Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: A Little Pick-Me-Up Please

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network 

 Coffee is the most coveted morning beverage of humanity. Coffee is so popular, people write about how great it is—a lot. The Huffington Post alone has a full web page dedicated to numerous blog posts about coffee, one of which is titled “19 Things You Didn’t Know About Coffee.” The article shares some interesting information. For example, legend says “coffee was discovered by a goat herder,” “a coffee plant can live up to 200 years,” and “coffee beans can vary in color”—not for the strange “cat” reason shared that no one would spend money on. Anyhow, who knew? Someone must really love coffee to dedicate precious time just to write about the goodness these little beans bring to the world. 

 Coffee can be consumed in many ways; however, most people like traditional coffee—black or with cream and/or sugar. But there are also some coffee concoctions that are unique, yet delicious: 

  •  Thai iced coffee 
  • Steaming mocha cocoa 
  • Turkish coffee 
  • Creamy iced vanilla caramel coffee 
  • Iced espresso marvo 
  • Coffee imperial 

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 These flavors are actually easy to make! You can get the recipes here 

Because there are so many different ways to make coffee, we thought the topic might offer a fun way for you to get to know your NSPN family. We asked them, “How do you like your coffee?”  

· Laurie Jackson, President / Chief Executive Officer: Flavored with a little cinnamon and cream

· Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer: In someone else’s cup. I am so not a coffee drinker.

· Shauna Brooks, Principal Investigator: Medium Roast in a large mug with two packs of Splenda and a 4-count pour of real heavy cream.

· April Carthorn, General Specialist: Not at all.

· Sherry Casey, Operations and Administration Manager: Iced vanilla coffee

· Zach Elmore, Operations Specialist: Black. Regular in the morning, decaf after noon.

· Kim Frierson, Training Specialist: Don’t drink coffee anymore. Made me sick while I was pregnant and I never picked it back up. I do enjoy a good cider or lemonade, depending on the season.

· Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations: I love strong coffee – but not Starbucks strong – with nothing in it.

· Rachel Hurst, Development Associate: I only like the smell of coffee. Coffee is a lie because it smells amazing but tastes horrible. I don’t even like coffee ice cream.

· Hillary Ladig, Communications Coordinator: It depends on my mood. Somedays, I like it black and other days, I like it with a generous portion of milk. I also enjoy a good cappuccino – it’s great for the soul.

·Autumn Sandlin, Marketing & Communications Intern: ICED! If I drink it hot, I have to have lots and lots of sugar and milk or creamer. I want it as far from black as possible.

· Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events: I love coffee! To me, the perfect cup is 10oz of “Golden French Toast” or “Wild Mountain Blueberry” straight from the Keurig with a 3 count pour of “Sweet Cream” creamer. I can drink it all day – everyday. YUM

· Eric Tadatada, Technical Assistance Specialist: I like my coffee with two creams and three sugars.

Learn more about your NSPN family at 

 How do you like your coffee? Feel free to let us know by commenting below. 

Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Did Someone Say Pie?


January 23 is National Pie Day – not to be confused with Pi Day which is in March. This day has nothing to do with a continuous number that goes into infinity and everything to do with a continuous deliciousness that goes into infinity!

As a way to celebrate this day and to help you get to know your NSPN family, we’ve asked NSPN staff members the following question:

“What is your favorite pie (and why – if there is a specific reason you’d like to share)?”

  • Laurie Jackson, President / CEO: Cherry
  • Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer: My grandmother’s chocolate pie – There isn’t one thing about it that was good for me except that it always made me feel better. Love is always the most important ingredient.
  • Shauna Brooks, Principal Investigator: Hot apple pie with streusel crumble and vanilla ice cream
  • Katie Carter, Director of Research, Education & Public Policy: I’m really an equal opportunist when it comes to pie, though I tend to lean more toward fruit and chocolate-nut pies instead of creamy or meringue pies.
  • April Carthorn, General Specialist: It was hard work as a child cracking bags and bags of pecans. Our hands would sometimes bleed but there was no stopping us because we knew that the sweet, gooey pecan pie would soon sooth any bleeding hands and messes to clean up; it would make the tummy very happy.
  • Sherry Casey, Operations & Administrative Manager: Pecan or buttermilk
  • Lindsey Collier, Human Trafficking Specialist: Cherry pie is my favorite!  My grandmother always made it and it is the first pie she taught me how to bake. When I eat cherry pie, I always think of her.
  • Zach Elmore, Operations Specialist: Pumpkin pie – It reminds me of Thanksgiving and family.
  • Kim Frierson, Training Specialist: Apple (double crust if that’s an option) or the Chess pie from Homemade Pie & Ice Cream Kitchen.
  • Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations: Either coconut custard (my mother used to fix it) or Dutch Apple with caramel icing (just because I like it).
  • Rachel Hurst, Development Associate: My favorite pie is none. Why would you have pie when you can have cake?
  • Hillary Ladig, Communications Coordinator: Fudge pie from The Fresh Market
  • Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing & Events: My favorite pie is sweet potato pie, but not just any sweet potato pie! It MUST be from Mothers in New Orleans, LA. Mothers has the best sweet potato pie in the world. If I can’t get sweet potato pie from Mothers, I tend to lean towards custard and meringue pies, but not lemon or key lime – I’m allergic to lemons, limes, kiwis, oranges, and pineapple.
  • Eric Tadatada, Technical Assistance Specialist: Apple pie

Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know your favorite pie!

