Helping homeless kids get off the streets and into safe housing, education, and employment opportunities in the Duluth community since 1991.
Life House in Duluth Minnesota

Our Staff

To contact staff by email, just add together the following (no spaces):

  • first name (.) last name
  • Maude Dornfeld, Executive Director. Maude joined Life House with a strong background in the non-profit sector, with her most recent experience as the Community Education Coordinator for Safe Haven. She holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on domestic violence, sex offenders and juvenile delinquency and a certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. In the past she has been an adjunct instructor of criminology and a marketing research director. She enjoys the outdoors, especially kayaking and hiking along the beautiful North Shore.
    To contact Maude Dornfeld:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 10


  • TBD, Development Director.
    To contact Development Director:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 14


  • Ryan Irlbeck, Finance Director
    To contact Ryan Irlbeck:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 15


  • Erich Lutz, Housing Program Manager. Erich has extensive experience with supportive housing programs and services that assist homeless youth to achieve the skills necessary to obtain and maintain safe and affordable housing. Erich began his career at Life House in 2001 as the Transitional Services Case Manager. In 2003 the Corporation of Supportive Housing selected Erich as the only advocate from Greater MN to join a group of Metro area advocates to tour the European Foyer Model in London England. In 2009, he worked for the Human Development Center, providing intensive case management services to long-term homeless individuals and families in Duluth. Erich returned to Life House in 2010 as the Housing Lead.
    To contact Erich Lutz:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 13


  • Eric Goetz, Youth Specialist - Housing. In 2012 Eric graduated with a B.A. in Social Work from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota. While working on his degree, Eric had an opportunity to intern as a School Social Worker in Duluth Independent School District 709, working directly with students, and families of students, receiving special education services. In the spring of 2012 he completed a 450 hour internship with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, where he assessed the needs of homeless, and potentially homeless veterans and their families, and worked to connect them with a variety of services throughout Northern Minnesota. During his free time Eric enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and two children. 
    To contact Eric Goetz:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 27


  • Jennifer Salo, Youth Specialist - Housing. In the fall of 2007, Jenn graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Superior with a M.A. in Art Therapy. While working on her degree, Jenn had the opportunity to intern at Miller Dwan in the Behavioral Unit with children, adolescents, and adults. She studied child development and Psychology as an undergrad and received her B.S. in Art Therapy with a minor in Psychology. Jenn has worked in the Health Care field with at risk youth and adults for 15 years. Jenn is the Assistant Director of an Art Enrichment Program (NCWP) that provides art as healing to women and children in our community. She enjoys creating her own art, reading, and spending time outdoors with family and friends. Jenn is very excited to be part of our Life House team. 
    To contact Jennifer Salo:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 16


  • Matt Morrow, Youth Specialist - Education. Born and raised in Duluth, Matt graduated from the University of MN-Morris in 1999 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and in Social Sciences. After interning at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington D.C., and teaching Conversational English in the Czech Republic, he enrolled in the University’s Secondary Education Program and received his licensure in Secondary Social Studies. Since then, Matt has been teaching in a diverse assortment of locations and schools around the world and working with students from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds; India, rural Minnesota, Bahrain, Nigeria, Albania, Lesotho, and Myanmar. He has also served eight years in the MN Army National Guard and enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife Rubinah, who is also an educator.. 
    To contact Matt Morrow:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 12


  • Chris LeBlanc, Youth Specialist - Employment / Street Outreach. In spring 2011, Chris graduated from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, with a B.S. in Social Work. As an undergraduate, Chris interned at the Department of Institutional Diversity through the college’s Social Work program. Most recently, Chris spent over 400 hours in an internship with Life House, actively taking part in the program data collection / outcomes evaluation process as well as working directly with at-risk and homeless youth in the Life House drop-in center.
    To contact Chris LeBlanc:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 28


