Friday, April 29, 2016

Sioux Center sixth-graders donate Baby Bundles to Promise CHC

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Diapers. Sleepers. Blankets. Wipes. Baby shampoo.
Sioux Center Middle School sixth-grade teacher
Kelsey Gibbons (left) explains to her students how
to fill Baby Bundles with items. The bags were
donated to Promise Community Health Center in
Sioux Center to give to families that struggle to
afford the necessities for their newborn babies.

Many families take buying these items for their newborn babies for granted, but some families struggle to afford these necessities.

A group of Sioux Center Middle School sixth-graders took it upon themselves to give these families a great head start by packing Baby Bundles full of necessary items. They donated a dozen bags to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center to provide to moms who have a special need for them after the birth of their baby.

“It is helping them and caring for them,” said sixth-grader Michael Castro after helping to fill the Baby Bundles today (Friday, April 29). “It makes me happy because I like helping people. I think they’ll be really happy when they get it because some people are poor, and they can’t afford it.”

Sixth-graders Tara Horstman and Peyton
Toering fill bags with baby items for
families who need the items.
Each of the six sixth-grade Prime Time groups at Sioux Center Middle School applied for and were awarded $250 grants from Project Jack, which is funded by the Realtor Foundation of Iowa. The project – which is in memory of Jack Lindaman, who died in 2010 when he was 6 years old from spinal muscular atrophy – offers middle school students the opportunity to “pay it forward” by doing various projects to help others.

Sixth-grade teacher Kelsey Gibbons said the students in her group wanted to do a project to help kids in their own community. They threw out ideas and voted on them. Ultimately, they decided to assemble bags full of baby supplies and to donate them to Promise Community Health Center to distribute to families of newborn babies who need them. Promise, which serves many families and children who are at or below the poverty level, also had a Baby Bundles program in place that relies on community donations.

The students used their own ambition and initiative to take the grant project one step farther, however. Instead of just using the money to buy baby supplies, the students used the funds to buy Sioux Center Warrior lanyards and bumper stickers to sell at the middle school and high school as a fundraiser.
Sixth-graders Alexander Maldonado and Michael
Castro fold blankets and sleepers to put into the
Baby Bundles to donate to Promise Community
Health Center for families that need the items.

In doing so, they turned $250 into nearly $400. That allowed them to purchase supplies to fill 12 bags with an impressive array of items. They also donated leftover money to Promise’s Baby Bundles program for future use.

Gibbons said the students embraced the project.

“They were really excited about selling the products to raise more money because they know we have people in need in our community,” she said. “They wanted to help.”

She hopes the students developed additional empathy through the project.

Sixth-grader Azenethe Reyes creates
cards to put into the Baby Bundles.
“Otherwise, they might not have realized that some people can’t afford some of these things,” Gibbons said. “My hope is that they realize how fortunate some of us are. There isn’t a question of whether we will have food on our tables and whether we can go out and buy diapers, baby food and other supplies for our babies.”

Sixth-grader Ella Jahn said the project will help the community.

“Kids will be warm because they will have blankets, and they will stay clean because they have diapers. It will help them with their health and their life,” she said. “It made me feel good because I knew that I had these things, so it would be sad if they didn’t.”

Classmate Peytan Toering had similar sentiments.

“It felt good to help people that need this stuff and give them a healthy and happy childhood,” she said. “I think they’ll be really happy and excited that they will have all this stuff that they maybe couldn’t afford for their baby and that they will have good supplies for their babies to be comfy and clean.”

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.

The Sioux Center Middle School sixth-grade group packed the following items into each Baby Bundle that it donated to Promise Community Health Center:

  • One blanket;
  • One sleeper;
  • Two Onesies;
  • One bag of diapers;
  • Two packages of baby wipes;
  • One bottle of wash/shampoo;
  • One bottle of lotion.

The students also created cards for the families to put in the bags.

In addition to Promise Community Health Center, other organizations that were supported by the Sioux Center Middle School sixth-grade Project Jack projects included: Atlas, The Bridge, Hope Food Pantry, One Body One Hope and Sanford Children’s Hospital. Sioux Center Middle School also received school supplies for students who move into the district during the middle of the year and can’t afford the items.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mangold seeing patients at Promise as behavioral health therapist

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Rebecca Mangold knew she wanted to go into a career where she could help people.

