What's New

What’s New

Sherry Thomas-Cloud

A message from CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud

September 8, 2017

Dear Friends:

I hope you like fall as much as I do. Don’t get me wrong: I like warm weather and all that Southwest Michigan has to offer in the summer months. But I love sweater-weather and change of seasons that is fast approaching. I’m also a football fan. Go Broncos!

Before saying goodbye to summer, however, I want to acknowledge the 109 children we were able to send to more than a dozen area summer camps, thanks to the more than $30,000 we raised from big-hearted donors such as you. You kept these children busy reading books, learning how to swim, hiking through the woods, boosting their self-esteem, and just plain having fun. They would not have been able to do this without your support. Thank you.

Of course, our agency responds to the needs of clients young and old in all seasons. And we invite you to join us in this effort through your donations and volunteer service. Please click on the “Ways to Give” button on our website to read about our Year ‘Round Pantry, Holiday Giving, HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund, and other ways you can support the families and children we serve throughout the year.

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Family & Children Services

Teen and Adolescent Suicide Rate Is on the Rise. What Can Be Done?

September 8, 2017

Across the United States, suicides have surged to the highest levels in decades. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicides by teens and younger children have risen sharply, with the rate for girls at its highest level in 40 years. In Michigan, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34 and the third leading cause for ages 10-14.

Why are more children committing suicide? “There is seldom a single cause for suicide,” says Christy Warren, L.B.S.W., a clinician with the Mobile Crisis Response (MCR) program at Family & Children Services. “Rather, it’s the result of many converging factors, usually including an underlying mental health condition and access to lethal means.”

MCR is a comprehensive, community-based service offering immediate response, 24/7/365, for youth in Kalamazoo County who are facing a substance use and/or mental health crisis that may include thoughts and expressions of suicide. Access to Mobile Crisis Response is through Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services access line at 269-373-6000 or 888-373-6200.

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Anne Stefanov

Our Children Are Being Bullied. What Can We Do About It? “Plenty,” Says Our Expert.

September 8, 2017

Remember Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter books and films? Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters? Biff Tannen from Back to the Future?

That’s right: Fictional bullies who tormented fictional kids. But real kids will tell you that real bullies exist, too - in their schools and neighborhoods, on their playgrounds and social media sites, and even in their own homes.

The good news is that no one needs a magic wand, fairy godmother, time-traveling car, or other supernatural forces to make them go away.

“Children have access to tools that will help them take back control over the bullying,” says Anne Stefanov. “But they will need help from their parents, peers, and other adults to identify, practice, and be comfortable using those tools. We all can help.”

Anne is one of eight therapists with the Family And Community Treatment (FACT) program at Family & Children Services...

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Family & Children Services

Holiday Giving Program “Wraps Up” 2016, Launches 2017

September 8, 2017

Yes, summer is barely in our rearview mirror, but the yearend holidays are just around the corner. That means it’s time to check in with Dale Hein, coordinator of the annual Holiday Giving Program at Family & Children Services.

“The Holiday Giving Program is an opportunity to support some of the most vulnerable residents of Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties during the holiday season and beyond,” says Dale. “We match donors’ with specific children, families, and individuals who may otherwise have little to cherish during the holidays.”

In 2016, Dale and his elves matched 111 individual and group donors with 578 individuals in the greater Kalamazoo and Battle Creek communities. Group donors included families, schools, community organizations, churches, small businesses, and big corporations. They donated gifts of clothing, toys, food, household supplies, personal care items, and more.

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