CA with tag line 

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

Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.

- Matt Walsh

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

Chelsie Kastl
GCSAC Coordinator

Sara Krebs 
GCSAC Prevention

Kelsey Wooten
 GCSAC Prevention Educator

Morgan Rooy
CAN Program Director

 Richelle Davis 
CAN Prevention Educator
Michelle Zombeck 
 CASA Program Director    
Danielle Schmidtman
CASA Recruitment Coordinator
Heather Therrien  
CAC Program Director
Nicole Showers
CAC Case Manager

Mallory Harrier
CAC Intake Coordinator
Board of Directors  

Carolyn Studley
Community Represenative
Vice President 
Matt Schooley
City of Alma Transportation
Jennifer Stambaugh
DeafBlind Central
Sara Bonacci
Sara Bonacci Photography

Colleen Davis
Prosecuting Attorney's Office 
Jim Dubey
Garr Tool

Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions 

Tammy Halfmann
Mercantile Bank

David Justin
 Alma School Board
Jennifer Leppien

John Morey

Mike Morris
Detective/Sgt. Gratiot Co. Sheriff's Dept. 
Alison Morrison
Dept. of Health and Human Services 
Jamie Richardson
Doehring Schultz Insurance Agency

Jennifer Siefker
Tri Lakes Petroleum
Steve Vernon
 Gratiot Integrated Health Network

Wes Wickes
Central MI Youth for Christ

Mark Williams
Alma Police Depart.

Joe Yourchock
Community Representative


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
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.
108 W. Saginaw 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
Diapers: Size 6 & 7
Pull-Ups: Size 4T/5T
Girls Cold-Weather Clothing:
Sizes 18-24M
Sizes: 4,5,6T
Boys Cold Weather Clothing:
Sizes: 4,5,6T
Purple Gentle Can Formula

In honor of Parenting Awareness Month, we are also collecting used family-friendly magazines for our clients. All donations can be dropped off during Child Advocacy's business hours Mon-Fri 9-4.

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!

I had a great time at Child Advocacy with all the staff and I'm glad that experience helped shape my future. I greatly appreciate your help in following my dreams!

Former CMU Intern

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

March is Parenting Awareness Month! 
Below we have an interesting article explaining what's new with our CAN Program as well as an important article on The Medical Marihuana Facilities Ordinance drafted by The City of Alma.

We also encourage you to mark your calendars for upcoming classes and events Child Advocacy is offering. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter,
Staci Bigelow
Volunteer/Event Coordinator 
Check out our website .
Upcoming Events
Trivia Night  The Sequel
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Alma Elks Lodge # 1400 - Alma
Doors open at 6:30, Trivia Play begins at 7:30

No Silent Auction, No Big Production, No Kidding
Just Trivia!

Team tables now available.  Click here to print a registration form, for more information please contact Staci at (989)463-1422.

Charity Basketball Game
Friday, April 13th
Event starts at 6:30pm.
Alma High School Gymnasium  

Game 1: Ithaca vs. Breckenridge Alumni
Game 2: Alma  vs. St. Louis Alumni 

We are looking for Alma, Ithaca, St. Louis, and Breckenridge Alumni who played Varsity Boys Basketball to play in this years charity game. Please contact if you are interesting in playing. Please send your Name, School, Graduation Year, and Shirt Size!

$5 (or donation) at the door. All proceeds to benefit Child Advocacy's Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Programs.
Child Advocacy's CAN Program- What's New
Submitted by: Morgan Rooy
CAN Program Director, CPST
January 2018 marked the re-instatement of our Child Abuse and Neglect Council Committee, or CAN Committee for short. The CAN Committee was in existence from 2009-2014 and we are excited to bring this important group back into Gratiot County. This group is made up of various members of our community who are committed to preventing child abuse and neglect. The main duties include examining child abuse and neglect statistics for Gratiot County, creating plans for addressing safety issues, bringing community awareness to child abuse and neglect prevention services and strategies, and promoting Child Abuse Prevention month activities each April (be on the lookout for our calendar events in the April newsletter!).
After reviewing some startling statistics during our January meeting, the CAN Committee has decided to place a heavy focus on the prevention of child sexual abuse. While this topic can be hard to talk about, it's important that we educate ourselves and empower the children in our lives. One of the ways that Child Advocacy helps is by providing a child sexual abuse prevention training for adults called "Darkness to Light." This 2.5-hour training teaches the 5 steps to protecting from and responding to sexual abuse. Child Advocacy also has free materials for adults that list age-appropriate ways to talk with children about their bodies, conversation starters for parents, child-friendly books, and more. To schedule a Darkness to Light training, learn more about our CAN Committee, or pick up some free materials, contact us at (989) 463-1422 or 

Welcome Chelsie Kastl
GCSAC Coordinator

Hello! My name is Chelsie Kastl and I recently joined the Child Advocacy team as the new Coalition Coordinator for the Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition. I am an Ithaca High School alum, and am so excited to be back in Gratiot County again. It is a special honor to have the opportunity to give back to my hometown for everything it provided to me growing up, and to be a part of a team that is so genuinely invested and loves the community they are a part of.

