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Director's message
Dear Friends:

Graduation season is always special around CFS, as youth who have beaten the odds many times over celebrate this milestone. It holds extra meaning for me this year because of my own high school graduate, my baby, which of course makes me happy and sad at the same time. I enjoy these young people, talking with them about their hopes and dreams, and the more mundane things like what college classes to take next fall or even the latest video game. No matter where they’re headed, we are grateful to have had their company for a while. 

We’re also grateful that members of our Board of Directors helped send each of our 13 graduates off to the next phase of their journey with $150 gift cards. Alongside those gifts were handmade quilts for each from Pineneedler Quilt Club. Many thanks to you who contributed to these thoughtful mementos for our grads.

In this newsletter you’ll hear about one grad from a few years back who has
a special place in the hearts of many CFS staffers, David VanHorn. And Licensing Supervisor Beth Roth recently celebrated 20 years with CFS—you could say she grew up here! Meanwhile, as we say goodbye to our grads, we welcome back to the CFS fold Laura Field and Emma Smith, former employees who have recently returned to us. People coming back, in this work/labor climate, speaks volumes about what we’ve created here—a place of caring and compassion, not only for our clients but for all who set foot through our doors. 

Thank YOU for helping make CFS the extraordinary place it is.

Gina Aranki, Executive Director
CFS: 85 Years of Helping Children and Families
David VanHorn
David VanHorn is known to many by his gentle vibe and ability to make just about anyone smile. Those who know David will tell you that he’s always been one of the most positive, approachable people around. He makes the time to meet new friends, ask questions, and always shows a genuine interest in others’ wellbeing. David also seems to know exactly when to reconnect! Just when we were considering how we’d like to be involved with this year’s Cherry Festival, David reached out to us and asked if we wanted to volunteer. Of course, we couldn’t say no to him!
We were first introduced to David when he came into foster care as a teenager. Child Welfare staff were enamored with David’s kind-hearted, genuine attitude, and it wasn’t long before he had everyone in the office singing his praises! David became well-known across all departments; from Development, to the front office team, to our volunteer staff. He was always eager to volunteer at CFS events and soon became a regular at our Annual Appreciation Dinner, Festival of Tables, Golden Fowler DreamRoom Classic, and other fundraising and friendraising opportunities!
David has also volunteered to be a part of foster parent training, serving on a teen panel to let foster parents know that kids in foster care aren’t “bad kids.” He wants people to know that the reasons kids and teens come into care is not because of their behavior, but because of things that happened to them and were completely outside of their control. David has a heart of gold and has devoted his life to helping others who are less fortunate. He’s worked for Goodwill Inn and has been part of local and national Homeless Youth Prevention projects. David also volunteers every Wednesday at his church, Bayview Wesleyan, by helping them serve community meals.
Given his many talents and obvious passion for helping others, we were not surprised to learn that David was hired to work as the Director of Outreach for The National Cherry Festival! He has always loved volunteering and bringing people together for the greater good, sharing fellowship and helping those in need.
David told us that finding volunteers for The Cherry Festival’s Green Team has been tough! Given all that David has done for us and our community over the years CFS immediately pledged to help him. We’re pleased to share that many staff have signed up to volunteer their time during the annual festival, and we look forward to marching in this year’s Consumer’s Energy Community Royale Parade! Who wants to join us?!
Staff Highlights!
In celebration of our 85th year, we are highlighting a few of our "veteran helpers.” Many of these staff members have dedicated their careers to helping others in times of crisis, challenge, and life transition.
Beth Roth
Leading the way for CFS Foster Care
Beth Roth recently celebrated her 20th year at CFS with some of her co-workers and her daughter Katie, who just turned 16. While reflecting on the past 2 decades, Beth considers how her career has shaped both of their lives. CFS has been a place of understanding, flexibility and nurturance for Beth and other moms like her. Because of this, she has been able to be an active participant in Katie’s life, attending all of her important events over the years. Katie, in turn, has given back to CFS with her own projects along the way! When she was a toothless 6 year old, Katie recorded a voice-over for our Brown Bag campaign that we still use today. A lot of her artwork from her time in elementary school adorns our hallways and conference rooms. And when Katie was in middle school, she chose to do a backpack project for our kids in foster care, including hand-drawn art with the message, “You Matter!” in each backpack. 
Beth beams with pride as she talks about her licensing team and how they’re learning to pass on their skills to foster families. She herself has licensed over 100 homes in the past 16 years (after serving 4 years as a foster care specialist). Beth says she loves meeting potential foster parents and teaching them while on the job. “As long as they have a big heart for children, and are open to learning, we can teach them how to be great foster parents! Often, it’s just coaching them to try their best and letting them know that you believe in them.” Beth is quick to add, however, that foster parents she’s worked with have taught her a thing or two along the way as well! 
Over time, Beth’s confidence has grown as she’s learned to overcome her own challenges. Recently, she re-discovered her love for running and even completed the Bayshore 10K. Beth says that running helps her meditate and focus on her health by providing a stress outlet. 

