Mission & Vision

Enrich. Empower. Embrace.

The Mission of the Valley Friendship Club is to promote and provide safe accessible social opportunities while fostering friendships. To this end, we aim to enhance community connections, empower club participants to strengthen important life skills and create greater social independence.


The Vision of the Valley Friendship Club is to create the opportunity for every person with and without a developmental and/or intellectual disability to build enduring friendships and embrace community connections while enhancing the lives of all individuals involved: members, families and volunteers!!


We are a place to connect with people and the community in an environment that fosters friendships and celebrates individual abilities and talents.  We are about expanding horizons through activities and events that appeal to children, teens and young adults using art,music, community service and much more!  we are NOT a “day program” or a “training service”, but we are an opportunity to have fun, rewarding and new experiences in an environment that embraces innovation, independence, and the freedom to “just be individuals.

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Board of Directors

The people behind our mission

Valley Friendship Club Board/Executive Committee is made up of parents, teachers, therapy professionals and community members who share the vision of a fuller more inclusive life for people with disabilities.

Valley Friendship Club Board

Mark Arps, Owner, Special Products LLC Stillwater, MN. Volunteers as VFC program advisor, with a Master’s Degree in nonprofit admin. Special Products, serves people with disabilities.  Parent to four children, one of whom has a developmental disability.

John Burban, VFC Treasurer. Vice President, R&D Hemostasis LLC and Co-founder of XFINIO LLC Lake Elmo, MN. Volunteers as VFC program advisor and has a nephew with a developmental disability.

Susan Kane, Chair (VFC Co-founder) Office Manager, Lake Elmo, MN. Susan volunteers as VFC  program director, program advisor and facilitator. She is a parent of two children, one of whom has developmental delays.

Tara King, Vice Chair (VFC Co-founder) Stillwater, MN. Tara volunteers as a VFC program advisor and facilitator. She is a veteran and parent of four children, one of whom has down syndrome.

Kristin Klemetsrud, VFC Secretary. Owner, Savories Catering Oak Park Heights, MN. Kristin volunteers as a VFC program advisor and facilitator and is parent to a child with developmental delays.

Jan Kramer, Stillwater School District Early Childhood Education Stillwater, MN. Jan volunteers as a VFC program advisor, facilitator and is parent to five children, one of  whom has down syndrome.

Cari Liemandt, Self-employed Cottage Grove, MN.  Volunteers as VFC program advisor, facilitator and is parent to three children,  two of who were adopted from Guatemala and have special needs.

Beth Markoe, Owner Markoe Consulting Lake Elmo. Beth is a former banking executive with over 30 years’ experience in the industry.  A lifelong resident of the St. Croix Valley and as such brings to the VFC her unique connection with the area.

Aimee Stanton, Licensed Social Worker, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation St. Croix, Bayport, MN. Aimee volunteers as a VFC program advisor and facilitator and is parent of two.


Honorary Board Members

Sara Hayden

Mary Lynn Loegering

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Once upon a time…

Valley Friendship Club (VFC) was the brainchild of a group of Washington County Parents who saw a need for fun social opportunities for their children with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, as well an opportunity to create an inclusive partnership with the community at large.

In 2010, our startup grant application was approved by the CCP Foundation of Stillwater and VFC was officially launched. Within one month of launch, our first event drew 20 attendees solely through word of mouth promotion. In our first year we hosted over 55 events and served over 600 individuals, culminating with a first anniversary party where we celebrated with 100 of VFC members.

In 2012, we were thrilled to be selected to receive a new website through the Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge.

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