During college, she thought that might be as a missionary. But plans changed. She discovered that she could help many underserved people as a mental health therapist right here in northwest Iowa.
Rebecca Mangold, a provisionally licensed mental health
counselor for Creative Living Center, has begun seeing
patients at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux
Center. She plays a key role in Promise's behavioral
health integration with primary care services.

Mangold, a provisionally licensed mental health counselor for Creative Living Center in Rock Valley, now is seeing patients one day per week at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center. Promise has a contract with Creative Living Center for Mangold to provide the service 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays.

“Through conversations, they realized that this could be a good partnership since I’m starting out as a therapist, and I also speak Spanish,” Mangold said, referring to Promise’s large Spanish-speaking population.

Mangold, a 2008 graduate of Albert Lea High School in Minnesota, earned degrees in psychology and Spanish at Northwestern College in Orange City in 2012. After taking a year off from school after college and serving for a few months as part of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps at a law agency in Oakland, CA, she enrolled at the University of South Dakota and earned her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling in December 2015.

She started working at Creative Living Center in January and began seeing patients as a therapist for Promise’s behavioral health program on April 13.

“What interested me the most is being able to have contact with the Hispanic community and to be able to provide therapy in Spanish,” Mangold said. “For so long, I’ve been saying that was one of my goals, so it’s really exciting to be here because Promise serves both an English- and Spanish-speaking population.”

Here are some of her reflections about behavioral health and her role at Promise:

Q: What is behavioral health care in your own words?
A: To me, I think of behavioral health or mental health, those two terms, as taking care of yourself in another way because we all have minds and we all have emotions and feelings. Sometimes those are really difficult, too. There are a lot of life situations that happen that are not easy to experience or go through. It’s hard to know how to cope with it. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to an outsider. You can spend a lot of time with family and friends and keep saying similar things to them, but that fresh pair of ears can be helpful in and of itself. They’re a little more removed from the situation.

Q: What are the most rewarding aspects of this profession?
A: Being allowed to enter into somebody’s most sacred and intimate part of their life. You know, that’s a lot of trust to share with someone things that they maybe haven’t shared with someone else. I feel really honored and humbled by that when people are able to open up and be vulnerable with me.

Q: Why are behavioral health services so important, and why is it good to integrate them with primary care?
A: To me, what is really amazing about integrating with primary care is that I think it takes away some of that stigma. I feel like as a society we are OK with going to the doctor. “Hey, I’m sick and don’t feel well; I’m going to go to the doctor.” When someone is struggling with mental health, there’s more of a stigma around that. People aren’t as open, and it’s a little scarier. So I think having it integrated kind of bridges that gap a little bit and makes a smoother transition. I think it could help people see that, “Oh, this is helpful. It doesn’t mean I’m weak. This is just another part of my care.”

Q: What do you hope you can bring to Promise in this role?
A: What I’m excited about being at Promise is being able to provide therapy in Spanish as well. Interpreters are awesome. They do great work, but it changes the dynamic of therapy. I’m really glad I can bring a bridge for that language gap. Hopefully, that will make that therapy space as comfortable as it can be without having too many outside people.

Q: What are your impressions of Promise as an organization?
A: I’m just blown away. The impression I get is Promise is trying to think about all avenues of health and trying to get as many people on board to provide those services. When I personally hear health center, I usually just think medical. So it’s really amazing to me that, no, they have medical; they have dental; they have vision; they have behavioral health. That comprehensive model is just amazing to me.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Rebecca Mangold and her husband, Dan, live in Orange City. She enjoys music, particularly playing violin, and outdoors activities, including going for walks and fishing.

Promise Community Health Center also has a contract with Seasons Center for Behavioral Health for providing behavioral health services. Maggie Greving, a therapist for Seasons, has been seeing patients 8 a.m.-noon Mondays and Thursdays at Promise. Pedro Ruiz serves as Promise’s full-time behavioral health care coordinator and interpreter.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Promise to honor mothers during May 4 Pictures of Promise event

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – As Mother’s Day approaches, Promise Community Health Center will celebrate mothers and the legacy they leave their families.

The health center is planning a Pictures of Promise event for 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at Central Park in Sioux Center.

As a centerpiece of the event, each mom who attends will have a free portrait photograph taken with her family. Each family then will receive a free 8-by-10 print of the photo in a frame. The print will be available for pickup at Promise on Thursday, May 12.

Tomales, chips and salsa, and cupcakes from Olivia’s Bakery in Sioux Center will be served.

