Meet Lis Klemme

Elisabeth (Lis) Klemme, Brain Balance Program Director at Shelterwood, loves being part of a new chapter in our families’ stories. Get to know Lis.

What Lis loves most about Shelterwood: “Shelterwood fosters a continual growth process. I love that I’m constantly learning and constantly growing,” Lis says. “Shelterwood continually challenges its staff to be better and to grow in a kind, loving way.”

Brain Balance, defined: Often, students arrive at Shelterwood with a gap between their biological age and their brain’s age of maturity. For example, a student may be 16 years old, but with a brain function at age 11. Because of the gap, the student can struggle to handle situations as someone his or her biological age should. “Brain Balance helps make the brain teachable, so students can better learn,” Lis explains. Shelterwood is the only therapeutic boarding school with Brain Balance right on campus.

When she was a teen: “Sometimes I look around and think, perhaps I should have been at Shelterwood as a teen!” Lis says. “My mom was a politician and I learned from an early age how to just put on a pretty face. On the one hand, I was on the soccer team and Honors society and youth group, but then I had another side that was far less positive. I went to church every Sunday, but I spent Saturday night partying or doing things that were not God-honoring,” Lis reflects. She dedicated herself to Christ at age 17, as a senior in high school. “I always had a relationship with God, but when I gave my life up to God, that changed everything.”

What brought her to Shelterwood: Lis earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri, and after graduating, spent time writing grants and working with children through after-school programs, and then got plugged into the Brain Balance community. “One of my Brain Balance mentors was connected with Amanda Gunter, and when the coordinator role opened, it was a great opportunity for me,” Lis recalls. “I got to train with the previous Director, who was retiring, so it was such a smooth transition into both Brain Balance and Shelterwood.”

SW TherapyQuotable ElisabethKlemme Meet Lis Klemme

Favorite part about being the Brain Balance Program Coordinator: “One of the things I love about Brain Balance is that every day looks different,” Lis says. She works directly with students, counselors, parents and coaches. “My role is making sure everyone is engaged on all fronts, and I love being kept on my toes!”

Most unique aspect of Shelterwood Brain Balance: “Brain Balance is really innovative in that it acknowledges that not all behaviors are the child’s fault,” Lis explains. “Brain Balance starts first with the immaturities in the brain and gets to the root of the problem. Integrating Brain Balance from the beginning to the end also helps therapists along the way to know where the students are, so they are able to serve them more effectively.”

Family: Lis met her husband, Jason, while they were students in college. They have a two-year-old daughter named Corrine. When the weather is nice, Lis and her family head to the park or go for a bike ride. They also enjoy spending time with friends from their church.

Best part of her Shelterwood job: “I love enrolling new families!” Lis says. “It is such a new beginning for every family, so I get really excited when I am able to be part of that treatment plan and part of the next chapter in their story.”

“I don’t know where I’d be today if I had not gone to Shelterwood.”

Kate Reedy was a junior when she transferred high schools and fell in with the wrong crowd. “From the first week of the school year, I was going to school drunk,” Kate recalls. “The year was full of parties and I was getting involved with the wrong people.” That April marked one of Kate’s lowest moments. “Several of us got drunk at a rally and we were questioned by not only the school principal, but by the police as well. All four of us were arrested,” she remembers. Within a week, Kate was headed to Shelterwood, a turning point in her story.

“My arrest that April was a huge red flag for my family about everything else that had been going on during the year,” Kate says. “My parents knew I’d been drinking, but it didn’t hit them hard until I was being read my rights. Looking back, it was a huge wakeup call for my parents.”

Kate summarizes her arrival at Shelterwood in one word: relief. “I tried to keep a hard face on, but deep down, I was glad I was getting help. I got out of the car when we arrived at Shelterwood and I didn’t even cry . . . I was just so relieved to be there. I knew this was my chance. I knew I needed this and so I took it seriously.”

Kate’s therapeutic experience was particularly impactful, she shares. “My therapist made me feel like I was family,” she says. “I never felt rushed in our sessions and he gave me the time I needed, the time to talk everything through.” She feels the same about the young adult Mentors and even the kitchen staff. “Someone was always there for me. For someone like me who had been through so much, that’s so important.”

