Contact us Monday through Friday 8:00am CST to 4:30pm CST at 715-327-4402

State Senator Visits Prairieview

State Senator Sheila Harsdorf paid a visit to Northwest Passage last week for a tour given by current Prairieview client Jade, age 16. Jade walked her through the building explaining what a day in the life of a kid at Northwest Passage looks like, while Program Director, Ellen Race, and Executive Director, Mark Elliott tagged along.

Jade explained what had happened in her life to bring her to Northwest Passage and then described the many different therapies and activities that happen within the walls of her program and the assessment program. She enjoyed her time with the senator.

“While meeting with State Senator Harsdorf I found I could talk with her easily,” Jade said of their interactions. “She seemed to show a lot of compassion for my future and what Northwest Passage is doing for teens with mental health disorders. Senator Harsdorf also has a way of making others feel important and comfortable. I felt I could tell her somewhat personal things about my life because she listens to people and enjoys what they have to say. I appreciated having the chance to meet her. She showed interest in my future to pursue my dreams. I informed her of the many opportunities Northwest Passage has to offer and how it has helped shape my character.”

“It was so great to have Senator Harsdorf visit our program,” Race said. “It’s such a terrific opportunity to share the important work being done here at Northwest Passage with children and adolescents. Senator Harsdorf really connected to our kids and was invested in hearing their stories.”

This visit meant a lot. Senator Harsdorf is a role model to the young ladies of Northwest Passage Prairieview, showing them what strong women can do. It is also a reminder that representatives care about their community and what is happening in their regions.

The Cedar Classroom in Action


Here are the latest news bulletins out of the Cedar classroom.

  • Cedar welcome’s a new pet! Meet Rambo, a 5-month-old bearded dragon.
  • Isaiah wins “room of the week” and as a rewards spend some special time with Rambo & staff; look at that smile!
  • Cedar hits the trails, learns about local plant life, taps maple syrup, and even gets a local history lesson! They marvel at the local legend, the boat wrapped around the telephone pole, a result of the 2001 Siren tornado.
  • Cedar gets a sweet tooth and enjoys tasty treats from Frederic Bakery this morning.


WAB Visits the Gallery


Five arts officials from Madison visited Northwest Passage’s In a New Light Gallery on the last day of January as part of their travels through northwest Wisconsin.

NWP Executive Director Mark Elliott and Development Director Chanda Elliott had the opportunity to speak with George Tzougros, executive director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, a division of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Together with Tzougros, WAB Assistant Director Karen Goeschko, and Folk Arts Program Coordinator Kaitlyn Berle toured the gallery which showcases the photography and artwork of resident youth.

“We spoke about the power of art and nature that is an integral component of our mental health treatment,” said Mark Elliot. “The gallery is a space for youth to celebrate themselves and the natural world around them through photography. The images they capture are amazing pieces of art.”

Arts Wisconsin Executive Director Anne Katz was enthusiastic.“It was quite a thrill to finally see the In A New Light Gallery and the outstanding work by those talented young artists after hearing so much about it over the years. What a wonderful example of creative expression and engagement!”

Arts Wisconsin is an independent non-profit organization that serves as the voice for the arts in Wisconsin.

The photography is on public display and is used for retail products ranging from the 2017 calendar to coffee table books, framed prints and greeting cards. In a New Light Gallery is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., located one mile south of Webster on St. Rd 35.

Northwest Passage is dedicated to restoring hope through innovative mental health services for children and families.

Special thanks to Harriet Rice for this opporutnity.

Winter Fun


Over the weekend we had the opportunity to go off grounds with the Oak kiddos to do some snowshoeing and ice fishing.  All of the residents enjoyed themselves and learned the character lesson of the day which was “Seek Adventure Bravely.”  Many had never been fishing, or to a lake in the woods let alone ice-fishing.  Many also experienced snowshoeing and discovering game trails while hiking for the first time.  Those who were more experienced helped those who weren’t and all shared in lots of laughs and sunny winter fun. 


Soar to new heights


We know how busy you are and we’re honored you took a moment to read this story so we’ll get right to the point. Please take seven minutes out of your day to watch this video.

We invite you to take an emotional journey with the ladies of Prairieview. Filmmaker Meredith Nelson takes us inside the minds of these girls so that you, the viewer, can confront and reflect upon the issues our girls struggle with. They’ve articulated their journey beautifully through poetry and prose and they express their insight into how photography gives them a chance to freely explore outwardly so they don’t feel trapped inwardly, in a controlled, safe environment, and how liberating/novel that is for them; they can express themselves and release certain feelings in ways they couldn’t before. They get first-hand experiences with intangible and tangible results.

Take a moment to honor these experiences through this video.

Meet the Stars of the Show


“Zana is brilliantly articulate; Brooklyn is endearing and honest; Becca is our heroine; Zianni and Lauryn offer additional insights about the world and their experiences exploring it in a different way, finding extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary..” 

Meredith Nelson


State Representitives visit Passage

From left to right: State Senator Sheila Harsdorf, Representative Adam Jarchow, Northwest Passage Executive Director Mark Elliott, and Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett


Northwest Passage is always working to expand the visibility of our kids’ talents and worth through our In a New Light Gallery. Their work has been displayed at exhibits, both nationally and locally, and have been seen by over a million people! But there are still people who haven’t seen their work. That is why Northwest Passage hosted local tourism advocates at our gallery to meet with State Officials to discuss tourism in Burnett County and introduce them to the beauty of our area through our nature photography and the spirit of our kids. “We were honored to have the Senator, State Representative, and the Secretary at our Gallery. To be able to walk them through our space and introduce them to our kids was really special,” says Executive Director Mark Elliott.