Women who attend will be provided with education materials about breast health and breast cancer prevention and screenings. The event serves as a community outreach opportunity through Promise’s Sister to Sister/Hermana a Hermana project, which is funded by a grant from the Susan G. Komen for a Cure Siouxland Affiliate.

Promise held the Pictures of Promise event previously in 2013. All moms and their families are invited to attend to attend the community event.

“We decided to host this event again as way to give back to women and their families,” said Kendra Kleinwolterink, community educator for Promise. “With Mother’s Day coming up, we felt this was a good opportunity to show appreciation to mothers and provide them with educational materials on breast cancer.”

Reservations are not required to attend Pictures of Promise. It will be in an open-house format, so people can come and go as they please. For more information, contact Kleinwolterink at 712-722-1700 Ext. 170 or

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WOW6 adds gravel route to three popular paved bicycle routes

Bicyclists take a brief break from pedaling during
last year's Wellness on Wheels ride. Many cyclists
return every year for the annual bicycle ride.
by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Bicyclists might want to give riding on gravel a try. Or, they can have their choice of three paved routes, ranging from 6 to 60 miles, that received raved reviews last year. 

A 30-mile gravel surface ride is being added as a new fourth route for the sixth annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride.

WOW6 is slated for Saturday, June 4, as an official event of Sioux Center Summer Celebration and the community’s 125th anniversary celebration. The event, which is put on by Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center with the help of many great business sponsors, also includes a meal, great prizes and a complimentary event T-shirt.

Bicyclists travel the Sioux County countryside during
last year's Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride. Four
routes are being offered this year's event on June 4,
including a new 30-mile gravel surface route.
“We think the bicyclists will absolutely love our WOW event again this year,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations and development coordinator for Promise. “We have distances for every riding level, ranging from 6 miles to 60 miles. The bicyclists savor the opportunity to ride out on the open road with fellow riders. They enjoy sharing bicycling stories with the fellow riders who return every year and meeting the new participants. The camaraderie among the cyclists is a wonderful part of this event.”

All four rides will start again this year at Children's Park in Sioux Center:

  • Bicyclists head off on their trek during last year's
    WOW Bicycle Ride. WOW6 is slated for Saturday,
    June 4, with four routes planned for riders.

    A nearly 60-mile paved route will travel through scenic southwestern Sioux County through the communities of Hawarden and Ireton. Aid stations will be located in those towns to welcome riders and rejuvenate them with Gatorade, water and snacks before heading back out on the road. The ride will depart at 7 a.m.
  • A nearly 30-mile paved route will travel through rural Sioux County to Ireton, where one of the welcome stations will be located, before returning to Sioux Center. The ride will depart at 8 a.m.
  • The new 30-mile gravel route will take riders on a large loop through rural Sioux County past some interesting features and will intersect with the Ireton welcome station. The ride will depart at 8 a.m.
  • A 6-mile Fun Ride will travel to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area and back on the Sioux Center Recreation Trail. A welcome station with refreshments will be located in an open shelter house halfway along the way to provide riders a place to stop on both the route there and back. The ride will depart at 9 a.m.

Nate Nykamp, an avid bicyclist and WOW committee member who spearheaded the design of the routes, thinks the new gravel surface ride will appeal to a growing segment of the cycling population. He hopes people give it a try.

“Is riding 30 miles on gravel roads harder than 30 miles on paved roads? You bet it is,” Nykamp said. “But if it's a challenge, it's a beautiful one. Riders will see roads and places that they never knew existed, including the abandoned village of Fairview. In addition to seeing some new country, I really enjoy riding without having to constantly worry about car traffic. It's simply a more peaceful ride.”
Bicyclists gather at Children's Park in
Sioux Center before embarking on their
ride during the 2015 WOW event.

He said the biggest question in the mind of a new gravel rider is: “What bike should I bring?”

“I've rode alongside riders on mountain bikes, upright hybrids, cyclocross and even road bikes,” Nykamp said. “The main thing is that it's a bike that you're comfortable on. Don't forget that the ride does have support vehicles to help you out if you get in a bind.”

Nykamp said the WOW’s longer paved routes were kept the same as last year mainly because of the positive reviews from riders. The 60-mile route features “some of the most beautiful and quiet roads that Sioux County has to offer,” including riding along the Big Sioux River and the rolling hills of western Sioux County.

