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Be Inspiring: Linsten-Lodge is Be Inspiring winner for May

Nicki Linsten-Lodge is a great community supporter who wears many hats. She is the Head Start family and classroom support coordinator and the Early Childhood Coalition coordinator.

Linsten-Lodge grew up in Duluth and has lived in the Pine River-Backus area for the last 14 years.

“I was very fortunate to have many caring adults growing up,” she said about her adult role models as a child.

She said her parents instilled a hard work ethic, core values and a belief that she could do anything if she tried.

“They believed in me,” Linsten-Lodge said.

As many other Be Inspiring nominees have stated in the past, Linsten-Lodge showed great appreciation for her Early Head Start supervisor and mentor, Diane Kishel.

In her coordinator positions, Linsten-Lodge finds value in working with youth and parents. She said working with the birth to age 5 population is vital. Young children are excited to learn and willing to be brave.

“Early childhood is where the magic of learning starts,” she said, noting she feels the same about parent education and involvement.

“It doesn’t matter what background families have. Every parent wants the best for their child,” she said, adding it truly does take a village to be supportive for children and their parents. “Sometimes parents just need affirmation that they are doing a good job.”

The community needs to continue to embrace the “it takes a village” mindset to set positive examples for youth, Linsten-Lodge said.

“Our community needs to continue its support of offering family-friendly activities, teaching new skills and offering more experiences for children and parents,” she said.

Linsten-Lodge said this is where acceptance and encouragement are most helpful for families. It is better to embrace and acknowledge differences, rather than pass judgment that would just hinder growth and trust.

Linsten-Lodge praised the Early Childhood Coalition, the Working Together Coalition and the community.

“I look forward to working with the community to continue to help our future leaders and families.”

Every month the Working Together Coalition recognizes someone from the community who has made a positive impact in children’s lives. Nominations are being accepted for future Be Inspiring recipients.

Submit nominations to Kelly Felton at 218-330-8129 or visit

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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