A newsletter for friends of Highfields                                                         April 1, 2015
One Week's Notice
Thanks to the support you give Highfields, Peyton and Bethany are happy and safe in their home. Here, they watch a football game together.

   Like many toddlers, Peyton liked to test his boundaries. He made a habit of running away from his mother, Bethany, at all the wrong times - like when they were in public places.

   One afternoon, as Peyton tried to dash away from his mother, she reached out and grabbed him by the arm before he got too far. They fell into a tangled and frustrated mess as a stranger turned the corner. What the stranger saw alarmed her and she called the police.

   Soon, Child Protective Services (CPS) were involved. When they came to Bethany's home, they were very concerned about  the level of disarray it was in. They gave her one week; if she could not get her home into shape by then, the city would seize the house and she would lose Peyton.

   "I didn't have time to freak out," Bethany said, now six months later. "I told them, 'you will not take my son.'"

   Bethany's parents took Peyton on a vacation and Bethany spent the whole week cleaning. She got six hours of sleep in five days. She was determined to get her home clean.

   "I would set my alarm clock for 7 a.m. and if I wasn't where I wanted to be that night, I didn't sleep," she said.

   Her hard work paid off. When the CPS workers came back to inspect her home the following week, they thought they were in the wrong place.

   But even with a clean home, CPS recommended that Bethany participate in Highfields' Families Together Building Solutions program (FTBS). This would help her uncover some of the problems she was encountering with Peyton.

   "I looked at it as a positive," she said. "Most people fight the system, but I welcomed it."

   Her FTBS counselor, Dave, was able to help Bethany pinpoint the areas she needed to work on. He also helped her respond better to Peyton's outbursts.

   "When Peyton had a tantrum, Dave was able to actually see how it started, why it started and how I reacted," she said. "He gave me advice on how to handle it and not let it get to that point."

   She said the hardest part was the beginning - cleaning her home and letting Dave, a stranger, into it.

   "You think, 'is this person working for me or is he working for CPS?'" she said. "But it was obvious he was there for me."

   Bethany completed the FTBS program successfully, but continues to attend group counseling sessions at Highfields' Lansing office. She says she is happy to have the opportunity to work with different case workers, counselors and parents who have been through similar situations.

   "I made a bad situation into as positive as you can make it," she said. "I've learned a lot and I appreciate the support from Dave and Highfields."


Your support helps keep programs like FTBS available. For more information about Highfields' FTBS Program, visit www.highfields.org/ftbs.
Springport Reaching Higher show off their new shoes before testing them out for the first time. Springport, Vandercook Lake and Leslie Reaching Higher programs received new shoes from the 45 for 45 #GivingTuesday campaign.

   As a father of three, Davey Long encourages his kids to pursue their interests and work toward their goals. That's why last fall, when his ten-year-old son, Isaac, asked him and his brother, Kenny, to run in a community 5K, he agreed.

   "I was proud that he decided to do it himself and I was flattered that he asked us to do it with him," he said.

   Isaac was a part of the running club at Vandercook Lake's Reaching Higher program. Jason Tello, site coordinator at Vandercook Lake, said they do their best to cater to the interests of their students.

   "We're always coming up with different ideas that might catch some intrigue," he said. "Running Club worked in some of the other Reaching Higher programs, so we thought we'd try it out."

   Running Club taught the students how to stretch properly, what to eat and how to prepare for running in cold weather. Reaching Higher even supplied the kids with proper running shoes.

   "The very first day we started actually running, half the kids were trying to run in hi-top casual shoes or loafers," Jason said. "It was kind of a no-brainer. They would have definitely not been able to do a 5K in the shoes they were wearing."

   The deal was if the kids stuck with Running Club for the entire six weeks, they would be able to keep the shoes.

   "Isaac was really geeked," Davey said. "I was impressed [with Reaching Higher]. The shoes were florescent pink and he's into those florescent colors."

