CA with tag line 

 525 N. State Street · Suite 4 · Alma, MI 48801 
(989) 463-1422

"One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the empowerment to create a life they love, filled with purposeful, enjoyable work, and relationships they hold dear."

- The Life Studio
In This Issue
About Us 

Child Advocacy is a non-profit agency with a mission to improve the welfare of children and their families through education, training, and support for the prevention of substance abuse and child abuse and neglect.

 Our Staff
Audra Stahl 
President & CEO 
Pam Mahin
Office Manager
Staci Bigelow
Event/Volunteer Coordinator

Ty Warczinsky 
GCSAC Program Director
Emily Whipple
GCSAC Coordinator

Sara Krebs 
GCSAC Prevention
Alexa Morton
 GCSAC Prevention Educator
Morgan Rooy
CAN Program Director
 Richelle Davis 
CAN Prevention Educator

Jennifer Leppien
CAN Parenting Coach
Michelle Zombeck 
 CASA Program Director    
Rachel Letsche
CASA Recruitment Coordinator
Heather Therrien  
CAC Program Director

Jennifer Stambaugh
CAC Victim Advocate
Nicole Showers
CAC Case Manager

Nikky Holton
CAC Intake Coordinator
Board of Directors  

Carolyn Studley
Vice President 
Steve Vernon
Gratiot Integrated Health Network

Jamie Richardson
Doehring Schultz Insurance Agency
Sara Bonacci

Colleen Davis
Prosecuting Attorney's Office 
Jim Dubey
Garr Tool

Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions 

Tammy Halfmann
Mercantile Bank

David Justin
 Alma School Board
John Morey

Mike Morris
Gratiot County Undersheriff
Alison Morrison
Dept. of Health and Human Services 
Jennifer Siefker
Tri-Lakes Petroleum
Mark Williams
Alma Public Safety Administrator 

Kim Vetter
Michigan State Police

Annette Collison
Kahn Consulting, INC.

Garth Anderson
Commercial Bank


Seat Safety


Did you know that at Child Advocacy we can install and provide a safety inspection for your child safety seat?  Child Advocacy has a nationally certified safety seat technician available!
To make an appointment call
 or 800-552-4489   Please see new carseat guidelines on our website.
Permanent Prescription Drug Drop Off
Gratiot Co. Sheriff
226 E. Center
open 24 hrs./day
7 days/week
Alma Police Dept.
525 E. Superior St.  
8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Breckenridge Police Dept.
 104 E. Saginaw St.
8:00 a.m.- 5:00  p.m.
Monday - Friday
St. Louis Police Dept.
300 N. Mill St.
Mon. 7 - 3 
Tues. - Fri. 8 - 4 
These sites accept
prescription pills and patches.
Program Needs

Gas Cards 
to help cover the cost for medical travel to Grand Rapids or help with transportation of foster children.

Gift Cards to Walmart and Meijer to purchase the specific needs of a child. 
Drawing Paper
New Children's Books
Games for younger children to play
Capri Sun Juice Boxes
Bottled Water

Baby Pantry
Breastfeeding Pads

Infant Formula
(yellow can)

Gentle Formula
(purple can)

Maternity Clothing

Quart Sized Bags

Training Pants: Size 2T/3T & 4T/5T

Newborn Clothing

Gently-used Clothing: Girl's and Boy's sizes 4, 5, and 6.

Community donations help the quality of our programs and are greatly appreciated. Donations can be made directly at Child Advocacy or by contacting our office. (989) 463-1422

Your Feedback!

You did a great job with a difficult subject. We don't like to think children are being abused. 

Darkness to Light training participant. 

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

Please take a moment to read our program articles below. Each month members of Child Advocacy's staff work hard to provide program related articles on various topics.  

We also encourage you to mark your calendars for our upcoming 1st Annual Adult Spelling Bee and Alumni Basketball Game. Details for both events can be found below.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter,
Staci Bigelow
Volunteer/Event Coordinator 
Check out our website .
Upcoming Events

Child Advocacy Adult Spelling Bee
Come and see what the BUZZ is all about!!! 

Saturday, March 16th
Doors open at 6:30, Spelling begins at 7:30
Alma Elks Lodge #1400 - Alma

Eight Person Teams! Lightning Round with Top Spellers!
Appetizers! Cash Bar! Gift Basket Auction!

All our registration dollars are being matched by United Way! Register or Sponsor today!
Please click here to register or Text BEE to 41444 and follow the prompts.

