525 N. State Street  Suite 4 Alma, MI 48801 
(989) 463-1422

school children


"There is a brilliant child

locked inside every student."  


- Marva Collins -  



In This Issue
Nurturing Parenting Program
Managing School Bullying
GCSAC Update
Get to Know Lisa Cannon
Lending Library
Scheduled Classes


About Us 


 Child Advocacy is a non-profit agency with a mission to improve the welfare of children and their families through education, training, and support for the prevention of substance abuse and child abuse and neglect.

 Our Staff
Audra Stahl -
Executive Director

Ronda Sorensen -
 Parent Educator

Pam Mahin -
Training Coordinator and Office Manager

Brenda Shafley-
Office Assistant 
Lisa Cannon- 
GSAC Coordinator
 Kris Olejniczak -
Prevention Educator 

Board of Directors 

President -
Kent Schulze
Dept. of Human Services

Vice President -
Wes Wickes 
Youth for Christ

Treasurer -
Madonna Adkins
EightCAP inc.

Secretary -
 Kim Vetter
MI State Police
Ithaca Post

Lori Apple
Comm. Mental Health - Isabella Co.

Kristin Bakker
Prosecuting Attorney's Office
 Wendy Currie
Mid Michigan Dist. Health Dept.
Toni Davis
Women's Aid Service
Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions

 Mike Hetzman
 Comm. Mental Health - Gratiot Co.
 Mary Hunt
Retired-EightCAP inc.

David Justin
 Alma School Board

Dan Buschle
Commercial Bank
 Jennifer Leppien
CASA Volunteer 
 Carolyn Studley
Alma Middle School

car seat

Seat Safety


Did you know that at Child Advocacy we can install and provide a safety inspection for your child safety seat?  Child Advocacy has a nationally certified safety seat technician available!
To make an appointment call
 or 800-552-4489

Community Cafe

The Cafe provides a safe place for food, fellowship, inspiration, and encour-agement for people experiencing hard times.


What: free weekly meal


When: Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


Where: First Presbyterian Church - Alma


Who: Everyone is welcome.  Kid's Kafe at 4:15 p.m. has special activities for children (usually every other week)


For more information, please call the church office at (989) 463-2940.

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Join Our Mailing List



September brings another school year and many programs at Child Advocacy.  Our Nurturing Parenting Program, Protect Yourself Program, and Childcare/Parenting classes will soon be underway.


We are all very excited for what September has to offer.



The Staff at Child Advocacy

Nurturing Parenting Program


Our nurturing parenting program is a 10 session group-based program for both parents and children 5 to 11 years old that teaches:

      * parents and children to increase their empathy

      * parents nurturing ways to encourage appropriate behaviors

      * parents methods to build self-concept and self esteem

           in their children

      *  parents and children to learn to have fun as a family.


The parents and children meet in separate groups to discuss age appropriate expectations.  Then the parents and children have a chance to interact together.  The class emphasizes family guidelines and appropriate behavior expectations.


Our next class is scheduled for October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3, 10, 17, 23, December 1 and 8.  The class is held at the United Methodist Church located at 116 S. Franklin Street in St. Louis.  A light dinner is served at 5:00 p.m. with class beginning at 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.


Please contact our office at (989) 463-1422 with further questions or to register.

 Managing School Bullying

By Madeline Vann, MPH


Dealing with the school bully is a much-stereotyped aspect of growing up - but it is a reality and there are ways to help your child cope.


Is Your Child a Victim of Bullying? 

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, many children in grades 6 through 10 have either bullied classmates or been bullied by them, sometimes online or through cell phones.  The study revealed that 53.6 percent were victims of verbal bullying, 51.4 percent of relational bullying, and 13.6 percent of "cyber-bullying" on a computer, cell phone, or other electronic device.


It's important to keep an eye out for signs that indicate your child may be the victim of school bullying.  Following are some signs to look for:  reluctance to go to school, efforts to avoid going to school, repeated loss of possessions or money, evidence of a scuffle, loss of self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.


How to Address School Bullying 

Bullying is a complex situation because it involves not just the victim and the bully but all the bystanders who inadvertently support the bullying.  The intervention can't just be with the victim -- notifying the school is important because many schools now have programs that address the whole bullying dynamic.  This will also involve peers and school personnel in ending school bullying.


