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Sherry Thomas-Cloud

A message from CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud

December 14, 2017

Dear Friends:

Have you noticed that the yearend holidays are nearly upon us? If you’re like me, you love the season, yet feel like you’re never quite ready for it. I believe that showing love and compassion to others are the best gifts we can give and we can do this year round! No bows and wrapping paper required! This past year at Family & Children Services, I have been overwhelmed by the enormous level of support each of you have shown. My hope is that our gift back to you is our commitment to be good stewards of your gifts and our pledge to work diligently to positively impact the lives of our most vulnerable and fragile children and families.

I’m glad to report that the Agency’s annual Holiday Giving Program is ready for the holidays with a record-setting number of community donors committed to providing gifts of food, clothing, toys, personal care items to the children and adults we work with. If you missed the chance to donate to that program, please consider donating similar gifts to our Year-Round Pantry or to our Family Center Resource Room and LINK Program. Visit our “Ways to Give” webpage to learn how.

While you’re on that page, please also consider a financial gift to our HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund. Your gift directly helps at-risk children and adults who are often in crisis and have nowhere else to turn for help in our community. Read about their stories and how your gift helps them in the article about HANDLE WITH CARE in this newsletter.

We have included an important article about Adverse Childhood Experiences (or ACEs), that explains how these experiences create trauma and the negative impact on the lives of children and adults. Family & Children Services is dedicated to help break the cycle of generational trauma that ripples through our communities.

Finally, please join me, our staff and board members, and other friends of the agency as we honor and celebrate our newest Family & Children Services Life Members: Ed Bauman, Chip Falahee, Craig Lubben, and Florence Upjohn Orosz.

Thank you for all you do for Family & Children Services. I hope you and yours have a blessed holiday season and new year.

Sherry Thomas-Cloud
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services

Read more >

Sherry Thomas-Cloud

Honorary Life Members

December 14, 2017

The Family & Children Services Board of Directors recently conferred the title of Honorary Life Member on four longtime friends of the agency: Ed Bauman, James B. “Chip” Falahee, Jr., Craig H. Lubben,and Florence Upjohn Orosz

Honorary non-voting life memberships are based on the recipients’ years of service to the agency, their leadership on the board or campaigns, and their special contributions to the improvement of social and economic conditions in our communities. 

They join these current Honorary Life Members:

  • Robert E. Boughner
  • Ross E. Chapman
  • Barbara L. James
  • Barbara J. Kreis
  • Mary E. McLean
  • Ann V. Parfet
  • James A. Shamp
  • Elaine Van Leeuwen
  • Donald Vander Kooy
  • Larry J. Wilson

Read more about our newest Honorary Life Members here >


Family & Children Services Joins Community-Wide Effort to Break Generational Cycle of Adverse Childhood Experiences

December 14, 2017

It’s no secret that childhood traumas – also called Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs – can lead to behavioral and social problems in adolescents and teens. But scientific evidence demonstrates that ACEs also increase the risk of experiencing serious physical, mental, and behavioral problems later in life. Further, adults who had ACEs tend to have children with ACEs.

This transfer of childhood trauma from one generation to the next is considered to be the most powerful determinant of the public’s health. Yet, health experts say, a widespread approach to raising awareness of ACEs and reducing their impact on both children and adults has lagged.

“Preventing ACEs and their intergenerational transfer is the greatest opportunity we have to improve the well-being of our communities’ public health,” says Diane Marquess, director of behavioral health services at Family & Children Services.

Marquess is part of a community cross-sector workgroup of medical providers, mental health and social service professionals, educators, criminal justice experts, faith leaders, and others across the Kalamazoo region convened by United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region and ISAAC.

Their goal is to raise awareness of ACEs and the toll they take on our community, increase communication and collaboration across community treatment and service sectors, bring a “trauma-informed” approach to treating people affected by ACEs, and “build resilience” to families and communities in order to break the intergenerational transmission of ACEs.

Read more >


“Helping cut through layers of challenge.”

December 14, 2017

Family & Children Services clients often face many barriers to healing: mental illness, physical disability, addiction, homelessness, poverty.

Yet, one intervention from an agency staff member can cut through these layers and put a life that’s spinning out of control back on track.

“Calming advice from a crisis counselor, a word of encouragement from a parent coach, or a loving embrace by a foster parent can make all the difference between hope and despair,” says CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud.

Some clients, she adds, are also just one small financial shortfall away from a full-blown crisis that can disrupt an entire family: a missed paycheck, an unexpected bill, a car that won’t start.

“In these cases, the agency’s HANDLE WITH CARE annual fund – made possible by our generous donors – can make all the difference,” Thomas-Cloud says.

All HANDLE WITH CARE funds go directly to meet critical client needs and deliver direct client service. For 30 years, it’s been a strong safety net for thousands of individuals and families who turn to Family & Children Services when no other source of help is available in the community.

“I know our staff members change lives for the better through their professional interventions. I believe our donors do the same thing through their contributions to HANDLE WITH CARE.”

Read more >

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