I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in American Culture, a degree that aims to provide students with a well-versed education concentrated in social sciences. It also provided me with unique opportunities to grow my appreciation of people, cultures, and social dynamics and differences that we come across each day. But, volunteering was the most rewarding part of my education. I worked with youth-based programs for both schools and organizations throughout the Metro Detroit area. My experience included varied opportunities, from helping young children develop basic reading skills to collaborating with teens on efforts to provide support and resources that would help break the poverty trap they thought they were limited to. The more time I spent with these children and teens helped me realize that my true passion was to be the mentor and supporter for them in any way I could. 

I am truly grateful to now have this opportunity that allows me to fully commit my time to being this person for anyone in the community, youth or adult. I'm so excited to see all of what the future at Child Advocacy holds!
City of Alma Drafts Medical Marihuana Facilities Ordinance 
Submitted by: Sara Krebs
GCSAC Prevention Coordinator


What is the Medical Marihuana Facilities Ordinance?
On September 21, 2016 Governor Snyder signed the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) Public Act 281- 283. The MMFLA expanded the medical marihuana facilities that are allowed under Michigan law. Beginning on
December 15 th , 2017 individuals were able to start applying for Medical Marihuana Facility Licenses if a municipality has
adopted an ordinance that allows Medical Marihuana Facilities. The City of Alma has been working on drafting an
ordinance that would allow Medical Marihuana Facilities within the city limits.

As the City of Alma's Draft Medical Marihuana Facilities Ordinance is currently written, if approved, the following would  be allowed within the City of Alma:

  • Establishment of an unlimited number of medical marihuana growing facilities within the City of Alma.
  • Establishment of an unlimited number of medical marihuana processing facilities within the city of Alma.
  • Establishment of an unlimited number of medical marihuana secure transporters within the City of Alma.
  • Establishment of an unlimited number of safety compliance dispensaries within the City of Alma.
  • Establishment of up to 5 dispensary/provisioning facilities within the City Alma.
The ordinance currently states the following stipulations on location of above listed facilities:

  • A facility must be distanced at least 500 feet away from residential zoned districts.
  • A facility must be distanced at least 300 feet away from any K-12 school or city park.
  • Anyone can apply for a license and open a facility if they have been a resident of MI for at least two years.
**After June 30 th , 2018 anyone from anywhere would be eligible to apply for a license and open a facility. Large
operations from other states can establish facilities in Alma after June 30, 2018**

There are several issues to consider when allowing Medical Marihuana Facilities within the City of Alma:

Decreasing Property Values
  • Colorado realtors have faced the issue of people not being interested in the housing market near or in proximity to facilities since 2014.
Crime & Safety
  • Potential explosions due to needed production of hash oil & butane- components that are also used to manufacture methamphetamines.
  • Dispensaries have the potential to attract robberies, shootings, and other acts of violence because they are a cash-only business and maintain their finances directly in the store.
  • Marihuana-related traffic accidents and deaths have risen 48% after Colorado legalized recreational use.
  • 1 in 6 teens who use marihuana become addicted to the drug.
Environmental Impact
  • Facilities often have excessive water and energy demands. In large grow operations, this may mean thousands of very large plants in one location.
  • Colorado has experienced large amounts of water, soil, and air pollution because of the amount of waste products and pesticides the facilities need to sustain plants.
Rising THC Levels
  • THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marihuana, has increased from 1% to above 30% in recent years.
  • Edibles (cookies, gummy bears, suckers, chocolate) on average have 10X the potency of THC levels in a joint.
Current Medical Marihuana Patients
  • The ordinance would not change the process by which Medical Marihuana users obtain marihuana for medical purposes.
The City of Alma will be holding a public hearing on Monday, March 12, 2018 at 5:30 pm at the Alma Municipal Building  to hear public input on the Draft Medical Marihuana Ordinance.

If you are unable to  attend the meeting, but would like to share your thoughts related to the ordinance, you may e-mail  or write a letter to:

City of Alma
Attention:  Aeric Ripley - Assistant City Manager
525 E. Superior St.
Alma, MI 48801

The full Draft Medical Marihuana Ordinance can be found at:

Child Advocacy Online Giving Page

Child Advocacy is trying a new and exciting  way to receive donations! We are introducing an online giving page option through @pay. This easy and fun website provides us with our own link that will allow you to send donations directly to Child Advocacy with the click of a few buttons. 

Every dollar helps our efforts in this community for the prevention of substance abuse, and child abuse and neglect. We hope you will utilize this free and easy way to support all that we do at Child Advocacy. 

Click here to send your donation today, or if you are unable to donate please share our link with friends and family!
Scheduled Classes

Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group
Tuesday, March 13
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
East Superior Christian Church - Alma
Topic of the month: Car Seat Safety and Infant Safe Sleep

Please call our office to RSVP at (989)463-1422 or email

Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
Monday, March 12
1:00 p.m.
YFC - Alma
Please call Sara 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.

We are excited to announce that our annual charity basketball game is slated to be a double header this year!  We have added St. Louis and Breckenridge alumni to the roster.  If you played Varsity Men's Basketball and graduated from Alma, Ithaca, St. Louis, or Breckenridge high school we would love to have you play in our charity game.  All skill levels and abilities welcomed!  We are also looking for alumni Pom Pon ladies to perform in an exciting halftime routine.  For more information contact our office at 989-463-1422. 

Happy Spring!
Audra Stahl
President & CEO