  • Callie DeVriendt, Mental Health Professional. Callie graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin Superior in 2005. She completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2010. Callie’s undergrad internship took place within Carlton Counties Family School Support Worker unit and her graduate internship occurred at the Human Development Center. Callie received her license as an Independent Clinical Social Worker in 2013.Callie has an array of experience with children, adolescents, adults, and families in a wide variety of settings including private home, day treatment, residential, school, shelter, and county settings. She has provided individual, family, and group therapy services, case management services, and has conducted diagnostic assessments. Callie specializes in trauma therapy and holds a certification currently in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is actively seeking further training for continued growth. Callie has worked with client’s from an array of cultures, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, and other diverse circumstances. Callie is excited to be working at Life House.
    To contact Callie DeVriendt:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 29


  • Melida Keister, T-ACT (Transitional Assertive Community Treatment) Case Manager. In the summer of 2008, Melida graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelors of Arts in Criminology and Bachelors of Applied Science in Psychology. As an undergraduate Melida interned with Northwood Children’s Services working with at-risk youth. After her internship Melida continued on to a counselor position within Northwood’s working with at-risk youth on coping skills, behavior modification, and daily living skills. Melida joined the Life House team in July 2011 as a T-ACT case manager. T-ACT is a collaboration between Life House, Minnesota Department of Human Services, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services, and the Human Development Center, working together to provide supportive services to young adults (ages 18-26) who have severe and persistent mental health and chemical dependency needs.
    To contact Melida Keister:
    Phone: (218) 727-4200


  • Ahna Pelto, Youth Center Supervisor. Ahna graduated in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin Superior with a B.S. in Social Work. Ahna interned as an Alcohol and Drug Intervention Specialist with the Duluth Public Schools in the spring of 2010. She also has volunteered with children and young adults both locally and abroad. Most recently, Ahna spent two years working with Developmentally Disabled adults before joining the staff at Life House in October 2011.
    To contact Ahna Pelto:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 26


  • Rachel Samuelson, Youth Specialist - Youth Center. In the spring of 2012, Rachel graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. As an undergraduate, Rachel interned with the Iowa Department of Human Services and at Life House in January 2011, the summer of 2011 and January 2012. Most recently at Life House, Rachel has been working directly with at-risk and homeless youth in the Life House drop-in center. She has also volunteered with organizations in Australia while studying abroad in the fall of 2011. Rachel is glad to be back at Life House again.
    To contact Rachel Samuelson:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 19


  • Mary Hall, Youth Specialist - Youth Center. In the spring of 2009, Mary graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She completed her internship with St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services on the Iron Range in their Children’s Mental Health and Initial Intervention units. For three years before joining Life House, she was a program coordinator for another non-profit. It was there that she developed curriculum for and facilitated independent living skills groups to at-risk teenagers who were aging out of the foster care system. In her free time, Mary travels every chance she gets, is very involved in the local geek culture community and loves to spend time with her husband and two basset hounds. 
    To contact Mary Hall:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 18


  • Ryan Bergren, Youth Specialist - Youth Center. 
    To contact Ryan Bergren:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 18


  • Rubinah Atcha, Youth Services Associate. Rubinah graduated in 2001 from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario with a B.Sc. in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences. After working a year in the food science industry, she decided to pursue education and earned her B.Ed. in Secondary Education from Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario in 2003. During the last nine years, Rubinah taught a diverse group of youth in Africa, Asia, and Europe. From 2009 until 2012, she worked at a school for at-risk blind and visually impaired children and adults in Nigeria. There she taught grades 2-5, served as the activities director, fundraiser, and community liaison. With the help of local and international donors, Rubinah opened the first Braille library in Nigeria’s capital city, arranged for approximately 20 students to receive corrective eyewear and/or eye surgery, and developed a low-vision educational program at her school. Rubinah began volunteering as a GED tutor at Life House in January 2013 before joining the team in her current position.. 
    To contact Rubinah Atcha:
    Phone: (218) 722-7431 x. 17


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