About Tailwinds Bemidji
Finding Inspiration at every turn
Here at Tailwinds Bemidji, we offer a range of services to support our clients in their journey towards success. Our team is made up of experienced professionals and volunteers who are passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of those who have experienced incarceration and substance use. We offer peer support services to those currently incarcerated as well as individuals returning back into the community. We provide educational programming for families and within the community to bring awareness, education and support regarding gaps in services, barriers to re-entry and to advocate towards reducing the shame and stigma associated with substance use and incarceration. We provide opportunities within our community for sober events and activities, and also serve as a resource hub, connecting individuals to resources and services in the area to help our clients build the skills they need for a successful re-entry.
Tailwinds Bemidji is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization created in March of 2023 after recognizing the lack of services available to re-entry clients when returning home to the community. This nonprofit aims to fill service gaps and reduce identified barriers for individuals returning to the Beltrami County area from incarceration or residential substance use treatment programs. This agency will serve as a point of contact for re-entry clients while collaborating with other agencies for the best possible outcome for the clients. Tailwinds Bemidji will connect with incarcerated individuals to provide support and build rapport before release to ensure that these individuals have a support person within the community upon release.
Meet The Board Of Directors
Jane Phelps, Board Chair
HI, I’m Jane Phelps. I’m a Bemidji native, Bemidji High School and Bemidji State University graduate. Earning my Bachelor degree in Applied Psychology in 2008, after working as a Radio announcer for Paul Bunyan Broadcasting for 20 years. I’ve been a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for over 15 years now.
Past professional experiences include; State, County and Tribal, as well as private and non-profit agencies. I’ve worked in Residential, Outpatient and MAT settings. I had the pleasure of working with the Headwaters ACT Team as a Mental Health Practitioner for over a year and also utilized that skill set as a member of the Mobile Crisis Team from 2016-2017. From 2017-2020 was the Program Manager of New Beginnings Re-Entry project, having an office in the Beltrami County Jail. We worked with inmates in several county jails and with Prison inmates returning to the area. My two most recent wonderful work experiences were with Restore House and Bemidji Area Program for Recovery treatment programs in Bemidji. I just love all the helpers in our community. People with real passion, and big hearts.
Personal experience includes my own struggles with substances as a young person, and having seen many family members, friends and clients’ struggle. I know how much pain and sadness it can cause, but I have also witnessed the beauty and joy of recovery. I believe people can change, and consider myself somewhat of a Hope Dealer. Tailwinds connects all these things, what a great concept! And what great people!
Brooke Scripture, Vice Chair
A Child protection Social Worker at Beltrami County Health & Human Services. Prior to my current employment, I worked as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor at Bemidji Area Program For Recovery for two years. Primarily working as the Intensive Outpatient Treatment Counselor and the Jail Coordinator. With being in that position, I worked with several incarcerated individuals by helping them obtain substance use assessments in order to begin t heir journey of recovery. I learned so much knowledge and skills from the individuals I was helping and knew I wanted to continue to be a part of the change. Tailwinds Bemidji has so much support to offer to the community, being a part of this team is a huge honor.
Amber Whelan, Board Secretary/ Treasurer
Currently employed at Bemidji Area Program for Recovery as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor & Treatment Director, I love working within the substance use field, supervising interns, and have facilitated multiple levels of outpatient treatment groups including groups offered within the jail. I am a Licensed Graduate Social Worker & am passionate about policy level changes regarding the decriminalization of substance use, advocating for reducing the shame and stigma associated with substance use & fighting to break down barriers faced by those who have dealt with incarceration & substance use. I previously worked as the Executive Director at Face It Together Bemidji, where I worked as a Certified Peer Support Specialist and am currently a Board Certified Peer support Specialist Supervisor. I am in long term recovery and have lived experience with incarceration and substance use and believe in the power of advocacy and outreach to continue to address the needs in our community.
Leslie Arndt, Board Member
A passionate advocate for social change and community development, deeply committed to helping those who have experienced addiction and incarceration. As a member of the Board of Directors for Tailwinds Re-entry, a non-profit organization specializing in re-entry support, she actively collaborates with community organizations to identify innovative ways to expand supportive services and positively impact the local community. Her life experience and professional involvement in the mental health and addiction recovery field have enabled her to develop a profound understanding of the multifaceted issues surrounding re-entry. Her warmth, empathy, and unwavering belief in the potential for positive change create an environment of trust and empowerment for the community we serve. Currently completing a dual internship for Social Work and Alcohol & Drug Counseling, and past work history allows her to bring multifaceted perspectives to the agency.
Terri Buscher, Board Member
I have been the owner/director of Bemidji Area Program for Recovery, working in the Substance Use Disorder field for 16 years. Witnessing individuals become successful in sobriety is an honor, as is being there for them when they are struggling. Over the years this has become a passion. I’m happy to be able to help them make connections, sometimes be the shoulder they cry on, assist them in finding the right resources, and become part of the community. It sounds simple, but is a complex problem for so many people. Some things that I’ve learned that are so important, are that individuals struggling with addiction are so much more than their addiction. It shouldn’t define who they are. And as the late, great Lynn Kistler would say, “Addiction is not a character flaw”.
Being on the Tailwinds Bemidji board of directors, is something that is a very natural position for me. Helping folks re-entering the area from Jail/prison is so important, everyone needs someone to come home to. Even if it’s just us offering a helping hand.