Opportunities like these, where local community members come together with state level officials don’t happen every day. We’re thrilled to have had the time and space to foster a moment of awe for our visitors at the In a New Light Gallery and to collaborate on enriching our community. But we weren’t the only ones to enjoy it. Check out what our guests had to say below!

It was a great opportunity for NWP to share all the amazing work our kids our doing. Most of the youth that come into our program never get to celebrate anything positive in their lives. The Gallery gives them an opportunity to share their photography and stories not only with their family members, but also the community. To have representatives from the State of Wisconsin come in and see that the kids are making progress on their path to hope and healing was just incredible.

Chanda Elliott

Development Director, Northwest Passage

Tremendous visit, we gained a lot of information. We hope that State Senator Sheila Harsdorf will come back in the fall. The Burnett County Coalition would host a fall dinner meeting and a large informational meeting at which the Senator could present to the county business leaders.

Larry Main

Owner and Operator, The Main Store

It was great to  have Sec. Klett visit Burnett County and share her tourism spirit! Sen. Harsdorf and Rep. Jarchow demonstrated their support for economic development by getting out and learning about the great things happening in Burnett County.

Mike Kornmann

Community Development Agent, UW Extension - Burnett County

The meeting was great.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to discuss our local tourism environment and needs with Secretary Klett, Senator Harsdorf, and Representative Jarchow.

Their keen interest and open willingness to work with us to enhance our Burnett County tourism efforts was very apparent as they offered staff assistance, e.g. Burnett County Farmers’ Market ‘farm to table’ grant review, and proven ideas, e.g. ‘county wide’ Restaurant Week, to bolster our local economy.  With return on investment being an 8:1 ratio, focus on growth in tourism must be seen and remain as a key area for our county’s continued success, which they are in full support.

Chris Moeller

Executive Director, Siren Chamber of Commerce


Gallery Assistant Needed!


at Northwest Passage

Help us connect our kids with the world at large

Why we need you:
As a Gallery Assistant, you can help to ensure our customers receive the best possible service and enjoy our kids’ work and what it has to offer. Join the gang and help to get the word out about our kids and their art!

What skills do you need?
We are looking for passionate volunteers who are enthusiastic about the work of Northwest Passage. You will have good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to get along with people and work as part of a team. You will need basic retail checkout skills and clerical skills would be a bonus!

What will you be doing?
– Talking to customers and making them feel welcome at the Gallery.
– Operating the till and dealing with various types of payment using our Square-Up payment system.
– Answering customer questions and take custom orders.
– Working on weekends! Hours are 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays.

What support will we give you?
We will provide all the training you need to feel confident in the role. The Gallery coordinator to give advice and assist you, as well as other experienced team members as you get started. On the weekends you would be alone, but help is just a phone call away!

What benefits do you get?
– The satisfaction of knowing you are making a vital difference to the life transforming work of Northwest Passage.
– Learning new skills and gaining retail experience.
– The enjoyment of meeting new people!
– Still interested? Watch some of our videos below to see the work you’ll be supporting!

Where will you be based?
You’ll be in Webster, Wisconsin at Northwest Passage’s InaNewLight Gallery.

How do you apply?
Email us today at:

Watch some videos about our work!

Riverside heads to Feed my Starving Children


This month some residents of Northwest Passage Riverside made a real and tangible difference in the lives of children around the world. They did so by donating their time and money to the Coon Rapids-based charity “Feed My Starving Children.”

Students had been studying about South America and Africa in geography class. In addition to learning about the interesting physical features and positive cultural aspects of these continents, students were introduced to the harsh reality of severe poverty that sometimes afflicts children and adults in these (and other) parts of the world.

The goal of the lessons on poverty was not to heap guilt or hopelessness upon our residents, but rather to raise awareness and to prepare them to make a real difference by turning a situation of despair into one of hope.

In preparation for the field trip, residents were given the opportunity to donate their hard-earned “school bucks” (our incentive program at the Riverside School). Many of our students responded to the call and donated a total of $62.75 to the cause of feeding hungry people around the world. (The students’ school bucks were traded in for real dollars at a healthy exchange rate).

At the facility we were given a brief orientation to the goals and impact of Feed My Starving Children and the procedures for making the food packs. After this, three staff with 11 residents helped to scoop, weigh, bag, seal, and box meal packs that were going to be shipped to needy areas around the world. The food packs (called “Manna Packs”) consisted of a vitamin mix, dried vegetables, soy filler, and rice. The cost to produce one of these packs, which make 6 – 12 servings, is a mere 22 cents. The low cost is partially due to the fact that much of the labor needed to produce the Manna Packs is completed by volunteers – like our group of boys from NWP Riverside. Our young men worked energetically and cooperatively to produce numerous boxes of potentially life-saving meals. One resident was so focused on his task in the effort that he refused to take a water break. And while our residents were engaged in serious work, they also had a lot of fun volunteering at the facility with other local school groups. They enthusiastically cheered whenever they completed a box and some of them even felt comfortable enough to loudly sing along to some songs being piped through the facility speakers.

At the conclusion of our shift, we were thanked for our hard work and donation. We also were given a sample of the Manna Pack meals that we had been making. The director of the facility then shared the total number of packs produced at the facility during the shift – enough to provide over 35,000 meals. While this effort involved more than our small group of students, I am very proud of our residents’ contributions in time, energy, and resources to make it happen.


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