It is said that change is a constant, and indeed it is. Yet, thankfully, some things remain the same. As I read the next chapter of Mary Becktell’s (previously Mary Corcoran) and Fiona Holmes’ history of Family & Children Services, I paused at this line:
“Twenty-eight years old in 1931, the Kalamazoo Civic Improvement League had officially established itself as an essential part of the city and county’s burgeoning social services infrastructure.”
Today, the Kalamazoo Civic Improvement League is known as Family & Children Services. While in 1931, our community was struggling under the weight of the Great Depression, today we struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. When crises happen, we step to the forefront—as we always have.
I invite you to read Chapter 5 of this history and be inspired to know that we can withstand even the most challenging of circumstances. Whatever the crisis, and when challenged with increased need, Family & Children Services will always rise to meet those needs.
In “Preparing for a Pandemic,” read about the careful preparations we underwent at Family & Children Services to ensure that both staff and clients remain safe while client needs are met. Our COVID-19 PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE PLAN is constantly being reviewed and updated as circumstances change. Science guides us as do the needs of our clients. If we have not missed a beat during this difficult time, it is because every member of our team has followed guidelines and maintained the highest level of commitment to those who need our help the most.
One of the statistics that tends to climb during a challenge like this one is the rate of suicide. In “Ask the Question. Let’s talk about Suicide,” read about the stunning numbers of suicides in our community, especially among our youth. While we want you to envision the faces of those who have lost their lives, we also want you to read about what we can all do to bring these numbers down. Kindness matters. An open ear and a willing shoulder to lean upon can save lives. Our Mobile Crisis Response team is staffed by our very own heroes, available at all hours when the call for help comes. A team leader shares her best advice in how you can help when someone has lost all hope.
Finally, we highlight three donors who have helped us with their generous support during this challenging summer. Eaton, as they have for so many years, continues to support foster families by filling baskets with board games, gift cards, and other treats. The Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo held another successful fundraiser for children in our FACT program, providing back-to-school clothing and supplies. We also want to thank two donors who donated vehicles to support our programs – Lakeview Ford Battle Creek and Carrie and Stephen Morrow. These vehicles will be used to transport clients for crisis services and foster care programs.
Together, we will keep our community healthy and our infrastructure strong.
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services