy, movement and more.

Register today for $75 early-pricing tickets. A limited amount of EOA Scholarships are available for individuals where cost is a barrier to attending – visit the Scholarship Page to apply. Community Connect in Skagit County!


Northwest Youth Services

Northwest Youth Services will host its first annual Healing-Centered Gathering, "Learn | Create | Connect" in Bellingham this October!

This event is an invitation to tap into the profound knowledge and skills that lie dormant as a collective, all in the name of healing and connection. Together, we'll embark on a journey of Healing Centered Engagement through dynamic, culturally grounded conversations and relationship building. Come to co-create interactive spaces for reflection, growth, and unlearning, as we work towards our personal and collective well-being.

Get your tickets now by clicking here. All proceeds will directly benefit the young folks they serve! Questions? Contact


Learn about Living Kidney Donation!

Join use to mearn more about living kidny donation. A panel of kidney donors, recipients, and medical experts will discuss the journey of living kidney donation on Sept. 10, 2023, from 12-2PM. Location: Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 N Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225

Click on the flyer above, scan the QR code or email


Community Events & Info

In an effort to connect our volunteers with relevant resources, we publish community events and information in our monthly newsletter and on our website. Email to add your own.

From the CDC: Caring for Children in a Disaster

"Disasters affect children differently than they do adults. Learn more about the unique needs of children during and after disasters." -The CDC

It's back-to-school month! Summer flies! How do we hang on just a little bit longer to those fun and carefree days? How do our children stay children a bit longer? The CDC advocates for protecting children in many ways, and one important way is through disaster preparedness.

From the CDC

The Problem: A public health emergency—such as a natural disaster, disease outbreak, or terrorist attack—can happen anywhere and at any time. Because children are more vulnerable than adults during disasters, CDC’s Children’s Preparedness Unit and its partners work to protect children before and during an emergency.

Why This Is Important:

1 in 4 presons in the U.S. is a child

Children with disabilities or other special needs are especially vulnerable during disasters.

Limited emergency resources could be quickly overwhelmed with a surge in the number of patients who are children.

Communities may face additional challenges protecting children during emergencies because of economic, geographic, or racial/ethnic disparities. For instance, rural communities may have fewer emergency responders, shelters, health facilities or equipment.

To learn more and download information for adults and children in Spanish and English, click here.


Kids and Kidneys! From kids to kids!

Your Kidneys and Youth. Learn about kidney health to keep your kidneys and the rest of your body healthy.

Each month, we provide kidney, blood sugar and BP health for adults. But kids are eager to learn--and they are vulnerable. This summer, please take some time to share good resources, to include great and inspiring YouTube videos about kidney health for kids--by kids--grades 5-8. Click here for a great video on nutrition, subscribe to the National Kidney Foundation videos and watch them all with your kids and grandkids!

While we share good resources for kids in this newsletter, please don't forget to take good care of yourselves!




More resources from the Mount Baker Foundation


Money Smart on Orcas Island!

Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC) has an Orcas Money Smart program and they are looking for volunteer mentors and participants for their next session which starts in September of 2023!

This a 9-month program where mentors teach the basics of budgeting, savings, banking, housing decisions, debt, credit, disaster preparedness, and more to participants. If you want to sharpen your financial skills or become a mentor, please connect with OCRC at or phone at 360-376-3184.


All about 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline from SAMSHA

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat


Creative Offering

Starting back in 2021, CSSP started a collaboration with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community by creating a video series corresponding to the 13 Moons curriculum, offering a video for each moon. Each Moon includes a Tribal story, brought to life by brilliant shadow artist and animator Heather Dawn Sparks. The 13 Moon’s Curriculum was developed by the Swinomish Community Environmental Health program with the goal to create an informal and scalable model of environmental health education through the lens of first foods and resources.

Watch the video series here, and click here for the 13 Moons curriculum PDF book!


Support HMN

Help us support the invaluable work of faith community nurses and health ministers in northwest Washington by donating today!

And thank you to our fiscal sponsor,

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