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Stephanie Andresen in Onalaska Receives $1,000 in Seed Money
This past July, Joe Moua and Kim Trainor, two of our employees at our Loan Production office in La Crosse, recognized Stephanie Andresen-Stevens with $1,000 in cash as part of our on-going Seed Money campaign for her efforts in helping survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking.
Who Is Stephanie Andresen?
Stephanie is a co-owner and certified laser technician at Brilliant Bodywork in Onalaska, Wisconsin. She is a compassionate individual that has always believed in the importance of giving back.
After she experienced losing loved ones to domestic violence, she knew there had to be a way to help those going through similar experiences. She chose to utilize her laser skills and her existing business (Brilliant Bodywork) to start a non-profit called Restorative Ink which helps survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking move forward by removing their tattoos – free of charge.
She uses her unique skillset as a certified laser technician, along with the equipment and facilities at her business, to remove tattoos of ex-partner’s names, symbols of their relationship, branding numbers, and anything that reminds the survivor of what they have been through. “It’s [tattoo removal] important because the daily reminder casts a black cloud that will prohibit the individuals from being themselves.”
What Makes Stephanie Andresen So Deserving of Seed Money?
Adam Stevens, husband and nominator, has been able to see many reasons why Stephanie deserves the funds. The biggest reason is her drive to make the world a better place. He has been able to see first-hand that when Stephanie sees a problem in the world, she tries to help fix it.
Not only does Stephanie own Brilliant Bodywork, but she utilizes that business to provide a service to people who need a fresh start. The idea of how much time and cost this process entails has never slowed Stephanie down in her mission to help these survivors while keeping the services free of charge.
The individuals Restorative Ink helps are referred to them through shelters and police stations in the surrounding area. Stephanie assesses their story, the depth of their tattoos and how long the process will take for the tattoo(s) to fully be removed. The process can take as many as 12 appointments. Tattoo removal can cost thousands of dollars and the survivors often don’t have the funds to help with their healing process.
This work is important because domestic abuse and human trafficking are topics that are not talked about. If Stephanie and Adam were not talking about these problems in the Coulee region, people may not even realize that these situations are happening right in their hometown. “It is such a heavy subject and people think that – especially small town La Crosse and Onalaska – it doesn’t happen here, but in reality, it does,” Stephanie shared.
Not only do they help with domestic abuse and human trafficking, but she has dove head first into helping with various other needs in the community such as hunger, litter clean up, and even helping other non-profits find funding to succeed. Stephanie truly believes in making the La Crosse and Onalaska communities better.
Where Did We Surprise Stephanie Andresen?
Joe Moua, Market President, and Kim Trainor, Senior Relationship Manager, were ready to surprise Stephanie at work thanks to her nominator, husband, and co-owner Adam Stevens. Adam was able to act like it was a normal day at work and guide Stephanie to the waiting room.
Stephanie was greeted by Joe, Kim, and our camera crew, and when she saw these new faces, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Joe was able to explain why we are rewarding Stephanie, “At Home Federal we believe in giving today to help grow tomorrow, and you are doing that here with your Restorative Ink program. As a thank you, we wanted to reward you with $1,000 in cash as part of our Seed Money campaign.”
We were even able to surprise her on a day where she had worked on a Restorative Ink client whose appointment would have cost upwards of $400 which shows that this Seed Money could possibly help that individual and the program.
Once she was able to process that she had just received a thousand dollars in cash that could go towards helping these survivors, she was truly grateful.
“Thank you, this will definitely be put towards our Restorative Ink program. It’s so great – I can’t express what this means to us to keep continuing to help people in need,” Stephanie responded.
Why Is Giving Back to the Community So Important?
Giving back to the community has never been a question of importance for Stephanie. It has been a way of life. She believes in the power of giving back in any way that you can. There are so many things that people can do to help make others’ lives a little easier that don’t even involve monetary donations. “We can all make each other’s lives a little bit easier by sharing our gifts,” Stephanie adds.
The value of giving back has been instilled in Stephanie from a young age and she has fond memories of bringing awareness to the causes that matter to her. She recalls, “At six years old I remember sneaking out of the house to do an Alzheimer’s walk.” Stephanie truly believes even the most simplistic ways of giving back and giving support will make a large impact down the line and inspire others to pay-it-forward.
According to Stephanie, “By just raising awareness of the problems surrounding not only domestic abuse and human trafficking but many other problems in the world, so many problems can be solved. Spreading awareness can be a contagious act, much like paying it forward when someone has done something nice for you. Something as simple as making a meal for a friend in need can make a huge impact down the line and inspire others to continue that action and pay it forward.”
How Can You Help Restorative Ink?
The tattoo removal services provided by Restorative Ink are very important to the survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. This is a topic that is often overlooked which is why supporting Restorative Ink helps bring the much-needed awareness to these local and national problems. “These services are so important because it’s a topic that is often-times not talked about,” Adam outlines.
Adam Stevens explains that it’s very easy to help their organization. “It can be anything from raising awareness in your community or making a small donation. Every little bit of money that we can bring in to help out is greatly needed and appreciated.”
The best way to see the different ways to help Restorative Ink involves visiting their website. The ‘How To Help’ section outlines how to donate and other ways to support the Restorative Ink program.
Seed Money was founded to help us recognize the individuals that are going above and beyond in their communities. Stephanie is contributing time, her skills, and her voice to spread awareness of a truly concerning problem.
We documented every step of surprising Stephanie with the $1,000 in Seed Money and posted it to our Youtube channel. You can also see videos of other Seed Money recipients and what they are doing in their communities.
“Today we recognized a very special individual for the work she is doing with Restorative Ink,” Joe reflects. “I look forward to hearing more success stories from the work she is doing in the community.”
Seed Money is part of Home Federal’s Community Roots Initiative where the mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow Tomorrow” and we are glad we could help reward Stephanie for all the good she has done in the La Crosse/Onalaska community.
We thank people like Stephanie for all she does to help others. See our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.