Background and Mission
Happy Kids Network (formerly Families-In-Transition Support) was established as a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Dells School District and Beacon House to meet the needs of homeless and low-income children. Originally launched in 2009 under Beacon House, the organization was re-ignited in July of 2011 when it was brought to our attention by Holly Waterman, a newly elected School Board Member, that there was a significant number of homeless and “food-insecure” students in the district that needed help.
Currently, the Happy Kids Network is committed to seeing all children flourishing by working toward social equity for students in the Wisconsin Dells School District. We want all children to be happy and healthy and have access to the same opportunities of success. We work collaboratively with the local schools and other community services to facilitate additional resources in order to promote self-sufficient and healthy families.
Happy Kids Network Board of Directors
Michelle Schmitz, President – Michelle joined Happy Kids in 2015. In 2017, she was nominated as President by her peers and currently serves in that role. She is chairperson of our signature programs around Food and Clothing. She is a former High School Science teacher at the Reedsburg Area High School, and was involved in many co-curricular activities while there. Michelle continues to be an active volunteer in her children’s classrooms and recently became a volunteer serving with the Senior’s Luncheon at the Kilbourn Public Library. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from UW-Madison in Biology and Secondary Education and her Master’s from UW-LaCrosse in Professional Development. She is married with 3 children.
Aaron Ramquist, Vice-President – Aaron joined Happy Kids in 2016 after moving to the Dells. He served as General Manager of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Portage, managing the thrift store, food pantry, mobile pantry, and community assistance programs. He also sat on the board at River Haven, a homeless housing community and resource center. He currently serves as pastor at Rock of Hope Church, a new church plant in Wisconsin Dells. He is married with three kids (all girls) and a fourth girl on the way.
Holly Waterman, Strategic Advisor – Holly joined Happy Kids in 2011, after being elected to the local school board and learning about the fledging organization that was serving the low income students. She is a very successful fund-raiser and specializes in growing organizations. Currently, she owns and operates Cutting Edge Fitness in Downtown Wisconsin Dells. Holly was an Olympic-level soccer player and was instrumental in developing the local Soccer program. She is currently a coach and member of the Dells Area Youth Soccer Association. She formerly served on the Wisconsin Dells School Board and is an active member at her church. Holly holds a B.A. from Regis University. She enjoys serving her community through volunteering, outreach, her church, and in her children’s classrooms. She is married with 3 young sons, and enjoys water & snow skiing, fitness, nutrition, personal development of any kind!
Bev Strand, Strategic Advisor – Bev served on the Beacon House Board as Vice President from 2011 – 2013 upon learning of the homeless children in our local school district. During her “career years” she held executive levels positions including COO, CFO, and CEO for a start-up. Upon retiring to Wisconsin from California, she owned and operated a small local retail business from 2008 to 2011. She currently serves on a number of boards, steering committees and advisory panels. Bev is a graduate of Leadership San Jose, Leadership California and Women Leaders for the World. In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree and has completed multiple Executive-Level Education programs. Bev is married, with 2 daughters, and 4 grandchildren.
Amanda Cone, Treasurer
Whitney Beibesheimer, Media Relations
ADDRESS: P. O. Box 781, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
CONTACT PERSON: Michelle Schmitz, President
CONTACT PERSON: Aaron Ramquist, Vice-President
Michelle PHONE: 608-963-5688
Aaron PHONE: 608-844-3177