Founded in 2006, Red Thread Charities (RTC)
is a Minnesota non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide training to orphanage staff and facilitate medical and developmental care for children so that they can reach their full potential. In light of its mission, RTC sends a team of physicians, nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, and special education teachers to China every year. The team provides for the immediate health care needs of orphaned children and training for their caretakers so that they may continue to deliver quality care for these children.

  • Medical Consultants

    Tim Steinmetz, Physician

    Tim Steinmetz is a family physician in River Falls, Wisconsin. He has been the main physician on the Red Thread Fall trip since 2007 working with the orphanage doctors to advance the care of the children. He helps with diagnosis and gives recommendations for additional medical options.

    Jane Steinmetz, Registered Nurse

    Jane Steinmetz is a Red Thread Charities board member and the head of the medical team. She determines the needs of the orphanages and coordinates our medical volunteers. Additionally, Jane communicates with adoptive families and adoption agencies regarding children that we have worked with.

    Nancy Lawton-Shirley, Occupational Therapist

    Nancy Shirley-Lawton is a Red Thread Charities board member. Nancy is an occupational therapist whose passion is children with coordination issues or sensory processing problems. Nancy is the founder/owner of Points of Stillness in Hudson, Wisconsin. Nancy's first trip to China with RTC was in 2007.

    Lynn Kopfmann, Occupational Therapist

    Lynn Kopfmann began traveling with the RTC medical team to China in 2011. Lynn is a specialist in sensory processing disorders. She established The Therapy Place, an innovative pediatric clinic in 1996, which provides occupational and speech therapy for children. In 2011, The Therapy Place expanded to include adolescents and adults with sensory processing disorders. Lynn works with many international adoptees and their families.

    Kiki Dickinson, Physical Therapist

    Kiki Dickinson is a pediatric physical therapist. She is an employee of St Croix Therapy where she works with adults and children. She co-authored a book and does training across the country on aquatic therapy. Kiki's first trip to China with RTC was in 2007.

    Susan Jacobsen, Physical Therapist

    Susan Jacobsen is a pediatric physical therapist at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. As part of her work at UMACH, Susan staffs the International Adoption Clinic, performing screenings on newly adopted children and helping with referrals if needed. Susan began traveling to China as a member of the RTC medical team in 2010.

    Sally Peterson, Speech Therapist

    Sally Peterson has worked as a speech therapist for more than 25 years. Sally joined our team in 2011 and developed our guidelines for screening and training in the area of oral motor and feeding issues.

    Dianna Michels , Special Education

    Dianna Michels works as an autism resource specialist for the Minnetonka, Minnesota Public Schools. She also works part-time at The Therapy Place as a certified OT assistant. Dianna has traveled to China the past two years with RTC.


  • Chinese Representative

    Vivian Guo

    Vivian Guo is the manager for Red Thread Charities in China. She has worked for RTC since 2008. She is the liaison between the orphanages and the Red Thread medical team and board. Throughout the year, she maintains contact with the orphanages and visits them regularly. Vivian helps with training and relays concerns and questions regarding children’s care with Red Thread's medical team. She organizes the Red Thread medical trips, coordinating all aspects with the orphanages, translators, and medical team. In 2011, Vivian guided a team from Hangzhou orphanage to Minnesota and Wisconsin that advanced their knowledge of OT, PT and adoption services. In addition, she works as a translator and guide for families while they are in China to adopt children.

  • RTC Board

    Qiuxia Hu Welch

    Qiuxia Hu Welch is the executive director of Red Thread Charities. She is a key leader of RTC’s team, developing relationships in China and the USA. She was born and raised in Chengdu, China, and has lived in the U.S. since she came to study when she was 19. As a result of her unique background she is able to act as a bridge between China and the U.S., raising awareness of cultural differences and helping to overcome these to fulfill our mission. Qiuxia and her husband, Kevin, own Boom Island Brewery in Minneapolis. Her parents recently moved from China and share the work and excitement of the growing microbrewery.


    Cheryl Heley

    Cheryl Heley has been the President of Red Thread Charities since its inception in 2006. She coordinates the communication between our manager in China, the medical team and the the board. Previously, Cheryl worked professionally as a tax accountant.


    Lucia Copland

    Lucia Copland joined the board of RTC in 2008 and concentrates on publicity, fund raising and special events. She is a lawyer who practiced corporate law for many years with a firm in Minneapolis.


    RTC Board

    Lucia Copland

    Cheryl Heley

    Nancy Lawton-Shirley

    Jane Steinmetz

    Qiuxia Welch