Katie Thune

Minnesota Features

April 11, 2019

Taylor Anderson|Lake Time Magazine

Katie Thune

WELLNESS EDUCATOR

Katie Thune has spent her career working with children and adults of all abilities with the goal of helping to improve their quality of life. She has developed curriculum and courses for many non-profits such as Mad Hatter Wellness, Power of Me, Sexuality for All Abilities, and Special Olympics MN on the topics of healthy relationships and sexuality education, incorporating mindfulness activities and yoga.

What is the biggest challenge or greatest sacrifice you've made in pursuit of your passion?
When I left teaching six years ago, there were years when there wasn't a lot of money coming in. My husband believed in me and my mission and that helped us to get through. There was one day that he said to me, "You know, even if you don't make one more dollar doing this work, you HAVE to keep doing this because you are changing lives." That was a powerful day for me.

Is there a significant decision you made or experience you've had that has forever shaped your life?
When I was 14 years old, I volunteered as a swim instructor through adaptive recreation for the parks and rec program in St. Paul, MN. My first student was Trina, a 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. I'm not sure if it was her amazing smile or her contagious laugh, but we bonded from the beginning. Over the next several years, our friendship continued: I babysat Trina and her sisters, went to day camp with her as her inclusion companion, and, as she neared the end of high school, I talked to her about her college plans while we hung out watching episodes of "Friends." Trina was even the guest book attendant at my wedding. I knew from the moment that I met Trina that I wanted to work with people with disabilities for the rest of my life. Now, 26 years later, I have worked in all kinds of capacities for all kinds of people.

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