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

father son




 "Don't worry that children

never listen;

worry that they are always watching you".


-Robert Flughum-

In This Issue
Dealing with Stress
Parenting Programs
CAC Update
Great Start Update
Scheduled Classes
United Way Scavenger Hunt


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
 Richelle Davis -
Prevention Educator 

Heather Gardner -
 CAC 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
Mt. Pleasant 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

Permanent Prescription Drop Off



Alma Police Dept.

525 E. Superior St.

Mon. - Fri. 

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Gratiot Co. Sheriff

226 E. Center


open 24 hrs./day

7 days/week


Both sites accept

prescription pills, liquids, and patches.


Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List



This months' newsletter has some informative articles.  Please take a moment to benefit from this information.  


Please check out the scheduled class section.  We have several classes to offer.



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website www.linkforfamilies.org.




Dealing with Stress

by Lisa Cannon



It is the time of year when parents are preparing to send their children back to school.  It can be a fun and exciting time.  But for some parents it can be stressful.  Below are some helpful tips to deal with stress whether or not you are a parent.

  • Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning
  • Prepare for the morning the evening before
  • Be prepared to wait. A good book can make a wait almost pleasant
  • Plan ahead.  Don't let the gas tank get below one-quarter full
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • Make friends with non-worriers
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine.  Both of these are thought to be relaxing but can actually make things worse
  • When stressed take long slow deep breaths
  • Everyday do something you enjoy
  • Focus on understanding rather than on being understood, on loving rather than on being loved
  • Have an optimistic view of the world.  Believe that most people are doing the best they can
  • Pollyanna-Power! For every one thing that goes wrong, there are 10 or 50 or 100 blessings.  Count them!!!

These tips and more can be found at www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/parenting/stress.  If you would like more information on this topic, please contact Lisa Cannon, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at 989-462-0142 or lisa@linkforfamilies.org



Parenting Programs at Child Advocacy

By Ronda Sorensen


I'd like to focus this month on a great parenting program that we offer here at Child Advocacy: The Nurturing Parenting Program for Parents and Their School-Age Children. One of the most novel features of the class is that it is provided to parents and their children as well. I love the fact that while parents are learning new skills to enhance their parenting, children are in their own classroom learning information at their level, that supports what their parents will be implementing at home. We have learned that families are much more successful when both parents and children are working together on changes that they both understand and are invested in. Of course each class also offers an opportunity for parents and children to play and interact with each other in a positive manner and as, we know, those fun times help us through some of the daily struggles all parents face.


Nurturing Parenting Programs were developed by Dr. Stephen Bavolek whose life work has focused on empathy and nurturing and assisting families in incorporating these essential aspects into their own lives with their children. The curriculum highlights five key elements that parents need to understand to be effective parents: Child Development, Empathy, Appropriate family roles; Discipline; and Power/Independence.


The class is free, open to any parent and their 5-11 year old children, and is presented twice yearly. Anyone who is interested or who would like to refer a family, should contact our office at 463-1422. I would also like to encourage Child Care Providers to attend the class as well. This class would be an excellent resource and provide skills that would help with the day care children and may provide insights that can be shared with parents. The next class has been tentatively scheduled to begin on September 20. For more information, please contact Child Advocacy.


Children's Advocacy Center Update cac painting

by Heather Gardner



The Children's Advocacy Center would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Jody Schnetzler!  Jody donated her time and unbelievable creativity to the CAC in July.


Right when the family walks in the front door they will be greeted with her artwork.  She painted caterpillars, chrysalises, butterflies and greenery starting at the front door entrance and that artwork continues to lead them down the hallway of the center. In the forensic interview room, Jody painted a beautiful mural that covers the entire wall.  This mural includes squirrels, a stream, butterflies and other colorful details. The mural in the forensic interview room helps to invite the child into the room. Sometimes children feel apprehension about why they are at the center and having this peaceful mural helps to transition them into the room and the forensic interview process.  Seeing the mural instantly gives the child something to talk about and serves as a nice ice breaker for us to begin talking.  The mural will also be incorporated into the interview.  This is done by asking questions such as, how many butterflies do you see and what colors are they?  It is important to know what concepts the child has or has not mastered and their developmental level in order to adjust the interview questions accordingly. 


Again, we thank Jody for the beautiful artwork she created which provides a warm and child friendly environment for the children and the families we serve.  

Great Start 
Look Before You Lock
by Pam Mahin


So far this summer, 23 children have died from heat stroke due to being left behind in unattended vehicles. Child care providers, Head Start staff, parents, and other adults caring for young children can work together to prevent this horrible tragedy from happening.


The Office of Child Care and Office of Head Start are partnering with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide information to the early care and education (ECE) community and parents on the importance of double-checking cars, buses, and vans to make sure that all children arrive safely.


You can read a message from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about the "Look Before You Lock" campaign at http://transition.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/news/look-before-you-lock-pledge, where resources will continue to be added.   In addition, HHS and DOT/NHTSA have partnered to develop a voluntary Pledge Form that providers and parents can use to work together to keep children safe, which is available at the previously mentioned link. For example, providers and parents can agree to immediately inform each other if a child is expected to arrive at home or at an ECE center and does not. 

Scheduled Classes


Daycare Provider Trainings -

Monday, September 17

Quality Connections: Healthy Smiles

6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Wilcox Non-Profit Center

Cost $20

Refer to www.greatstartconnect.org to register. 


Saturday, September 22

Great Start Early Childhood Conference

8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Montcalm Community College


Thursday, September 27

Literacy in the Arts: How singing, dancing, & painting encourage success in school

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Alma Public Library

Cost $20

Refer to www.greatstartconnect.org to register.


Great Start to Quality Orientation - Aids/Relatives 

Tuesday, September 11

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Wilcox Non-Profit Center

525 N. State Street, Alma

No Cost


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, September 11 & 25

6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Youth for Christ - Alma

No Cost


Nurturing Parenting Class Ages 0-6

Starts Wednesday, September 5 for 5 classes

Child Advocacy

525 N. State Street, Suite 4, Alma

No Cost


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

United Way of Gratiot County

Scavenger Hunt


Thursday, September 13


Start and Finish


Alma Elk's Lodge #1400


$15/person (Limit 6 participants per vehicle)


5:00 p.m. Sign In

5:15 p.m. Hunt Instructions Meeting

5:30 p.m. Hunt begins


"Live United"


Click here for an entry form 

Thank you for taking the time to read our September newsletter.  At Child Advocacy we are looking forward to a new school year and sharing our programs with the community.  The Protect Yourself Program will begin in October, with safety lessons being taught to 1st and 3rd grade students in the County.  In the coming months watch for articles on how to teach your children to stay safe from abduction and sexual abuse.  Enjoy the last of the warm weather. 
Audra Stahl
Executive Director