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Sherry Thomas-Cloud

A Message from CEO Sherry Thomas-Cloud

June, 2020

Dear Friends:

We know this to be true: racism and social injustice must end so that all Americans can live in a world where there is justice and equality for everyone, regardless of race, color, ethnic or religious background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Our nation has been rocked by heartbreak and outrage at the murder of George Floyd—and too many others like him for too long. If any good has come from this, it is that Floyd’s death has opened the eyes of people in our country and around the world to bring us together in unity to say no more to injustice! With our eyes wide open it is now everyone’s responsibility to advocate for positive change!

At Family & Children Services, we continue to work toward the day when the color of one’s skin is not a prerequisite to being valued or treated fairly and with dignity. Our mission “to support, strengthen and preserve the safety, well-being and dignity of children, individuals and families” extends to all individuals and all families.

As an organization serving a highly diverse population, with more than three-quarters of our clients living 200% below federal poverty levels, we recognize the trauma that exists for people of color because of generational inequities in access to quality health care and education, stable housing and employment. In the State of Michigan, more than half of all children in the Child Welfare system are African American, yet African American children represent less than 18 percent of all children in the state. Data also reveals that communities of color, primarily low-income African Americans, are being hit disproportionally hard by fatalities of the current Coronavirus pandemic.

In how we deliver our services we consider all of this and continue to dedicate ourselves to the ongoing journey of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We must have the courage to have difficult conversations about race, and recognize and confront our own biases. We are committed to incorporating our core values into our work with our clients, business practices, hiring, training and all of our policies and procedures.

I hope you will take the time to read our 2019 Annual Report to learn more about our values and how we continue to align our services with the needs of the community we serve. In 2019, we worked together to create a statement that embodies our core values of Respect, Integrity, Service, and Empowerment - RISE. In 2020, we have relied on these values to help us bring creative solutions to continue our services in these challenging times.

Together we must RISE to exceed our expectations and exemplify our values. We must RISE to excellence in our service to the families and children of our community and in our workplace. We must RISE to continuous improvement, making each day better than the day before.

With Much Gratitude and Hope for the Future,


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

Pack a Child for Camp

Pack a Child for Camp Scholarship Update

June, 2020

We asked you to help us send children to summer camp this year—and you responded generously. Every year, Family & Children Services sends nearly 100 children we serve to an area camp that is matched to each child’s individual needs. Many have never been to camp before. Children get to swim, hike, kayak, sing camp songs and tell stories, make new friends, and form life-long memories. They get to be kids again.

And then COVID-19 happened.

Camps everywhere were closing and cancelling summer sessions. The health and safety of the children and families we serve is our highest priority, and, sadly, we’ve set aside plans for summer camp this year. Your donation dollars, however, are equally safe. When it is once again safe to do so, we will use your donations to send more children to experience what may be the most memorable summer of their lives.

To all who donated to summer camp scholarships—we thank you and assure you that your gifts will remain secure until camps are widely available again. We know the children are already counting the days.

2019 Annual Report

It Was a Year for us to RISE

June, 2020

The Family & Children Services 2019 Annual Report is now available, and we invite you to read about the strong year behind us that has led to the challenging year ahead.

The year 2019 was marked by defining our values, the values that guide us in our personal lives, our work, and our service to the community. Together with staff, our board of directors, partners and clients, we gathered to examine and define the work we do and why and how we do it.

We call the result RISE, an acronym for Respect, Integrity, Service, and Empowerment. The annual report tells the stories of how we defined those values along with stories that highlight how each value comes alive in our work and throughout our organization.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded and challenged us in the first months of 2020, RISE became our roadmap to finding creative ways to handle the challenges we suddenly faced. If ever there was a test of RISE, this has been that time.

Please read our 2019 Annual Report to find out how we did.

Never a Better Time to Give

June, 2020

The world as we knew it turned upside down as COVID-19 emerged with deadly results in 2020. Those who were not considered essential workers stayed at home in isolation—but the staff at Family & Children Services continued to provide critical services to our clients and community.

Unfortunately the crises our clients face do not take a break during a pandemic. In fact, mental health challenges often escalate during isolation, as does domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. The needs of our clients became even greater as the pandemic spread, and the barriers we faced increased in offering our help.

With your generosity, Family & Children Services was able to rise to the challenge. With creative solutions and technology, we continued to reach out to our clients and provide help where and however it was needed. We used technology to facilitate family visits and conducted therapy and consultations through telehealth options.

Now more than ever, HANDLE WITH CARE, our annual fund, continues to help us to provide services and meet the increased needs of our clients. It is the fund we use to pay for a variety of client needs that recently have included a telephone so a teen could continue therapy sessions, food for a family after too many meals were missed, new tires so a parent could get to work, and payment for an electric bill when the lights went out.

HANDLE WITH CARE is the emergency fund for those we serve. It is funded by your donor dollars, and every dollar is used for those in critical need. There has never been a greater need than now. There has never been a better time to give than now.

New incentives are available through the recently enacted 2020 CARES Act, allowing an additional $300 deduction for cash donations. Many businesses and organizations are also offering matching gifts to support donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are sincerely grateful for your support at this time. Please contact our Development Office at 269-344-0202 x 4413 for questions about how to give a gift to HANDLE WITH CARE. Secure online donations may also be made at fcsource.org.

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