“The longer route has a couple of good hills to test your legs, but we've put aid stations in the right spots to give riders a chance to recover,” he said. “The shorter ride to Ireton is a good way for newer riders to get a feel for event riding; plus, it's just a fun combination of roads to be on.”
The sixth annual Wellness on Wheels (WOW6) Bicycle
Ride is slated for Saturday, June 4, with four routes
that range in distance from 6 to 60 miles. A new
30-mile gravel route is planned for this year.
If 30 or 60 miles is too much for the leisure bicyclist, they might want to ride the 6-mile Fun Ride that travels the countryside on the Sioux Center Recreation Trail to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area, a park managed by the Sioux County Conservation Board. The route also is perfect for families with small children. If they can't make it all the way to the park, they will be able to turn around at the welcome station that will be provided halfway.

A meal featuring Casey's breakfast pizza will be served to all the riders when they return to Children's Park from their morning treks. Drawings for great prizes – boys and girls youth bicycles and two bicycle computers – will be conducted. A complimentary T-shirt also will be given to riders. Participants who register by the early-bird deadline of May 19 will be guaranteed a T-shirt in their size.

The annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle
Ride brings out all kinds of bicyclists,
including this three-person cycle.

WOW not only is a fun, relaxing, outdoor activity that promotes wellness, but it also serves as an annual fundraiser for Promise. The health center provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health care to patients – with a particular focus on serving underserved people and helping them overcome barriers that they face to health care.

“We have the mission of making health care accessible to all people – no matter their income level, ethnic background or life situation,” Vander Waal said. “We desire to care for the whole person, whether it be their physical condition or mental wellbeing. In doing so, we can help build a healthier community overall.”

The cost of the 30- and 60-mile rides is $25 per rider for those who register by the early-bird deadline of Monday, May 23. The cost will increase to $30 after that date. The cost for the 6-mile Fun Ride will be $10 per rider through May 19 and $15 after that date.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Bicyclists can register online for the Wellness on Wheels (WOW6) at Or, they can fill out and return a paper registration form. Forms are available at Promise Community Health Center, 338 First Ave. NW, Sioux Center, Iowa, and at various locations in the community. A form also can be accessed online on Promise's homepage at or by clicking this link.

Call Promise Community Health Center at 712-722-1700.

Promise Community Health Center will put on WOW6 with the help of these generous sponsors: American State Bank, Sioux Center Health, Northwest Bank, Peoples Bank, Primebank, Dordt College, First State Bank, Hull Pharmacy, Iowa State Bank, Isakson Chiropractic Health, Lewis Family Drug, Mane Attraction, Proactive Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, Robin's School of Dance & Fitness, Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Clinic and Vander Kooi Freight. The following businesses are donating prizes, materials or services to the event: Brothers Bike Shop, Casey's General Store, Fareway, Hy-Vee, Iowa Information, McDonald's and Walmart.

Read this feature story on Bert Van Batavia, a 72-year-old farmer who will be riding in the WOW6 Bicycle Ride.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Promise to offer sports physicals for students in convenient format

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Every middle school and high school athlete must get a sports physical every year to compete in school sports.
Promise Community Health Center's nurses and
medical assistants are ready to assist Promise's
providers with offering sports physicals to
students 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 11. The sports
physicals will be offered in an open-house format.
No appointments are necessary.

Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center is providing parents with a convenient way to get that done for their children.

Promise’s staff of providers will be available to offer sports physicals in an open house format 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 11. The athletic physicals will be provided at Promise’s location at 338 First Ave. NW, across the street from the Sioux Center city offices. The cost will be $25. No appointments are necessary.

Promise decided to offer this opportunity for students after hearing feedback from many parents and other people in the community regarding athletic physicals not being offered at school this year in the Sioux Center School District and a few neighboring schoolsas they have in the past. Therefore, Promise will fill the need of students in the convenient format.

Tana Kass, one of Promise’s nurse practitioners who will be providing the sports physicals, thinks it will be the perfect solution for busy moms such as herself.

“I’m a mom of five boys, and when it comes to sports physicals, it can be a nightmare to get it all done,” Kass said.

Promise also will be prepared to provide updated immunizations to students who need them.

As it has for the past six years, Promise also will offer low-cost sports physicals as part of its Back-to-School Block Party during National Health Center Week. This year’s event will be Wednesday, Aug. 10. Free dental screens and vaccinations also will be provided, along with free food and block party activities.

For more information about the sports physicals, call Promise at 712-722-1700.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

According to Iowa law, all student-athletes must provide their school with a completed athletic preparticipation physical examination form each year. It must be filled out and signed by a licensed provider, such as the providers at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center. The sports physical certificate is good for one year, plus an additional 30-day grace period.