Bringing beauty to A Place For You

(l-r) Lori Herring, Jerry Perrotti, Diana Ristamaki and Tami Sibben of Central Minnesota Jobs and Training helped build and install new planters at A Place For You in Pine City.

Pine City’s homeless shelter now has new planters and picnic tables thanks to the efforts of young adults working through Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS).

A Place For You Executive Director Vicki VanderVegt said the transitional shelter for individual adults will be a better place due to the improvements – and the process for making them happen.

“I think for us this means a couple of things,” VanderVegt said. “One is partnership with other nonprofits, and with both youth and adults who are willing to give back to their community. And for the shelter specifically it is a beautifying piece for us.”

CMJTS serves young and emerging adults by providing employment and training services in order to increase their employability, earning level and connect them with careers.

“We’re a nonprofit agency that does training for youth ... who are working on their high school diploma or GED and they’re learning the construction trade at the same time,” said CMJTS Youth/Universal Team Manager Diana Ristamaki. “We all kind of have a different part of it.”

Tami Sibben helped the youth make the connection with A Place for You.

“Our group of young people brainstormed different community projects that they were interested in completing,” Sibben said. “They brainstormed different community entities. We made our contacts and A Place For You was interested in partnering.”

Jerry Perrotti helped put together the project on the nuts-and-bolts level, and helped four young adults carry it out.

“We built the planters out of cedar,” Perrotti explained. “The team picked out a certain planter they thought would look nice. We came up with a plan and built them over the course of three days. And we also picked out some picnic tables ... and took some time building those, each learning a variety of different skills, whether that is measuring or coming up with angles for proper cuts.”

“We have youth build every year, so the projects we do kind of vary throughout the year,” Ristamaki  said. “It just depends kind of on what the need is for the community at the time. Our next project is going to be in Mora. We’re looking at the low-income senior housing over there.”

VanderVegt said that a simple project like this make a profound impact on residents at A Place For You.

“It adds a little bit of normal to what is not a normal living situation,” VanderVegt said. “It adds beauty, and, I think, peace and comfort for folks. Hopefully we’ll give them a little something to do too, with the folks who have green thumbs ... because the residents here take care of everything.”

A Place for You is located at 220 3rd Ave SE in Pine City. For more information call 320-438-7070 or visit

Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services can be reached at 1-800-284-7425. To learn more, visit

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