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


Happy Christmas Family



"The best of all gifts

around any Christmas tree

is the presence of a happy

family all wrapped up

in each other." 


- Burton Hills -  




In This Issue
Hosting an Alcohol Safe Party
Family Expo 2012
What is Above the Influence?
Adoptive, Foster, Relative, and Kinship Care Support Group
Holiday Office Hours
Scheduled Classes
Library Daycare Program


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  

Brenda Shafley-
Office Assistant 
Pam Mahin -
RRC Coordinator
Lisa Cannon- 
GSAC Coordinator
 Kris Olejniczak -
CAN Coordinator 

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
Community Member
 Carolyn Studley
Retired Alma Public Schools

 Jennifer Leppien
CASA Volunteer 


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

Good Company -

Adult Respite Care

Respite care

 is designed to be a place a person will enjoy visiting while their spouse or other caregiver takes a break and tends to other needs.


11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Mon., Wed., Fri.


Contact First Presbyterian Church - Alma at (989) 463-2940


Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List



Tis' the season to be jolly!


December is the season to spend time with family and friends.  Please take a moment to read the article about holiday parties and our Above the Influence campaign.    


Happy Holidays! 

Child Advocacy Staff

champagne bottle


Hosting an Alcohol Safe Party




The holiday season is fast approaching.  It is a time where we enjoy the company of family, friends, and co-workers. Whether you are planning a small dinner or a formal gathering, it is very important to know your responsibility as the host.  Drinking and driving is an all too familiar and tragic combination.  In 2004, 51% of all fatal crashes that occurred on the weekends were alcohol related.  There are things you can do as a host to help prevent someone driving under the influence.


*  Avoid making alcohol the main focus of the event.

*  Make sure there are plenty of on-alcoholic  

    beverages available such as fancy juice drinks,

    sparkling water, soft drinks or bottled water.

*  Provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to

    slow the effects of alcohol.

*  Stop serving drinks at least one hour before the end

    of the event.

*  Recruit people ahead of time who will not be drinking

    to help ensure that everyone has a safe ride home.


Help do your part to make this the best holiday season ever! 


The following recipe is brought to you by the National Highway Traffic Safety - join together and enjoy!


Lemon-Strawberry Punch


1 can (6 oz.) Frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 pkg. Frozen sliced strawberries

1 can (6 oz.) Frozen lemonade concentrate

1 qt. Carbonated water

1 qt. Ginger ale

Sliced bananas (garnish)

Sliced oranges or lemons (garnish)


Combine frozen lemonade, strawberries (half-thawed with juice) and orange juice.  Place in a punchbowl with ice.   Just before serving, add carbonated water and ginger ale.  Garnish with thin slices of oranges, lemon or banana.  Serves 20.


Article brought to you by the Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition

Come Home to Alma for the Holidays
Friday, December 9
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Downtown Alma


1st Inaugural Jingle Bell 5K
Saturday, December 10
10:00 a.m. 

Family Expo 2012


Planning for the 2nd Annual Family Expo is underway. This event is a one-stop event with informational resources and fun for ALL families of Gratiot County. This years' event is scheduled for Saturday, January 28 from 10:00 a.m. -

2:00 p.m. at the Youth for Christ Student Center.


Over 70 businesses and organizations in Gratiot County will be available to inform you of goods and services they provide.  Several exhibitors will have games and interactive activities for children of all ages.  Clowns, magicians, bounce house, FREE refreshments are all apart of this fun filled day. 


If you are interested in reserving a booth, please contact our office at (989) 463-1422.  Otherwise, mark your calendar to attend this day of fun for the whole family.


above the influence 

What is Above the Influence (ATI)



It is a national campaign created and implemented by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a program of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  ATI informs and inspires teens to reject illicit drugs via TV, print, Internet, and local radio advertising.  


The Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition is very excited to be coordinating with school districts throughout the county to implement the Above the Influence Campaign beginning January 2012.  Every teen's life is filled with pressure, some of it good, some of it bad.  The goal of the program is to help teens stand up to negative pressures and influences.  The more aware teens are of the influences around them, the better prepared they will be to stand up to them, including the pressure to use drugs and alcohol.  It's not about telling teens how to live their lives, but rather giving them another perspective and the latest facts so they can make smart decisions. 


If you have any questions regarding this program, please feel free to contact Lisa Cannon, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at (989) 462-0142 or visit www.abovetheinfluence.com

Adoptive, Foster, Relative, and Kinship

Care Support Group


Parenting is one of the most difficult and challenging activities that any person can perform even though it can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable as well.  It also goes without saying that parenting is the most important job that any person will ever undertake and has the most long-lasting impact.  We know that struggles and challenges that we face as parents are often more extreme when we take in children that we have not raised from birth or that have previously experienced the trauma of abuse, neglect, and/or loss.


Child Advocacy gratefully recognizes the dedication and devotion of parents who provide care for children and is committed to providing a source of support and professional education to parents who are raising adoptive, foster, or relative children.  Our support group meets twice monthly on the second and fourth Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at Youth for Christ Building located on Cheesman Road in Alma.  During our meetings we provide an opportunity for caregivers to support each other during the tuff times when dealing with difficult behaviors.  Persons dealing with similar behaviors are often the best suited to offer suggestions and ideas.  Support is also given during the heartbreaking times when a family for one reason or another must say good-bye to the child in their care.  Another important aspect of the group is regular training and educational opportunities from professional therapists, trainers, or other skilled in the area of foster care issues.  Learning new ways to look at situations, see the children through trauma-focused lenses, and intervene in different ways is key to success.


We welcome all resource parents to our support group.  Anyone having questions about the group is encouraged to call Child Advocacy at (989) 463-1422.



Holiday Office Hours


Child Advocacy will be closed

Friday, December 23rd - Friday, December 30th 

We will re-open on Monday, January 2nd, 2012! 

Happy Holidays!!!

Scheduled Classes


Progressions in Art - (peer to peer)
Class for childcare providers
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
December 5 at Central Christian Academy - Mt. Pleasant
December 6 at Middle of the Mitten Learning Center - Alma
Great Start to Quality Orientation for Aides/Relatives

Wednesday, December 7

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Winding Brook Conference Center



Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, December 6

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Youth for Christ - Alma

2550 W. Cheesman Road 

Christmas Potluck


Child Care Administration Class -

We offer a Child Care Administration class that offers the participant 30 total hours if both part 1 and part 2 are completed.  This correspondence course is completed through email or postal mail.  This training offers the participant 3.0 CEU's and is accepted by child care licensing.  The topics covered are business basics, hiring & retaining staff, recruitment of families, observing & recording, etc.  This course is for current or prospective program directors in licensed facilities.  Group child care providers have taken this course and benefited from it as well.  The cost of this training is $85 per part plus an additional $8 per part for the CEU's that are associated with it. 


We are working on developing more trainings to be offered in the very near future.  Please watch your email for notification of when these will be available.


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

Library Daycare Program
at Chippewa River District Library - Mt. Pleasant
The Chippewa River District Library is committed to helping young children in our community succeed in school.  To help create young readers, we have developed a Daycare Outreach Program specifically designed to enhance and nurture early literacy skills in children up to five years old. 
Specially trained volunteers visit daycares and preschools throughout the library district to deliver individually designed story time events intended to teach and emphasize pre-reading skills.  Also the program teaches and emphasized the different aspects of effectively delivering a story time to parents and caregivers.      
We are currently looking for daycares interested in having library volunteers visit on a monthly basis and volunteers who are interested in helping children succeed in school.   If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please contact Rob Wang at the Chippewa River District Library located in downtown Mt. Pleasant at (989) 773-3242 ext. 14 before January 15 to have your daycare included in this free program. 
Thank you for taking the time to read our December newsletter.  Great things are happening here at Child Advocacy and we are excited to share with you month after month.  From our family here at Child Advocacy we wish you and yours a safe and happy holidays.
Audra Stahl
Executive Director