Welcome to the NSPN Kitchen – Summer Edition

It’s summertime and folks are getting ready for some summer treats! Get ready to open wide for the NPSN Kitchen Cookbook! The staff at NSPN put together a yummy set of summertime beverages, snacks, starters, entrees, sides, and desserts just for you!  We hope you have fun recreating these tasty treats, but most of all, we hope you enjoy EATING them! Happy Cooking!

Access the NSPN Kitchen Cookbook here: 

NSPN Kitchen Cookbook

NSPN Kitchen Cookbook

Preparing for Summer: Youth-Friendly Activities

By: Danielle White, Executive Administrative Assistant, National Safe Place Network

As the school year draws to a close, it’s time to find opportunities for keeping youth engaged during the summer months. As we all know, relaxation can be fun, but it’s only a matter of time before boredom kicks in. Chase away the mid-summer boredom blues with some of the activities listed below and be sure to let us know how much fun you have!

Make your own ice cream: Beat the heat with homemade ice cream—no fancy machines required! Find out how here:

Create a variety of flavors in under 30 minutes and then add toppings for homemade sundaes. If that sounds like too much exertion in the heat of summer, try popsicles instead (

Explore local activities: Find community partners to sponsor zoo or museum trips or get tickets to the local fair. Check out your community’s free festivals and other summer activities (but be sure to provide adequate supervision)!

Grill out: Who doesn’t love a cookout?! The possibilities are endless—burgers, hot dogs, brats, grilled veggies, and more! Don’t forget the ice cream and s’mores for dessert! Bonus points if you have a campfire and live music.

Competitions: Bring out the competitive side of your young people. Field days, mini Olympics, basketball/volleyball/badminton games, Top Chef style competitions, and more will keep the youth in your program active and engaged. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone!

Arts & crafts: Tie-dye, chalk, paper mache, balloon animals, painting, drawing, and so much more! There are crafts for every interest and skill level. Give your group a theme or just let them do their own thing. More ideas here:

Fireworks: Fireworks are an iconic summer activity. Grab some discounted fireworks for the Fourth of July and go to town! Just be sure to discuss firework safety before the fun begins (

Game night: Game night is fun for everyone. Board games, card games, video games, and more make for an easy and entertaining night! Snacks are a must.

Learning is fun: Help fight summer brain drain by engaging in educational activities. There are plenty of science experiments that can be done with household objects ( Games like Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit, and others will teach new information in a fun environment. If your community has a zoo or other animal-related activities, those can be great learning events. Be creative and remember that learning is fun!

Book club: Keep young minds active during the summer months with a book club. Not everyone wants to spend their time off reading, so keep it fun with movie tie-ins like the Divergent or Hunger Games series or The Fault in Our Stars. There are plenty of movie adaptations being made all the time, so take advantage of them and watch the movies as part of the discussion.

Movie night: Get tickets to a movie theater or a drive in. If those aren’t an option, host your own! Bonus points for using a projector and having an outdoor movie night. Don’t forget the snacks!

Cook together: Choose a theme for the week and learn how to make different parts of the meal each night. At the end of the week, have a feast! For Mexican week, each night could be homemade tortillas, tacos or taco salad, enchiladas, nachos, homemade salsa and guacamole, and dessert. Make each part of the meal on a different night and watch it come together!

Garden: Plant flowers and/or vegetables. Let youth have a say in what is planted and encourage them to tend to the garden regularly. If you grow vegetables, be sure to use them in the kitchen.

Go swimming: Find a local pool to donate swim time and lifeguards for a pool party. Be sure to bring snacks, drinks, sunscreen, and good music. Water parks with diving boards, slides, and wave pools kick the party up a notch! This is also a good time to go over basic water safety (

Whatever you do to beat the heat, have fun, stay safe, and let us know how it turns out! We love to hear about all the fun that NSPN agencies have.

Time for a Brain Break!

It’s Tuesday and it’s been a while since we have shared a Brain Break with you. We get it… Brain Breaks can be “Downright Distracting”! BUT who doesn’t need one every now and again? You can do a number of things while taking a Brain Break!  Brain Breaks can be energizing, social, productive, they can even benefit your career!

“Take Five” and check out these 51 things to do when you need a break at work.

Remember when you were a kid and you used to stare at optical illusions?  Ok, well maybe you still do… we won’t judge because quite frankly, we do too!  Here are some fun illusions that might help relieve some stressors of your day.  Go ahead, take a brain break! You deserve it.

Ain’t got time for that? (Because of March Madness of course!)  Check out some fun March Madness party ideas!—celebration-recipes/march-madness-party-ideas-with-game

We hope you enjoyed this Brain Break today! Don’t forget to pop back by NSPNsights and check out some useful information we actually write about and post.  We have some exciting topics coming up and even some awesome guest bloggers! 

It’s time for a Brain Break!

On NSPNsights, we are excited to provide you with a “Brain Break” from time to time. Brain Breaks can be fun tips, trivia questions, games, recipes, or the like. Today, we have a recipe from our new Director of Research, Education and Public Policy – Katie Carter. We look forward to “serving” you lots more Brain Breaks!

NSPN Brain Break


Any Fruit, Easy Summer Cake – This Brain Break was brought to you by: Katie Carter, National Safe Place Network – I love cooking and reading about cooking. I gobble up food blogs and new recipes as a hobby. I came across the recipe (from Big Girl Small Kitchen at after a weekend of overly enthusiastic fruit-shopping and a lot of cherries to consume. The wonderful thing about this recipe is you can make it using just about any fruit and nut combinations. Enjoy!