   The new shoes got the kids excited about running and motivated them to participate in the 5K run that Isaac asked Davey to participate in. The shoes were a big hit, but the Reaching Higher coordinators knew that the next school year would bring more kids who wanted to run but didn't have the proper shoes.

   "We usually have about 45 kids throughout our Reaching Higher programs who want to run," said Brenda Weck, Highfields' Reaching Higher program coordinator.

   Highfields created a plan to prepare for a new group of kids who want to run. On #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Highfields asked community members to donate $45 to go toward a pair of shoes for a student who wanted to run. Our goal was to raise enough money to buy 45 kids new running shoes.

   On Tuesday, December 2, thanks to the donations of 18 generous people, we reached that goal. And now, with spring here and the running season beginning again, Reaching Higher is excited to be purchasing new shoes for a new group of students excited to learn about running. Much like Isaac, some of them may find they are pretty good at it.

   "For weeks on end, I couldn't get over how proud I was of Isaac," Davey said. "I saw how hard he tried and he succeeded! I was excited for him. I hadn't experienced this feeling before as a father. That feeling was the best thing I got out of this race."



Learn more about Highfields' Reaching Higher Program at highfields.org/reaching-higher.

In This Issue

Upcoming Events
Annual Golf Outing

Our 35th annual golf outing will be held on Monday, June 8, at Forest Akers West. Foursomes and individuals are welcome; to RSVP, please contact
Deanna Rowen at dlrowen@highfields.org
or (517) 628-2287 ex. 370 or register online at www.highfields.com/events.

Board of Directors Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. at Walnut Hills Golf Club. Please RSVP to Belle Black at bblack@highfields.org or (517) 628-2287 ex. 335.
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About Highfields
Highfields is a human services nonprofit agency providing opportunities for at-risk children and families through counseling and support services, residential care and education programs.

Highfields serves 11 mid-Michigan counties and helps over 6,000 people each year.

Learn more about Highfields at www.highfields.org.

Our Mission
To provide opportunities to children, youth and families to be more responsible for their own lives and to strengthen their relationships with others.

Our Vision
To create bright futures for children, their families and the community
Board of Directors

Sheila Brake, Chairperson
Accident Fund

Sara Bennett, Chair-Elect
Two Men and A Truck

Anethia Brewer, Secretary
Ingham County Court

Mike Zamiara, Treasurer
Integrated Systems Consultants

Brian Gallagher, Past Chair
Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C.


Kristin Bartley
Two Men and A Truck

Bill Clark
Clark Construction Company

Patrick Dean
Dean Transportation

Mark Emmert
Dart Bank

Michael Foster
Plante & Moran, PLLC

Alan Goschka
Bergman Associates

Michael Hull
Spartan Linen Services

James Hunsanger
MSU Federal Credit Union

Eric Jamison
Michigan Attorney General's Office

Karen Johns
Retired DHS

Mark Kellogg
Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C.

Jeff Klug
Klug Law Firm

Wallace Markham
Retired JP Morgan Chase

Nick Oertel
Foster Swift Collins and Smith, P.C.

Doug Peters
Christman Constructors

Katie Rexrode
Jackson National Life

Tanda Reynolds
Retired DHS

Marlon Roberts
Office of General Counsel

Reshma Sambare
Miller Canfield

Tom Shewchuk
Logicalis, Inc.

Amy Tripp
Chalgian, Tripp Law Offices


Brian Philson



Timothy Monroe
VP, Clinical Services

Jill Clark
Director, Quality and Program Development

Edward St. John
Director, Finance

Derek Hitchcock
Director, Residential Services

Beverley McGill
Director, Fund Development

Onondaga Campus
5123 Old Plank Road
Onondaga, MI 49264

Jackson Office
1206 Clinton Road
Jackson, MI 49202

Lansing Office
4305 S. Cedar Street
Lansing, MI 48910

Howell Office
204 S. Highlander Way, Suite 3
Howell, MI 48843