CA with tag line 

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


"The biggest predictor of your child's success is the relationship they have with you, not their grades, peer relationships, or how many hits they get in a baseball game. Resist getting bogged down in consequences, punishment, stress, activities, and business. Focus on your relationship with your child."

-Renewed Hope Parenting


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
 Coordinator
 
 
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  

President
Carolyn Studley
Community 
Representative
   
Vice President 
Steve Vernon
Gratiot Integrated Health Network

Secretary
Jamie Richardson
Doehring Schultz Insurance Agency
   
Treasurer
Sara Bonacci
Community 
Representative

Garth Anderson
Commercial Bank

Brett Baublitz
Transportation Director/City of Alma

Annette Weller-Collison
Kahn Consulting, INC.

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
CPA

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

Car

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
 989-463-1422
 or 800-552-4489   Please see new carseat guidelines on our website.
Permanent Prescription Drug Drop Off
Site
 
Gratiot Co. Sheriff
226 E. Center
Ithaca
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
Puzzles
New Children's Books
Play-dough
Games for younger children to play
Capri Sun Juice Boxes
Bottled Water

Baby Pantry

Infant Formula
(yellow can)

Gentle Formula
(purple can)

  Size 5 & 6 Diapers

Baby Cereal

Boys clothing
 sizes 18mo - 6T

Newborn Outfits

Training Pants

Baby Wipes

 
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!

So informational, I loved this training!

 Darkness to 
Light training participant .

Quick Links

 
Join Our Mailing List

Please take a moment to look at our Program Needs section located in the far left column. We often hear from community members, "I would like to help, but I am not sure how?" Listed in this section you will find items we are in need of on a monthly basis. These items are directly used to help with our programs and the families we serve. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter,
Staci Bigelow
Volunteer/Event Coordinator 
Check out our website www.linkforfamilies.org .
Summer Hours
Starting the week of June 10  
Monday - Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Limited staff on Fridays, please call ahead.
Car seats are by appointment only.

New Court Appointed 
Special Advocate
Submitted by: Rachel Letsche
CASA Recruitment Coordinator


Pictured: Judge Kristin Bakker, Brooke Mikowski, Michelle Zombeck (CASA Program Director), and Rachel Letsche (CASA Recruitment Coordinator)

"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."      
                                               -Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
CASA of Gratiot County is pleased to introduce you to our newest volunteer advocate who took the journey to become a CASA this year.
 
Brooke Mikowski, who resides in Isabella County, was sworn in on June 13th by Judge Kristin Bakker in front of family, friends, fellow advocates, and supporting agencies. Brooke first heard about CASA from a college professor at Central Michigan University who felt that she would be a great advocate for children in need (we think so too)! Brooke enjoys spending her free time outdoors doing a variety of activities, and with her large family and friends in the Traverse City area.
 
Brooke has a long history of helping children and families- from babysitting and caring for her nieces to volunteering at the homeless shelter in Isabella County. Brooke has a passion for being a CASA- she wants to "be a light, outlet, and VOICE for kids who cannot do it for themselves."
 
Come and learn how one caring adult can make a difference in the life of a child at the next CASA and Coffee! Learn more information about Court Appointed Special Advocates, by contacting Child Advocacy at 989-463-1422.

Summer Safety
Submitted by: Nikky Holton
CAC Intake Coordinator

As school is winding down and families are anxiously gearing up for summer trips, camps, etc., I would like to offer you a reminder and helpful information to add to your growing list of things to do and remember.

While you're helping to pack overnight bags with items to ensure a wonderful experience away, always remember it is your right as a parent to ask about an organization's policies and Code of Conduct. These rules and regulations are intended to keep your children safe while they are away. Asking questions will increase organizational standards and accountability, as well as, ensure they are consistently re-evaluating and implementing effective safety regulations. Here are a few examples of issues to ask about:  bathroom safety, steps in place for an unforeseen incident, and drug enforcement policies.

Now let's talk about the uncomfortable topic of abuse disclosure. As children leave school for the summer, they are also leaving behind consistently present adults who are equipped with knowledge on what to do should a child disclose abuse. A disclosure can come as a shock and may ignite panic. Below you will find useful, evidence-based tips you can employ should a child disclose abuse to you:
  • Remain calm.
     
  • Listen attentively and ensure the child you are there to support them. 
     
  • Always believe the child. Very few reported incidents of abuse are false.
     
  • Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions like "What happened next?" However, please do not pressure the child to speak more about the disclosure should they become uncomfortable.
  • Report the abuse  immediately. Your role in this situation is to support the child, not 
    investigate. Please contact Michigan's Centralized Intake at  1-855-444-3911 . A trained  professional will record a detailed report to send to the proper authorities. You may also make a detailed report with your local law enforcement.
Education is empowering!  
If you would like  more  child safety information, please visit us at  www.linkforfamilies.org , subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook at Child Advocacy-Gratiot County to stay up to date on our many useful trainings and exciting events.
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, July 9th 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 morgan @linkforfamilies.org.

Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
No July meeting, see you in August!
1:00 p.m.
MidMichigan Medical Center Gratiot - Wilcox Auditorium

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 every month
Alma Public Library
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m
 
July 4th - no presentation, enjoy your holiday.

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.
We have big news!

You may have heard the news that
after spending nine years renting space in the United Way owned Wilcox Non-Profit Center, Child Advocacy is looking at building a new facility. The new building will be located right next door to their current location at 525 N. State St. in Alma. Having many of the non-profit agencies under one roof is ideal for clients visiting the Wilcox Non-Profit Center, so with Child Advocacy moving out of the building this will free up space for other non-profits to move into the Wilcox Non-Profit Center. Visitors to the Wilcox Building will be able to access all of Child Advocacy's services right next door including; the Baby Pantry, car seat safety program, parenting classes, support groups, forensic interviewing, victim advocacy, and much more. The idea is to create a Non-Profit Campus in Gratiot County.
 
The need for a new facility for Child Advocacy has come after years of building programs, hiring staff, and increasing revenue. When Child Advocacy moved into the Wilcox Building in January of 2010 they had two full time employees and one part time employee. With a very small budget and minimal programming Child Advocacy began writing grants, adding new programs, and increasing the number of children and their families served each year. Child Advocacy now has sixteen employees, and is serving around 6000 children and their families each year.
 
Child Advocacy is currently the only agency in the entire State of Michigan with a Children's Advocacy Center, CASA Program, and Substance Abuse, Suicide, and Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Programs under one roof. By putting these important programs together, we have been able to leverage more funding from state and federal grants; therefore building up the agency and its programming. At this time we are the only agency in the state, and one of forty one agencies in the entire nation, to receive federal funding for a  three-year, multi-program grant to enhance our community's response to the opioid crisis as it relates to child victims of abuse. This is just one example of our recent successes due to the unique set up of our agency. We have worked hard to get to this point, and we are thrilled to be staying right where we are to continue working with the other agencies in the Wilcox Non-Profit Center.
 
With two thirds of the funds raised for the new building project Child Advocacy needs to secure a little over one million dollars more before breaking ground. The timeline for construction will be decided this summer after funding for the project is secured.  For more information on how to donate to Child Advocacy's building project, including sponsor and naming opportunities please contact Audra Stahl at 989-463-1422 or audra@linkforfamilies.org. 

Have a wonderful summer!

Sincerely,
Audra Stahl
President & CEO