Wetterling to speak in Worthington May 2

WORTHINGTON -- Patty Wetterling, co-founder of Team H.O.P.E., a national support group for families of missing children, and the mother of Jacob Wetterling, will be the featured speaker during "Living Your Best Life," a May 2 program coordinated ...


WORTHINGTON - Patty Wetterling, co-founder of Team H.O.P.E., a national support group for families of missing children, and the mother of Jacob Wetterling, will be the featured speaker during “Living Your Best Life,” a May 2 program coordinated by ISD 518 Community Education and A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota-Nobles County.

Wetterling and her husband, Jerry, never gave up hope in the search for their son, who was abducted Oct. 22, 1989, near his family’s St. Joseph home. His remains were found nearly 27 years later when, in 2016, a man confessed to Jacob’s abduction and murder, and led searchers to the area where the boy was buried.

Patty Wetterling is a passionate child advocate, speaking on issues of child abduction and sexual exploitation of children. She was integral in the passage of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children Sex Offender Registration Act in Minnesota, and instrumental in establishing the statewide AMBER plan.

Wetterling will present “Don’t Give Up Your Dreams” at 7 p.m., at American Reformed Church, 1720 N. Burlington Ave., to cap off the event.

Living Your Best Life is the new name for what was once Spring Fling for Seniors. The reformatted event is geared toward men and women of any age, said Community Education Director Anne Foley.


The event begins at 3 p.m., though people are welcome to come when they can, Foley assured.

“This has always been a really fun day,” she said. “We have great businesses and agencies in the area that participate by having a booth. They bring great door prizes and information about who they are and what they do.”

Registration and booth visits will continue to 3:45, followed by booths drawing for door prize winners.

Thirty-minute breakout sessions begin at 4:15 p.m., with two sessions preceding and two sessions following a light meal - a taco and nacho bar prepared by Shalynn Anderson of The Beach House. Serving will be from 5:15 to 6 p.m.

Attendees can choose from six different breakout sessions during the event. Topics include becoming a better informed shopper by Claire Jucht of Hy-Vee; essential oils and healthy living by Amanda Walljasper-Tate of The Daily Apple; a make-and-take 5-ingredient healthy salsa with Anderson; a presentation on Quinceanera celebrations by the Nobles County Integration Collaborative; a program on scams led by the Worthington Police Department and a demonstration of low-impact Tai Chi by Kathleen Kusz.

The final breakout session will lead up to 7 p.m. and Wetterling’s talk.

“We, as a committee, have talked about bringing Patty for a number of years,” Foley said. “She’s one of those people that has turned a very unfortunate situation into a positive, and I think that’s very remarkable.

“Her story has changed our life somehow, whether we were youngsters at home ... or we were young parents at the time,” she added. “It changed childhood at that point.”


The Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation is co-sponsoring Wetterling's presentation. This will be her first speaking engagement in Worthington.

Discounted tickets for Living Your Best Life are available in advance by calling District 518 Community Education at 376-6105 or by registering online at Tickets will also be sold at the door at a slightly higher price.

“I guarantee you’ll learn something and have fun,” Foley said of the event.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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