Mad Hatter Wellness
Equity. Courage. Connection.
Vision: Mad Hatter Wellness envisions a world that provides and promotes equitable health and wellness education for all people.
Mission: Mad Hatter Wellness creates comprehensive sexual health education programming that educates, trains and empowers people with intellectual disabilities and their support systems.
Founded in 2013 by Katie Thune, Mad Hatter Wellness has two primary programs: the Power of Me and Sexuality for All Abilities.
President and Founder, Mad Hatter Wellness LLC
For the past 20 years, Katie has worked with children and adults, both with and without disabilities. Her mission is to help people improve their quality of life. In her 12 years working as a school teacher in Saint Paul Public Schools, her most rewarding work was helping children reach their fullest potential, whether helping a child join Special Olympics or teaching a student mindfulness techniques to use at home.
Katie started using Yoga Calm in her own life because she knew she needed to breathe and be more centered as a teacher. When she began using Yoga Calm in her classroom, she saw fewer behavioral issues and calmer kids. She realized she wanted to spend more of her life helping students in more schools reach this space.
Since 2007 Katie has been implementing yoga-based interventions and mindfulness for people with disabilities. She has her Teaching License in Health Education, and Special Education K – 12, as well as her MA in Education: Developmental Disabilities and worked as a teacher for Saint Paul Public Schools for 12 years. She received her RYT-200 training through Devanadi Yoga in Minneapolis and Yoga Calm Ⓡ training with 1000 Petals in Saint Paul.
Katie founded Mad Hatter Wellness in 2013. In addition to teaching her Power of Me and Sexuality for All Abilities curriculum, Katie has done extensive curriculum writing and relationship work with nonprofits like Highland Friendship Club, Lifeworks, Upstream Arts, and Special Olympics MN. She has developed curricula and courses for these organizations on the topics of healthy relationships and sexuality education, incorporating mindfulness activities and yoga.
Anna wholeheartedly supports Mad Hatter Wellness’ mission to enhance the lives of children and adults with and without disabilities through education in wellness and sexual health. She is so pleased to be working for Katie and Mad Hatter Wellness as an Educator and the Heart of Operations. Anna has been practicing and teaching yoga to adults and children for several years. After spending 7 years teaching English Language Learners in schools in the Apple Valley/Eagan/Rosemount School District, she embarked on a new adventure by taking a leave from classroom teaching to focus her work on yoga and wellness. She is a 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher, as well as a Certified Yoga Calm Youth Instructor. Additionally, she is certified to teach K-12 ESL and Spanish. She has participated in sexual education trainings: Foundations: Core Skills Training for Sex Ed, Trauma Informed Approaches to Sex Education, Cultural Responsiveness in Sex Education and the OWL (Our Whole Lives) curriculum. Anna feels so honored every time she has the opportunity to empower people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to connect to their breath, body and community.
Leah is very grateful to be working at Mad Hatter Wellness. She feels strongly that all people deserve equitable sexuality education. Leah is a licensed k-12 special education teacher with a teaching certificate in sexuality education and has taught sexuality education to students in special education for the past 10 years. She believes that all students need to know how to give consent, understand their rights and have opportunities for healthy relationships. Leah also has an extensive background in wilderness travel, urban expeditions and summer camp. Team building, self advocacy and body positivity are three areas that Leah feels very passionate about and has lots of experience teaching. Leah is honored to be a part of such an amazing organization that offers services, support and skills to people who are often left out of educational opportunities and experiences. Leah uses mindfulness practices in her own life and is excited to share these practices with others. Leah loves reading YA fiction, exploring and cheering for the MN LYNX!
Jacqui Vainik Hartung
Jacqui began her elementary teaching career in 2005 and began practicing yoga in 2009. During challenging moments in the classroom, Jacqui noticed herself pausing to take deep breaths, stretch, or just “be”. Amazed at how incorporating small bits of mindfulness into the school day affected her mood, Jacqui began practicing yoga (at first selfishly) with her students. She has been thrilled to see the fun, strength, and confidence children take on while encouraged to move their bodies in a space that sometimes requires them to be still. And, consequently, the positive impact it has on their academics and social relationships.
Jacqui holds her MN Elementary Education teaching certificate and K-12 Reading License. She has also participated in Yoga Calm and Conscious Discipline training. She is looking forward to being a member of the Mad Hatter Wellness community and connecting with kids through The Power of Me. When she’s not practicing yoga, you can find Jacqui enjoying the lakes, spending time with her family or reading a good book. Her favorite yoga pose is half pigeon!
Dusty Thune teaches Special Education in the St. Paul Public Schools, specifically classes for improving self-advocacy and empowerment. He is an artist, award winning film-maker, writer, costume designer, adventurer, and snow sculptor.
Paige is honored to work at Mad Hatter Wellness. Paige’s goal is to ensure everyone of all ages and abilities receives inclusive and equitable sex education. She strives to increase society's awareness of the fact that people with different abilities are sexual and valuable beings that deserve to feel empowered in their sexuality. She recently earned her B.S. in ‘An Exploration of the Social Construction of Dis/Ability and its Implications’ from the University of Minnesota. Paige has several years of experience working as a direct support professional to people of various physical and cognitive abilities. She was also an active volunteer for a peer sexual health group on the U of M campus to educate and provide supplies and resources to students. She has participated in Effective Consent Education Training and taken a semester-long course titled Sexuality and Gender in Families and Close Relationships. Paige is passionate about accessibility, universal design, and assistive technologies. She is also a strong believer in practicing mindfulness in life and education settings. Paige loves singing, playing instruments, gardening, and board games!
With over 20 years of experience in sexual health education and 14 years of experience raising children, including a teenager with special needs, Kim has a culmination of personal and professional experience that has created a passion, perspective, and expertise that allows her to support parents and individuals
with special needs as they work through the joys and trials of the many facets of sexuality. Kim has her Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in Community Health Education and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. Kim’s work in youth development and sexual health and wellness education has focused on training on topics such as puberty, dating, relationships, consent, intimate partner violence, child abuse, gender identity, and other sexual health topics. Kim is the parent to three beautiful (and very active!) children. Kim’s oldest child has a profound intellectual and developmental disability, which has partially re-shaped her career, her family, and her community. Kim volunteers as
the “Minnesota Angelman Syndrome Foundation Champion” to support other MN families recently diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome and has served as her local elementary school’s PTO treasurer for three years. Kim loves being involved in the community, schools, and youth/family serving organizations. In her spare time, Kim enjoys adventures with her family and friends, especially skiing, dancing, theater and travel.