CA with tag line 

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

"I'm not raising my kids to survive the world. I'm raising them to 
change it."
 - Steven Furtick

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

Garth Anderson
Commercial Bank

Brett Baublitz
Transportation Director/City of Alma

Annette 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

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


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

Infant Formula
(yellow can)

Gentle Formula
(purple can)

  Size 5, 6, & 7 Diapers

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!

"My class learned a lot and they now feel empowered. By far one of the best presenters we have come into our schools."

 Elementary teacher, talking about the Protect Yourself Program

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

Did you know Child Advocacy hosts a Lunch and Learn the first Thursday of every month on a variety of topics? This month we will have a special guest, Dr. Brandi Stupica, teaching about Attachment Theory. Full details 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 Banquet
Join us as we celebrate those who advocate and care for children and for those who strive to improve the welfare of children and their families! 
Wednesday, May 22
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.   
Central Michigan Youth for Christ - Alma
Please call the Child Advocacy office at (989) 463-1422 to purchase tickets in advance.
The Threshold of Making 
a Difference
Submitted by: Michelle Zombeck
CASA Program Director

Marty Cauley said, "How many times in our lives do we stand at the threshold of making a difference? We evaluate the options and decide whether we want to get involved or just turn a blind eye and head home. Daily, it seems, we face numerous chances to make somebody's life a little easier, even if it means ours may be a little more difficult.

CASA of Gratiot County has three people that decided to cross that threshold and get involved. Please meet our newest CASA volunteer advocates Sarah Swisher, Heather Ballien, and Veronica Riess-Dawe. 

Sarah Swisher was born and raised in Gratiot County. She is a graduate from Alma College with a communication and customer service background. Sarah currently works at Isabella Bank and volunteers as a coach for Special Olympics. Sarah genuinely lights up when she talks about her precious one year old. Sarah believes in hard work and being a positive influence for others. Sarah has been described as hardworking, caring and motivated to make a difference.

When Sarah was asked why she wanted to volunteer, she shared that she wanted to "be a voice for someone who is unable or afraid to speak for themselves".

Heather Ballien has spent almost 30 years in the field of education as a teacher and administrator. Heather is currently employed as the Superintendent at Great Lakes Cyber Academy. Heather is the proud mother of three sons, she enjoys volunteering as a coach for a variety of sports and is actively working on her doctorate degree. Heather has been described as knowledgeable, passionate and caring.

When Heather was asked why she wanted to volunteer she shared that "I want to be able to help children in our community and give them a voice".

Veronica Riess-Dawe has spent the past 17 years working in the healthcare field. She started out as a Certified Nurse's Assistant, became an LPN, RN and she is now a Nurse Practitioner. Veronica has a passion for children and you can see the pride in her eyes when she talks about her six year old son. Veronica enjoys volunteering at her church and with her local homeless shelter. Veronica has been described as compassionate, professional and dedicated.

When Veronica was asked why she wanted to volunteer she shared, "I have a passion for helping children. This is an area where I feel that I could serve the community well".

CASA of Gratiot County is currently accepting applications for our next volunteer training. Please contact Michelle or Rachel for more information at 989-463-1422.

Now is a Great Time to Talk to Your Kids About Body Safety
Submitted by: Heather Therrien
CAC Program Director

I know those might be uncomfortable situations or uncomfortable conversations...but it's a lot less uncomfortable than having to deal with the fact that your kids have been sexually abused.
Kyle Stephens
Sister Survivor

Over 90% of children who visit the Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County come to us as a result of sexual abuse allegations. Of the children we see, 96% know the alleged offender - 71% of alleged offenders are members of the child's family. Numbers like these may seem striking but they are consistent with national trends.

Individuals who prey on children and teens work very hard over time to gain the trust of their victims and, often, their parents. They are people with whom parents and children regularly interact. After learning their child has been abused, it is not uncommon to hear a parent say "I never would have thought he/she could do something like this" when talking about an offender who abused their child.

What do we do about it? The first step in preventing child and teen sexual abuse is to recognize that it can and does happen in every community including ours. It happens to children of any age from all different backgrounds and upbringings. While we shouldn't spend our days paranoid about predators, we must dispel the notion that "it can't happen to MY child."

There is a great deal of discomfort from kids and parents alike when it comes to talking about private body parts. If adults are struggling to talk with their kids about these issues, it makes sense that kids would also struggle to talk with parents if something happened to them. Nationally, only 33% of sexual abuse incidents/cases are identified and even fewer are reported.

With that in mind, we must arm our kids with the knowledge and comfort level they need to empower themselves. That means candid conversations about body safety and developing a clear plan with them on what to do and who to tell if someone says or does something that makes them uncomfortable.

There is no better time to talk with your children and teens. Don't know where to start? We can help. We offer a variety of training's throughout the year and information on upcoming oppurtunites can be found at ( and our Facebook page (Child Advocacy-Gratiot County) or by calling 989-463-1422.
2019 Alumni Charity Basketball Game

Thank you everyone for an incredible night! We raised $6230.00 from the game for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. These funds help us continue our work to improve the welfare of children and their families! 

Thank you to our Sponsors, the Players, DuHadway Dance Dimensions, Allison Snearey and the Middle School Volunteers, Alma High School for allowing us to use the gym, Alma Sports Boosters, Eric Huff, Topher Goggin, Brad Stambaugh, Kiley Kochensparger, Nate Brown, the school mascots, our guests from the Army National Guard, the staff at Child Advocacy, and everyone who came out to support us!!! Thank you!!!!
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, May 14th 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

Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
Monday, May 13th
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

May 2nd - CAN Program 
June 6th - CASA Program

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.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Child Abuse Prevention Month activities in April!  We loved seeing all of your "Blue Monday" photos.

We hope you will join us at our annual banquet this month.  See ticket information above.

Stay tuned for a big announcement from Child Advocacy in May.  Follow us on Facebook for up to the minute news.

Audra Stahl
President & CEO