Cassia in the News

COVID-19 Webinar Series

Five Different Ways You Can Safeguard Yourself and Your Family…and Have Some Fun

Live online Zoom webinars. Attend any or all sessions.

Cassia presents a FREE 5-part webinar series on various topics related to the pandemic. Whether it’s the latest medical information, new and improved scams awareness, caregiver self-care, opportunities for high quality online social and intellectual engagement, or inspiration on how to stay joyfully alive and kickin’, you will come away from this series with new tools for today and tomorrow.

Upcoming Sessions

Session Five
Staying Alive & Kickin
Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 6 to 7 PM CST

Michael Matthew Ferrell

A look back at the last year with Alive & Kickin, a Minneapolis-based Senior Services Arts Organization. Michael Matthew Ferrell & Jason James Hansen will share how their Senior Rock & Roll performing group is transforming the challenges of COVID into new opportunities and fighting senior isolation. They will discuss Alive & Kickin’s journey from shutdown to mastering the world of technology while continuing to produce energetic and captivating performances.

Alive & Kickin’s mission is to dig deep within our aging population and, with undaunted courage, re-write the rules for living a full life with the “pride of age” leading the way.

Jason James Hansen

They Will Rock You!!

Presented by Michael Matthew Ferrell, Executive/Artistic Director and Founder, Alive & Kickin’ & Jason James Hansen, Musical/Associate Director and Arranger, Alive & Kickin’

Michael Matthew Ferrell founded A&K after encountering many older adults who felt they had much to contribute to society but had been pushed to the periphery because of their age and related stereotypes. Ferrell was named a recipient of AARP’s 50 Over 50 Disruptor Award, and won WCCO’s Making a Difference Award for his work with A&K.

Jason James Hansen co-leads rehearsals with Ferrell, arranges the music, directs musicians, and accompanies all rehearsals and performances. Hansen is known for his work in Twin Cities theatre, has helped direct and create over 15 world premiers, and was awarded a 2018 MN Theater Award for Best Performative Direction.

From Alive & Kickin’ MN: In lieu of a Gala performance for you this year, due to the pandemic, we would like to share something we put together that shows what can be accomplished with a little bit of resilience and courage. We are, after all, still Alive & Kickin!

Completed Sessions

Session One
COVID-19: Learn the Facts from a Medical Expert
Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 6 to 7 PM CST

Simon Mittal in red shirt blue blazer and blue jeans, leaning against a fence
Dr. V. Simon Mittal

Due to technical difficulties, there is not a video of this presentation available.

Dr. Simon Mittal discussed the most current information about the COVID-19 virus and infection, the emerging virus variants, the status of vaccinations including the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and ways you can protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.

Presented by Dr. V. Simon Mittal, MD, MMM

Dr. V. Simon Mittal is a board-certified internist who graduated from the University of Texas in Houston and did his residency in Denver, Colorado. For six years he served as an active-duty military physician and subsequently served as chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Based on his personal experience guiding his father through Parkinson’s Disease, and on his passion for older adults, Dr. Mittal started an independent geriatric practice and has been a leader in educating the community, residents and families about the important features of COVID, how to decrease risk, and the importance of vaccination.


Session Two
SCAMS: How to Protect Yourself from Increased Scamming during the Pandemic
Thursday, March 18, 2021, 2 to 3 PM CST

Jay Haapala

As the pandemic progresses and the vaccine offers promise for better days, scammers are doing what they always do―using the headlines to steal money and personal information from anyone they can victimize. Some new scams focus on the vaccine and pandemic, while others that seem like the “oldest tricks in the book” have new power in our ongoing crisis. The steps for us to guard against financial loss for ourselves and loved ones remain the same, but may require new vigilance while we face the pandemic’s challenges.

Presented by Jay Haapala, Associate State Director of Community Engagement, AARP Minnesota

Jay Haapala is Associate State Director of Community Engagement with AARP Minnesota and leads the Fraud Watch Network program which serves to educate consumers about fraud, scams and identity theft. He and AARP Fraud Fighter volunteers have met with hundreds community groups across the state, law enforcement officials and fraud investigators, learning how people are being targeted right here and now in Minnesota. He has worked and served in the Minnesota nonprofit sector for 20 years building volunteer programs, and now is doing the same to build a network of Fraud Fighters with AARP.

You can view the presentation below.

Session Three
Caregiver Mental Health and Wellbeing During COVID-19
Thursday, March 25, 2021, 6 to 7 PM CST

Carol Ashwood

This presentation explored the impact of COVID-19 on general wellbeing and on caregiver mental health based on recent research. The second part of this presentation focused on supporting caregiver self-care and wellbeing. There was time for questions and answers and for participants to share what has helped them cope during the pandemic.

Presented by Carol Ashwood, MSW, LICSW

Carol Ashwood, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker at Open Circle Adult Day and Support Services. She is certified as a Caregiver Consultant through the Minnesota Board on Aging and is a Certified Independent Trainer for Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care. Carol is also an adjunct faculty member in the School of Social Work at the University of St. Thomas.


Session Four
Senior Planet: Resources for Engagement during COVID-19
Thursday, April 1, 2021, 6 to 7 PM CST

Breanna Clark

Now operating virtually due to COVID-19, Senior Planet offers a wide variety of free classes, programs and events, via Zoom, with a firm commitment to older adults and family engagement. Join this webinar to learn how to participate in a Senior Planet virtual program and see the array of discussion groups, fitness classes and special events designed to help you stay engaged from the comfort of your living room. Bre will walk you through the Senior Planet website and the Covid-19 resources compiled for older adult audiences when the pandemic hit. Over the past 15 years, Senior Planet has grown from one small site in Brooklyn, NY, into a national program with global influence. Most importantly, they’ve been able to impact the lives of tens of thousands of older adults. 

Presented by Breana “Bre” Clark, Associate Director of Program Operations for Older Adults Technology Services and Senior Planet

Bre Clark is the Associate Director of Program Operations for Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) and Senior Planet. She first joined OATS as a technology trainer in 2018 before assuming her current role in 2020. 

Before OATS, Bre developed trainings for staff managing federal housing for seniors, and she also supported Jewish organizations serving older adults through programming. Bre holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Social Work and, as a passionate advocate, she enjoys the integration of research, policy, and programming as it applies to redefining the way we age. She thrives on community involvement and is very invested in being an older person in training. She resides in Nashville, TN, with her family.