Smarter Parenting exists to heal and elevate lives using the proven methods of the Teaching-Family Model

Smarter Parenting is funded by the generosity of donations. These donations allow Smarter Parenting to remain free. You can make a difference in the lives to children and families by making a donation so we can continue our work.

We have been privileged to make connections with various agencies and entities also working with children and families. These have included: Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), PM Pediatrics, physicians around the Salt Lake Valley, refugees communities in Salt Lake City, Utah, The Department of Health Disparities in Utah, School districts in Utah as well guest bloggers and writers from around the country. Smarter Parenting has provided online help to people all over the world as well as teaching these skills to families face-to-face.

Eric Bjorklund

Eric Bjorklund

Creator of Smarter Parenting

Eric is the CEO of the Utah Youth Village. Smarter Parenting is a division of Utah Youth Village. Utah Youth Village has worked with children and families for more than 40 years with great success. While helping children and families in the child welfare system, Eric realized there was a way to help more families in need by reaching out to them online. His desire to help families around the world lead to the creation of Smarter Parenting where families are taught through video lessons. Eric continues to work tirelessly to reach out to those in need.

Eric is a father and grandfather who enjoys spending time with his family.

Siope Kinikini

Siope Kinikini

Director of Smarter Parenting

Siope is a licensed mental health counselor who has worked with children and families for over 17 years. Siope’s work has involved working with clients from many different cultural backgrounds. Fluent in English, Spanish, Tongan, and American Sign Language, he has been able to help various families improve relationships and address issues. Siope’s initial work was with children suffering from trauma and sexual abuse.

Siope is a father and enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys music and plays various instruments. He also enjoys photography and learning about technology.

Amy Lund

Amy Lund

Associate Director of Smarter Parenting

Amy is educated in the Teaching-Family Model and uses it to raises three young children. Amy is well read having worked in the publishing industry for years. Amy’s talented approach to design, presentation, online education, keyword research and internet trends has made her an invaluable member of the Smarter Parenting team.

Amy enjoys watching her children grow. She also enjoys photography, traveling and expressing herself in creative ways.

Rob Bjorklund

Rob Bjorklund

Videographer, Designer, Editor

Robbie is a professional photographer and videographer. Robbie is also an animator and well versed in the areas of creating video content from writing scripts, editing, lighting, sound, filming, editing and producing the final project. All the videos on the Smarter Parenting website have been filmed or edited by Robbie. He also provides support for the Utah Youth Village for their audiovisual needs in addition to his responsibilities with Smarter Parenting.

Robbie is the father of two daughters. He enjoys skiing and the outdoors and is always open to trying new things.

Emily Tjomsland

Emily Tjomsland

Graphic Artist, Illustrator

Emily provides the art and content for the videos on Smarter Parenting. She helps with the animation and provides input in the creative process behind what is needed to convey the content related to lessons and videos. Emily also does commissioned work in her free time.

Emily is the mother of two boys that keep her busy. She and her family are currently residing on the East Coast of the United States while her husband finishes a graduate degree.

Melissa Schmitz

Melissa Schmitz

Director of Development

Melissa’s role is helping to increase public awareness and discover public and private funding sources to support the Utah Youth Village and expand the Smarter Parenting program to benefit more parents.

Melissa graduated in business administration and marketing from Minnesota State University Moorhead.  She has worked in corporate retail, healthcare, grant writing, and the events and entertainment space.  She is happiest working in the nonprofit world and wants to help as many people as she can.

Melissa is the mother of two sons and a daughter. She enjoys sports, theatre,  concerts, reading, traveling and camping with her family!

Kevin Rusch

Kevin Rusch

Director of Advancement

Kevin joined the team in early December of 2019. He is responsible for identifying funding sources and marketing and outreach efforts on behalf of the Smarter Parenting program.

Kevin has over twenty years of fundraising and marketing experience in a variety of nonprofit settings. He is passionate about youth and family welfare initiatives and spends a lot of his free time mentoring youth in a variety of ways.

Erin Yates

Erin Yates

Writer, Blogger

Erin is a former child welfare worker with experience working with families in distress. Her work included teaching skills to families that would keep children from being removed from their parents. Erin also supervised other home-based providers. Erin has been certified by the Teaching-Family Model multiple times. Erin currently submits blog posts to Smarter Parenting showing how the Teaching-Family Model can be used in varying situations.

Erin is a mother of three children who she adores. She submits articles and answers questions in the blog section.

Ruth Kongaika

Ruth Kongaika

Blogger, Writer

Ruth has traveled and lived around the world. She and her husband raised their four children in a third-world country amid a very different culture. Her life experiences give her a unique perspective on the cultural differences facing parents and families. She is an artist and enjoys painting and creating crafts. She teaches English in her spare time. She and her husband are retired. Ruth currently spends her time teaching, creating art, gardening, and genealogy.

She is a mother and grandmother and enjoys spending time with them.

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We use the Teaching-Family Model

The Teaching-Family Model is an evidenced based behavioral approach that has being used by professionals and families for over fifty years. Watch this video to learn more:

See what others who are using the Teaching-Family Model have to say

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AboutThe Smarter Parenting Team