Bullies tend to target other children who have less social support, are less assertive, and have less self-confidence.  The best way to help your child cope with school bullying is to work on assertiveness and conflict resolution.  Teaching your children assertiveness means teaching them how to tell when someone is being aggressive, bossy, or violent, that it is okay to say "no", to trust their feelings about a situation, to be direct in requests and responses, not give up space or toys if they don't want to, and how to speak politely to each other and to adults.


Conflict resolution might include learning how to compromise, figure out a fair solution to a problem, ignore teasing or other efforts to pick a fight, and talk about feelings or needs in a positive way.


Whether in-person or online, bullying can be hurtful for your child.  And while there's no surefire way to stop bullying, you can protect your child by monitoring his or her behavior and providing positive parental support.

Gratiot County

Substance Abuse Coalition



Upcoming events for the GCSAC:
We will be hosting an orientation training for anyone interested in learning more about the Gratiot Substance Abuse Coalition. The training will be held September 29th from Noon - 1:30 p.m. at the Alma Public Library. This is a great opportunity to learn how you can help create a Prevention Prepared Community. If you are interested in attending this training, please contact Lisa Cannon, Prevention Coordinator at 989-462-0142.


Mark Your Calendars: October 29th from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. National Prescription Take Back Day. For more information and locations about this event, please contact Lisa Cannon, Prevention Coordinator at 989-462-0142.

Get to Know Lisa Cannon


Lisa Cannon is the new Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for Gratiot County.  She is excited to begin working with the communities and schools located within Gratiot County.


Lisa previously worked for a Prevention Consultants of Missouri located in Rolla, MO where she spent the past 10 years working as a prevention specialist/mentoring coordinator.  Lisa and her family moved to Michigan last year when Lisa's husband took a job at Central Michigan University.


Lisa and her husband have one son, Joshua, who will be a junior at Shepherd High School this fall.  Lisa enjoys spending time with her family and enjoying all the activities the beautiful state of Michigan has to offer.  


Lending Library for Parents and Early Childhood Professionals





What is a lending library?  A lending  library is much like an ordinary library in that you can visit and check out materials.  The library has experience bins, CARES bags, and story stretchers.  These items often include educational toys, stories, and puppets to enhance the work you are already doing with your children.  There are infant/toddler and preschool material available. 



The material is available for loan to early childhood providers and parents for a two week period.  Borrowing the material is FREE. 


Experience Bins - includes theme based toys and materials plus activity plans that provide ideas for developmentally appropriate hands-on activities.


CARES (Children Acquire Rich Experience and Skills) - Includes a toy and activity book that guides learning a specific skill; 24 foundational skills.



Story Stretchers - Includes a storybook and activity ideas for extending the book across multiple areas of development.  



The lending library is located at Child Advocacy,525 N. State Street, Suite 4, Alma.  Our office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.  If these hours are inconvenient, an after hours appointment can be made by calling (989) 463-1422.

yellow card  

Scheduled Classes


Parenting Classes 

New! Parenting Classes for parents of children from 0 - 6 years old.  Classes are offered the first and third Wednesdays of the month.  Each class covers a different parenting topic.  Classes are from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Wilcox Non-Profit Building located at 525 N. State Street, Alma. 


Topics to be covered for the month of September are as follows:

   September 7 - Resolving Family Conflicts

   September 21 - Daily Routines for a Happier Home Life


Nurturing Program for Children 0 - 6 years old will begin September 13 for six sessions.  This class covers nurturing parenting routines, child development, discipline strategies, and building self-esteem/self confidence in children.  The class is held at the Wilcox Non-Profit Building located at 525 N. State. St., Alma from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Childcare Provider Training - 

Parent Involvement: Beyond Bulletin Boards will be held on September 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Mt. Pleasant at the White Pine Montessori Children's Center located at 701 E. Maple Street.


 Gaining Customers: How Do I Grow My Business? will be held on September 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Alma Public Library.  



Stress Relief: Calgon Take Me Away will be held on September 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Alma Public Library.




Great Start to Quality Orientation will be held on September 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Maple Creek Golf Course in Shepherd.  Please bring a photo I.D. and a sack lunch.


All classes are FREE.  Please call our office at (989) 463-1422 to register or to get more information.

As the kids get ready to head back to school Child Advocacy is gearing up for another full year of classes, programs, and events.  We hope that you continue to read our newsletter each month for the latest updates in what Child Advocacy is doing for the children and families of Gratiot and Isabella County.  Thank you for your time.
Audra Stahl
Executive Director