Whether through paint on a canvas, a pencil on paper, a walk in the woods or a tune carried by voice, Marissa Biswabic, MA, ATR, holds a core belief that imagination, exploration, and creativity are essential for making meaningful connections – with others and in the world we share. It is this philosophy and approach, more than anything, that guides Marissa’s work as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist and Psycho-education Specialist at The Production Farm. Having joined the TPF team in 2020, she works collaboratively with community youth, adults, and families to express themselves creatively and develop skills for coping with the challenges life can bring. Additionally, Marissa serves in the role of the Training Coordinator helping to train new employees and provide continuing education and support to providers at The Production Farm.
“I like working with families, making connections and helping make all the puzzle pieces fit.
Katie Heinzen deals with a lot of moving parts. Her role as Director of Behavioral Health for The Production Farm, overseeing the care of dozens of clients across Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties, comes with a lot of requirements to meet and boxes to check. And she’s more than willing to handle all those details and logistics, because along with the paperwork comes the chance to witness meaningful positive impacts in the lives of TPF clients.
“Our approach is absolutely science- and evidence-based, though it may not always look that way from the outside,” Katie says. “When you’ve seen firsthand how a slime project or a bread baking endeavor lights up and transforms a child who hasn’t seen success in other environments, it makes perfect sense.”
Katie is a native of Big Bend and Hartford, Wisconsin. She earned her Psychology degree from St. Norbert College and pursued her Master’s in Art Therapy from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Right after graduation she got married and moved with her husband to Ft. Hood, Texas, where he was stationed in the US Army. From there they landed in rural Kansas, where their two sons were born.
With a lot of professional experience and several moves under her belt, Katie and her young family were ready to return to Wisconsin and be closer to home and family. They settled in Reedsville, and she began searching for her next job. Funny story: she actually interviewed for the position she now holds completely by accident. A miscommunication led her to interview with TPF’s leadership team when she was under the impression she was speaking with a different organization about a different position. While it was a confusing introduction, things clicked into place and the rest – as they say – is history.
When you start treating people as individuals, it enriches everything.
A couple of years ago, during the height of the pandemic, The Production Farm’s President, CEO & amp; Founder Wyatt Kuether reached out to Erik Foat about assisting with needed facility updates and repairs at the Farm’s Whitelaw campus. That interaction marked the beginning of Foat’s path to becoming Facilities Director for TPF, which now includes a new facility in Sheboygan Falls (see article above) as well as the Farm in Manitowoc County.
To say Erik grew up in a big family is an understatement. Born in Appleton and raised in Neenah, he counts himself one of 22 children. His mom and stepdad generously served as foster parents to dozens and dozens of children, 16 of whom they adopted into their family. Growing up in this environment led Erik to pursue a teaching degree from UW-Oshkosh, and he taught in an elementary school for several years. But, he says, “The current model of schooling constrains both the teacher and students. I left because I disagreed with the philosophy of teaching every child in the exact same way, especially seeing kids struggling within the confines of that model.”
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