To provide respite to families in the Twin Cities and to bring awareness about children with disabilities.
Our Vision: (big!)
To provide opportunities for students and caring individuals and connect them with precious families in need of respite care.
Our volunteers offer an agenda-less presence to children with disabilities. To caregivers, our volunteers make it possible to have reliable and regularly scheduled time for a break so that you may better face the unending family demands of having a child with a disability. GRACE does not charge for it’s volunteers’ time, instead relying solely upon individual, civic, and corporate donations, memorials, grants, and fundraising events to fund its operation.
Kari Bednarczyk– Founder and Executive Director
Kari has always had a heart for children. Her service of special needs children and their families started over 20 years ago as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist with Autistic children in their home. Relationships formed in the therapy room evolved into taking care of the children while the parents had a well deserved night out. Decades later, that love has evolved into Grace Inc.
Kari is an Occupational Therapist (OTR) and Adjunct teacher at Anoka Technical College in the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) program. Kari lives in Andover with her husband, Nick and their two sons.
Andrea Haglund– Board Member
My husband and I were very excited about the birth of our twins but when they arrived early we made a hard decision for me to quit work and become a full time stay-at-home mom. We would not understand why God led us in this direction until our daughter began missing important developmental milestones and was later diagnosed with a genetic condition called Williams Syndrome. I was busy with twins, therapy appointments, at home exercises, medical specialist appointments, and the addition of a second son in those first years. Life was, and is, wonderful for us but it is a different kind of busy and carries a unique emotional toll when raising a child with a disability. I have gained much needed support through local and international groups for parents of children with disabilities. I am a Regional Chairperson for the Williams Syndrome association, serve as a co-chair for our school districts Special Education Advisory Committee and am involved in other special needs ministries. In those roles I have heard countless times how parents are tired, feeling overwhelmed, having trouble finding time with their spouse or their other children, and just plain worn out, and that is why I am so excited to be a part of Grace. Sometimes parents NEED a break, for themselves, for their marriage, for their family and even for their child with the disability. While our family does take needed breaks from each other we also love taking breaks from the daily routines and the general work of life. Every summer the kids and I go on a non-traditional tour. We have done a donut tour, an ice cream tour, a history museum tour and this summer we are going on a “Quirky Sites of Minnesota Tour”. Paul Bunyan here we come! I know the new sites and fun experiences we will experience this summer will give us new energy to pursue the sometimes hard daily things and I am confident the important respite care Grace provides will do the same for the families who need it.
Courtney Wilberg- Board Member
Courtney began her career as a Special Education teacher in California. She then worked in Illinois, South Dakota, and Minnesota teaching computer skills, and then swimming and fitness to adults and children with and without Special Needs. As a mom of three little ones, Courtney knows the demand that parenting takes on a person, and is passionate about helping families with extraordinary care needs to help keep their minds, bodies, and relationships supported. She has a gift for working with people, and helping others, and is excited to be growing our Grace, Inc. community.
You can now support GRACE by donating conveniently online: