CA with tag line 

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




There's only one thing more precious than our time and that's who we spend it on.

-Leo Christopher

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 Represenative
   
Vice President 
Matt Schooley
Alma City Manager
 
Secretary
Jamie Richardson
Doehring Schultz Insurance Agency
   
Treasurer
Sara Bonacci
Community 
Represenative

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
Detective/Sgt. Gratiot Co. Sheriff's Dept. 
     
Alison Morrison
Dept. of Health and Human Services 
 
Jennifer Siefker
Tri Lakes Petroleum
  
Steve Vernon
 Gratiot Integrated Health Network
 
Mark Williams
Alma Public Safety Administrator 

Joe Yourchock
CMHCM/Community Representative

Kim Vetter
Michigan State Police

Annette Collison
Kahn Consulting, INC.

Garth Anderson
Commercial Bank

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.
 Hours 
8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
 
Breckenridge Police Dept.
 104 E. Saginaw St.
Hours
8:00 a.m.- 5:00  p.m.
Monday - Friday
 
St. Louis Police Dept.
108 W. Saginaw St.
Hours
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
Parent's Choice™ Gentle or Enfamil Gentlease® Formula (purple can) 
Diapers- Sizes 3,5,6
Wipes 
Bibs
Boys shoes
Boy's Clothing Sizes  3, 4, 5, &  6
Girls Clothings Sizes
5 & 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!

What did you like about the Nurturing Parenting Program?

Opportunity for class participation, instructor having knowledge and skills with people, non-judgmental, safe, easy to fit into our schedule.  

Class Participant

Quick Links

 
Join Our Mailing List

Happy Thanksgiving!
 
This month is the 6th annual Trivia Night presented by Child Advocacy, we hope you will join us. Details can be found below. 

We are excited to share that we have hired 2 new employees! You can read introductions from our new staff below.

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

Trivia Night
Saturday, November 17
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Alma Elks Lodge #1400 - Alma

If you are interested in playing or have a donation please contact Staci at (989) 463-1422 or staci@linkforfamilies.org


Darkness to Light's Stewards of 
Children Training
Monday, November 19th 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 
Alma Public Library 
Art & Carra Smith Room 
500 E. Superior St. 
Alma, MI 48801

What is Stewards of Children? Stewards of Children is a prevention training that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed for organizations that serve youth, and for individuals concerned about the safety of children. It is the only nationally distributed, evidence-informed program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors.

Registration is required. A $5 fee is charged per person to cover partial costs of workbooks. Register by contacting Morgan Rooy at (989) 463-1422 or morgan@linkforfamilies.org.
CAC Gratiot County
Year-End Statistics
Submitted by: Heather Therrien
CAC Program Director 
 
The Children's Advocacy Center of Gratiot County (CAC) is a Child Advocacy program that provides direct intervention services to alleged victims of 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. Children are referred to the CAC by law enforcement, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Gratiot County Prosecutor.
 
This year (October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018), 507 individuals were served at the CAC. Below is a breakdown of support services provided to children and families who visited the Center:
  • 100 children received onsite forensic interviews.
  • 92% of these children were alleged victims of sexual abuse while 8% were alleged victims of severe physical abuse or were witnesses to significant violence.
  • At least 97% of victims knew their alleged offender(s); 54% were family members.
  • Of these children, most (42%) were age 7-12, 24% were 0-6, and 34% were 13-17.
  • Girls outnumbered boys three to one (76% girls, 24% boys).
  • 507 victims, non-offending caregivers and siblings were offered victim and family advocacy services.
  • 17% of children interviewed were referred to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital - Center for Child Protection for medical evaluation and 9% received acute medical services prior to their visit to the CAC.
  • 72% of children interviewed were receiving or were referred for individual mental health services.
While studies vary, it is estimated that for every child who discloses abuse, there are as many as four who do not. One of the reasons children disclose is because a trusted adult noticed the signs and symptoms of abuse and asked the child directly. If you are uncertain what to look for, how to respond, or how to report abuse, the staff at Child Advocacy facilitates discussions and delivers individualized presentations and training for any interested person, group, or organization in Gratiot County. To find out more about these available resources, contact Heather or Morgan at (989)463-1422.
 
To immediately report abuse or suspected abuse, contact Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Centralized Intake for Abuse and Neglect at 855-444-3911.
Welcome Jennifer Leppien

Hi! I'm Jennifer Leppien and I am so happy to be working for Child Advocacy as a Parenting Coach. I've called Gratiot County home for the past 15 years. My husband, John and I have 7 children and 5 beautiful grandchildren. 

For the past 10 years, I have volunteered in our community as a CASA; Court Appointed Special Advocate. Additionally, I have served on the Child Advocacy Board of Directors, the Michigan Governor's Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, and as a Stephen's Ministry Minister and Leader through Alma First Church of God. I've taught Art Reach in Alma schools, coached soccer and spent many wonderful years playing with children at the His Kids after school program. I am currently on the CAN and Development Committees at Child Advocacy, and serve on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Michigan Foster and Adoptive Coalition.

Professionally, I have  an Associate in Applied Science/Social Work Degree from Mott Community College, and have worked for Livingston County CMH as a Mental Health Technician.

As a Parenting Coach, I will provide trauma informed supervised visitation services to families when referred from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Serving as a CASA has made me very aware of the benefits and challenges of family visits, and has created a desire to step aside from my role as a CASA in order to provide more hands-on assistance to families.

She Needs You........
Submitted by: Michelle Zombeck
CASA Program Director


From October of 2017 to September of 2018 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) had 15 volunteer Advocates. Those 15 Advocates served 39 children involved in abuse and neglect cases in Gratiot County. Each volunteer donated approximately 10-15 hours per month of their time to watch over children in the system and to advocate on their behalf until the children were placed in a safe, permanent home. With over 1,900 hours spent in that time period we still were not able to reach all of the children in need. In 2019 our goal is to reach more children but we need help.
 
To find out how you can help ensure that every child has a voice please call (989) 463-1422, view https://prezi.com/view/rhzeM2zmcTH1ds3kxsrT/ or fill out an application at  https://goo.gl/forms/mDyS0NkhkLQYu9fo2 A new volunteer training will begin November 14, 2018.
Welcome Rachel Letsche

My name is Rachel Letsche and I am the new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Recruitment Coordinator for Gratiot County! I am responsible for recruiting and training all of our CASA Volunteers, in addition to promoting the CASA Program as a whole. CASA volunteers ensure that a child's best interest and needs are being met and gives them a voice in the process.

I graduated from Central Michigan University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I have spent the past 5 years working with Women's Aid Services (now RISE) as a shelter advocate and volunteer, and the past two years as a coordinator for mental health services in Mid-Michigan through a contract with MDOC. While in college, I was a member of the Euphonium Section for the Chippewa Marching Band. Fire up Chips!

Outside of work, I enjoy reading, gardening, traveling, and yoga. My fiance and I have 2 fur babies- a 6 year old cat named Xena, and a 2.5 year old beagle named Vernon. I learned about CASA while I was finishing my undergraduate degree and knew I wanted to make a difference and support children in foster care. I am honored to share my passion of CASA as the new Recruitment Coordinator!
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, November 13th 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 m organ@linkforfamilies.org.

Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
Monday, November 19th
November coalition date change for the observance of
Veteran's Day.
1:00 p.m.
YFC - 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

November 1st - Child Advocacy 101
December 6th - Internet Safety

Child Advocacy will be hosting monthly lunch & learn's on a variety of topics. We hope you will join us. Please contact Child Advocacy to RSVP at (989)463-1422.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and thank you for your continued support of Child Advocacy.  

From our families to yours we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

 
Sincerely,
Audra Stahl
President & CEO