Alumni Basketball Game
Alma, Ithaca, St. Louis, Breckenridge High School Alumni
Friday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Alma High School Gymnasium  

If you are interested in playing in our Alumni Game and you are a Varsity Alumni from one of the schools listed above, please contact Staci at (989)463-1422 or

Proceeds to benefit Child Abuse and Neglect programs
of Gratiot County. 
A Successful Multidisciplinary Team is the Key for Work within the Children's Advocacy Center
Submitted by: Jennifer Stambaugh
CAC Victim Advocate

All Children's Advocacy Centers function within a multidisciplinary team model. Here in Gratiot County the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) multidisciplinary team includes representatives from the Gratiot County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Child Advocacy, Michigan State Police-Lakeview Post, Alma Police Department, St. Louis Police Department, Breckenridge Police Department, Gratiot County Sheriff's Office, Gratiot County Department of Health and Human Services, Gratiot Integrated Health Network, Mid-Michigan Medical Center - Gratiot, and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Center for Child Protection.
The utilization of a multidisciplinary approach is deemed best practice in child abuse cases. The intent of the CAC/Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) is to ensure that those providing services related to child abuse cases perform their work in a collaborative, coordinated manner promoting accountability, while facilitating positive outcomes for the child through follow-up services and resources. The MDT reviews all cases countywide that involve child sexual abuse /sexual assault, severe physical abuse/neglect, as well as those who are exposed to methamphetamine production or those who witness significant violence. Our goal is to reduce trauma to the child, provide the family with support and assistance, promote thorough investigations and hold offenders accountable, and improve communication and information sharing among MDT members. Our MDT is committed to serving child victims with sensitivity, understanding, competence and compassion.

Princess & Pirate Family Carnival & Expo

Thank you to all of our vendors, volunteers, sponsors, and participants at the 2019 Family Carnival & Expo.
Suicide Prevention
Submitted by: Emily Whipple
GCSAC Coordinator

As Lexi, our Prevention Educator, detailed last month, our Above the Influence students have been busy planning their annual events and focusing on topics that are important in our community. Each year, the ATI students organize their Basketball Awareness nights and this year has proven to be impactful in every way. I had the opportunity to lend Lexi a hand at the Ithaca ATI Awareness Basketball night and I was blown away by the topic the students chose and the response that was reciprocated from the other students and community members.

For those of you who did not know, our coalition also focuses on suicide prevention. In the United States, suicide claims the lives of almost 43,000 persons each year. In Michigan, there were 1,364 suicides and in Gratiot County we average around five suicides per year. It is the second leading cause of death for the ages of 10 through 24 and there are 25 attempts for every one suicide completed. According to our 2018 MiPHY data, about 24% of our students in 9th and 11th grade reported they seriously considered attempting suicide while 9.4% reported they have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

It was no shock when the Ithaca ATI students chose the topic of Suicide Awareness and Prevention. It is a topic that has been gaining attention in the past few years. As the numbers show, it is truly a societal problem that claims the lives of too many. Alyssa Carrillo, a senior at Ithaca High School and an ATI student, paved the way for suicide awareness and prevention to be the topic of Ithaca's awareness night. She bravely stepped up to talk about how suicide has impacted her life, very recently. Not only did she provide facts and statistics, she reminded her audience that it is okay to ask for help and stressed that everyone should learn and know the warning signs of suicide. Knowing these could help save a life.

Some warning signs of suicide include:
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
If anyone you know is struggling, please know that there are services to assist. The Gratiot County Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Coalition offers free Question, Persuade, and Refer training. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting a suicide prevention training, please contact us at (989) 463-1422.
Scheduled Classes

Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group
Who: Non-biological caregivers (foster, adoptive, kinship, etc.) and their children.
Where: East Superior Christian Church (605 E. Superior St. Alma, MI)
When: Tuesday, February 12th 6:00-8:00 p.m. (the second Tuesday of every month)
Why: Because parenting is one of the most difficult jobs and having support from others is crucial. Did we mention free childcare and snacks?!

Please call our office t o RS VP at (989)4 63-1422 or email Rachel

Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
Monday, February 11th
1:00 p.m.
Youth for Christ - Alma

Please call Emily at 989-463-1422 with any questions

The Baby Pantry
Every Wednesday
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wilcox Non-Profit Building - Alma

For more information about the Baby Pantry please contact Morgan Rooy at (989)463-1422.

Lunch & Learn
1st Thursday of the Month
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Alma Public Library

February 7th - Come learn about CASA!
March 7th - TBD

Child Advocacy will be hosting monthly lunch & learns on a variety of topics. We hope you will join us. Please contact Child Advocacy to RSVP at (989)463-1422.
How about that Polar Vortex?  Wow!

We had to close our doors for a few days, but rest assured we answered every email and phone message while we were out.  We always recommend making an appointment if you need a car seat inspected or installed regardless of the weather.  

We have an exciting Spring in store, and we hope you will join us at one of our many events.  The Spelling Bee is something new and exciting!  It's a team event that is set up a lot like Trivia Night. There will be a couple of fun lightning rounds where your team's best speller will get to compete for extra points. It's going to be a great time!  The bonus is that United Way is going to match dollar for dollar all our sponsor and registration fees. We hope to see you there!

Happy Valentines Day to all of you!

Audra Stahl
President & CEO