Without the distractions and pressure she’d experienced back at school, Kate felt free to explore her spirituality. “The God factor at Shelterwood is amazing. Everyone there has a purpose to live for God. The chapel services, church, Bible studies . . . all of it became important to me. Being away from the phone, the TV, the Internet and social media, I was not distracted by my phone and so I was able to focus on those things.”

kate reedy 576x1024 “I don’t know where I’d be today if I had not gone to Shelterwood.”

Academically, Kate had the space and time at Shelterwood to excel. No longer under the negative influence of her peers at high school, Kate was determined to complete coursework and graduate high school. “I was able to graduate high school early because of the classes at Shelterwood. I know many therapeutic programs do not allow that, and if I had been somewhere else, I could have fallen behind. All the teachers were awesome and helpful.”

After a nine month stay at Shelterwood, Kate graduated. The transition home was somewhat challenging, Kate admits. “I got home during February of what would have been my senior year in high school. All my old friends were still in school. I struggled a lot being back home and trying to find the right relationships.”

“Everything was not suddenly perfect at home because I’d been to Shelterwood,” Kate shares, reflecting that no relationship is ever perfect. She knew her parents had been working just as hard at home as she had been at Shelterwood. “You will not come home and find that everything is suddenly great. I cannot stress enough how important it was for me to have that patience. Today, my mom is my very best friend and I cherish that relationship. That would not be the case without Shelterwood. I have good relationships with my family again, and that is so special.”

Kate is excelling professionally today too, and is proud of her career. Working in property management for a homeowners’ association, “most of my work is in customer service. I love talking to people!” she smiles.

The decisions Kate makes today lie in stark contrast to those she made before Shelterwood. “The friends I pick today are different, my priorities are different, even the guys I date are totally different. I wouldn’t have had goals or expectations for myself if I had not been to Shelterwood.” Kate attributes the shift to the confidence she gained while at Shelterwood. “I learned not to be scared to tell my story and to own my story.”

Most importantly, Kate says, she cherishes her relationship with God. “God is now a huge part of my life. I don’t know where I’d be today if I had not gone to Shelterwood.”

Shelterwood Mentors: A lifetime of impact

At Shelterwood, everything we do drives towards transforming teens and restoring families — and our young adult Mentors are at the heart of it all. These men and women meet teens where they are and speak Gospel truth into their lives. Shelterwood Mentors dedicate a year of their life to authentic discipleship, serving teens in their journey of transformation.

Mentors, nicknamed “Bigs,” are are men and women in their early 20s who have a passion for discipleship. As they work with teens, they lay groundwork for social, academic and spiritual growth of the students. “We’ve found that our Mentors working with our teens is one of the biggest helps to them and really has a profound impact,” says Lloyd Rindels, Director of Training and Leadership Development. “Shelterwood is designed not to create simply behavioral change, but to get to that deep heart change and set our students up to succeed in life. Our Mentors help them navigate.”

Mentors have a wide variety of backgrounds, but they all have a common passion for serving struggling teens while growing in leadership. “Our Mentors come from a variety of backgrounds,” Lloyd explains. “Really, the biggest qualification is a willing heart. Mentors want to serve God, want to serve teens and want to share their faith in a way that can impact lives.”

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“We’re looking for Mentors who want to come live out their passion and live out the idea of laying down their lives for the sake of someone else,” Lloyd continues. “That is the background we are looking for. We look for a teachable heart and a servant heart.”

Mentors serve teens through discipleship, but it is a journey for them as well. Mentors experience intensive leadership development and spiritual growth, becoming positioned to thrive in their future no matter what career path they choose. “It is a year-long journey into leadership, coaching, spiritual growth and understanding how to help others learn.”

“We’ve designed the program to help Mentors with their own development,” Lloyd says. “When Mentors come to Shelterwood, they learn as much about themselves as they do in helping other people and learning how to help teenagers. We have a course of study to help Mentors with their own growth as leaders, navigating life and learning what they would like to do next.”

This is one year of service for Mentors, yet the legacy is lasting: Mentors make a lifetime of impact. One-on-one ministry makes a transformational difference not only on teens, but on their families and communities too. “When we have a student who graduates Shelterwood, it is a rejoicing. One thing that is highlighted, over and over again, is the Mentors. What they have done to help a student changes a life — for a lifetime.”

Interested in becoming a Shelterwood Mentor? Know someone who might be a good fit? We are actively recruiting for our next class of Mentors. Learn more about the program and apply now.