About Us

About Empowering Kids Perham

Empowering Kids Perham began with a dream from our founder to have more services available locally for children with autism and other special needs. She along with many families in the community have a connection to someone with autism or social challenges (such as ADHD), and it is her vision to help them get what they need so they can live a healthy, happy, and successful life. Our team has the knowledge of research based practices and a passion to empower children and their families to accomplish whatever goal they may have. We look forward to strengthening the children in their today, and providing them with the tools for their tomorrows.

We started this organization as a team mission. Many of our founding members have personal experiences that brought them together to discuss their concerns and wishes for children with autism. After many conversations, we joined together with one purpose – to take our experiences, research, and education and create a special place for children and their families to find answers.

Empowering Kids Perham is a special learning atmosphere with services, resources, and care that they need to be self-sufficient and successful in every stage of life.

Our team is supported by a large network of community dreamers. Our Board of Directors brings together many caring individuals that makes Empowering Kids Perham a very special place for children with autism and their families.


To empower children, families, and the community by providing support and resources to those with autism or social challenges. 


To provide a life of hope. happiness, dignity, and purpose. 


our founders

Kim & Kenny Nelson

Kim’s personal experience with autism began within her own family. She brings a special vision for creating the best organization to support children and their families.

In a touching letter, she shares the experience that her family went through when they discovered her grandson, Levi, was diagnosed with autism. Wanting more answers, Kim researched the disability to see what she could do to help her grandson. She quickly found that there weren’t any services available locally that could help their family. Read the letter to see how she helped bring autism services to Perham. 

our team

Tiffany Tobkin, Director of Programming

Tiffany finds passion in teaching people who have social needs and finding ways of generalizing that learning into functional skills. She also strives to educate and support the public to create an Autism-friendly community.

Chelsey Hendrickx, Program Coordinator

Chelsey is an early childhood education instructor with a passion for providing young students with the resources and tools to help them be successful throughout their day. 

Christi Stoll, Office Manager

Christi has a passion for providing families with the tools they need to raise happy and healthy children. She believes that every child has a gift or talent that can lead to success and happiness into adulthood.

Heidi Solberg, Program Specialist

Heidi is a special education instructor for the Perham-Dent School District. She brings her teaching talents and experience to support and guide students in their learning.

Board of Directors

Empowering Kids Perham is governed by a volunteer board of directors. The board is made up of a diverse group of individuals who share a common interest: ensuring that the children in our community have all the tools and support necessary to be successful and happy throughout their lives! We appreciate the commitment that the members of our board have made to Empowering Kids Perham.

Fred Sailer, Chairperson
Cori Brown, Vice Chairperson
Tami Kalina, Treasurer

Ali Braukmann, Director
Corinna Douglas, Director

Emily Dreyer, Director
Jen Hendrickson, Director
Kim Nelson, Director


Kristen Paurus, Director
Liz Swanson, Director

Lacey Thiel, Director 
Jerry Hanson, Director