A newsletter for friends of Highfields                                                         December 1, 2014

    Every year, our Reaching Higher team learns what their students feel passionate about. Their goal is to help them learn about their interests and develop their skills. Over the years, many students have shown a strong interest in running.
    Our Reaching Higher coordinators responded to this by teaching them proper training, stretching and running techniques. But some of the coordinators noticed something that couldn't be taught. Many of their students had old, worn out or improper shoes.
    "We knew that training and running in these shoes could cause serious injury over time," Brenda Weck, Reaching Higher's program director, said. "We also knew that some of the kids couldn't afford proper shoes."
    Highfields was able to provide 12 students with new running shoes, allowing them to continue to train. Some of them were even able to participate in a community 5K run with their parents!
    This #GivingTuesday, Highfields wants to continue that effort by giving even more young athletes the chance to pursue their goals. We are aiming to give 45 kids new shoes - 45 pairs of shoes for 45 kids. But we need your help. $45 will buy a new pair of shoes. You can help us out by donating here and by spreading the word - tell your friends and family about #GivingTuesday and Highfields.
A Family Legacy
TaKarra Wilson with her dad, Reggie.

    TaKarra Wilson takes after her dad, Reggie. They're both tough and they both have big hearts. That might be why they're both good at being residential counselors.

    Reggie worked for Highfields for 13 years. He was a residential counselor, a team leader, a substitute teacher and worked with the Youth Attention Program at the Onondaga Campus. He worked alongside his two brothers, Ronnie and Rodney.

    "Our mom was always taking in kids from the community when I was young, so it just comes naturally to me and my brothers," Reggie said, explaining why he and his brothers were drawn to helping kids. "My friends and other kids in the neighborhood called my mom, 'mom.' Our door was always open to anyone. It's just how we were raised."

    When Reggie, Ronnie and Rodney worked at Highfields, TaKarra and her cousins frequently visited the residential campus and even made friends with some of the boys they worked with.

    "They always seemed to have fun, my dad and my uncles, because they genuinely enjoyed their jobs," TaKarra recalls.

    Ronnie agrees that their mother was a big influence on his and his brothers' career path. He also sees that caring for others is a Wilson family trait.

    "It's a bonding thing for us and I think TaKarra really likes that," he said. "She likes building relationships with the kids."

    Just as TaKarra could see that her dad and uncles loved their jobs, Reggie and his brothers could see that she had the right qualities to excel as a residential counselor.

    "I knew she would be great at that," Reggie said. "She's always been a nurturer."

    TaKarra knows she has a lot of personality traits in common with her dad and uncles. They are all caring and honest. They all have the ability to recognize that people make mistakes.

    "We're not perfect," she admits. "That makes it easier to do the job, because we get it."

    Reggie agrees that this helps them do their job. They teach the residents lessons and skills to develop better communication and independent living skills. Reggie says he was able to apply the lessons and skills to his own life, making him a better communicator.

    "I learned a lot about myself in that job," he said. "I learned how to deal with problems I might not have dealt with before."

    Reggie said being able to build impactful relationships with the kids is essential. He told the story of one boy he worked with at Highfields. When the boy got into trouble, his parents weren't there for him. But Reggie was. Reggie encouraged him to go to Lansing Community College. From there, the boy went to Arizona State University. He now has a family and a good life in Arizona.

    "I knew if I didn't turn my back on him, he would be OK," explained Reggie. "He just needed someone to believe in him."

    Rodney and Ronnie also had times they gave emotional support to kids who needed it.

    "That's why you get into that line of work," Rodney explained. "You like to see the kids' progress. You like to see them achieve their goals."

    Takarra knows the importance making strong connections with the residents - in fact, it's what she enjoys most. But she also knows that it's equally important to build relationships with her coworkers.

    "You build relationships with the people you work with," she said. "It's almost like extended family."

In This Issue
Upcoming Events

Tuesday, December 2 is #GivingTuesday! This is a day to give back to your community after a weekend of getting deals. Please participate in this international celebration of giving. Donate to Highfields here.  We appreciate any and all donations.

Toy Drive

The Highfields annual toy drive will last from Friday, Nov. 28 until Monday, Dec. 15. It is sponsored by WLNS and the Mid-Michigan Ford Dealers. Please donate a toy to a family in need this holiday season.

Participating locations:
  • Grand Ledge Ford Lincoln
  • Seymour Ford Lincoln
  • Courtesy Ford
  • Pauli Ford
  • Candy Ford
  • La Fontaine Ford
  • Signature Ford
  • Brooklyn Ford
  • Ken Stillwell Ford
  • Bob Maxey Ford
  • WLNS
  • Highfields' Jackson Office
  • Highfields' Lansing Office
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About Highfields
Highfields is a human services nonprofit 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.

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 Constructors

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

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

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