Beth sets big goals for herself, but she doesn’t give up until she’s achieved her full potential. Her steadfast dedication to child advocacy work continues to inspire all of us here at CFS, and we are forever grateful to have her knowledge and expertise. Here’s to the next 20 years!
Andrea Domres
Supporting families one step at a time
Andrea Domres wears many hats as the Foster Care Intake Specialist and Supportive Visitation Supervisor at CFS. One of her roles is as the Placement Support Specialist, a grant-funded position made possible by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF). "This position is so important," says Andrea, "because when a child is initially placed in foster care, it's crucial to provide extra support." This is especially true for first-time foster families, who are not only adjusting to having new children in their home, but also find themselves trying to navigate the very complex system of Child Welfare policy and procedure. 

When a child initially moves in with their new foster family, Andrea becomes the go-to contact person for the first five days following placement. Part of her job is to visit the home right away and make sure important information such as allergies, food preferences, and schooling needs are clearly communicated. The funding that MHEF provides for this position also makes it possible to help purchase tangible resources when a need arises. "We got a call about a sibling group needing placement," Andrea recalls, "and we had a foster family who was willing to take placement, but they had no supplies ready. The kids were sitting at the DHHS office right then and there, needing somewhere to go.
So, we decided we would made it work.” While the kids were being driven to the foster home by the CPS worker, Andrea used placement support funds to buy clothes, diapers, and even a crib so that the family could take the placement and keep the siblings together.   

When asked what she thinks is the most important part of her job, Andrea says, "I think that people like having someone who is readily available to communicate with. I may not know all the answers, but I'll do my best to find out. Sometimes though, all people really need is a listening ear, someone on the other end who’s been through this before and can provide reassurance that it's going to be ok, that they're doing a great job." 
Thank you to all who supported
The sixth annual Cheese Cup was a huge success—thanks to Northern Angler and everyone who participated, donated, sponsored, and helped! This Catch and Release Warm Water Fishing Competition is all about having fun while raising money for suicide prevention in northern Michigan. The shock and sadness of losing their dear friend Alex Hawke, fondly called “Cheese,” to depression, stirred Brian Pitser, owner, and Matt Hartman, manager, to plan something in his memory. Their hope is that this will make people feel more comfortable to talk about and process this loss together. This event raised money for suicide awareness and prevention trainings, as well counseling needs. 
Pride Carnival!
Thanks to all who came out
to see us at the Pride Carnival! It was a great day to raise awareness and celebrate Pride Month!
Quilts from the heart
Thank you to Pineneedler Quilt Club! They made quilts and laundry bags for each of our high school graduates. So special and beautiful!
Upcoming Events!
Join us TONIGHT for a slow roll!
The CFS Green Team and Norte invite you to a slow roll bike ride TONIGHT, June 22! Come join the fun! Meet at 5:50pm at F and M Park in Traverse City. We'll ride 3-4 miles, chit chat, ding our bells, and end at Little Fleet! All abilities welcome!
July 16th 9am-1pm
Join us at the Harbor Springs Farmers Market for an informational drop-in event. Foster parents are always needed in our community. Take a few moments to speak with a licensing worker from Child and Family Services about the process to become a licensed foster parent. Bring your questions (and a friend!).

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Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan
3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City | (231) 946-8975
3434 M-119, Ste F, Harbor Springs | (231) 347-4463
Third Level/Pete's Place | (231) 922-4800