CA with tag line 

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

Let go of the old, 
take hold of the new
& believe
that this year will be your 
Best Year Yet!
Joel Osteen 
In This Issue
Family Expo 2014
How Child Abuse Cases are Investigated
Laura's Story
Why Cooking with Preschoolers is Important
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
RRC Coordinator


Ty Warczinsky 
GCSAC Coordinator
 Richelle Davis 
Prevention Educator
Heather Gardner
 CAC Coordinator
Michelle Zombeck
 CASA Coordinator 
Brenda Shafley
Office Assistant 

Board of Directors 

Wes Wickes
Youth for Christ
Vice President 
Jennifer Leppien
Michael Hetzman
Community Mental
Health - Gratiot Co.
 Kelly Piotrowski
Dept. of Human Services

Lori Apple
Comm. Mental Health - Isabella Co.
 Wendy Currie
Mid Michigan Dist. Health Dept. 
Colleen Davis
Prosecuting Attorney's Office 
Toni Davis
Women's Aid Service
Rob DuHadway
DuHadway Dance Dimensions

Donalynn Ingersoll
Principal, Luce Rd. Elementary  
David Justin
 Alma School Board
Mike Morris
Detective, Gratiot Co. Sheriff's Dept. 
Kent Schulze
Dept. of Human Services
Jennifer Siefker
Tri Lakes Petroleum
Jennifer Stambaugh
DeafBlind Central CMU
 Carolyn Studley
Retired - Alma Public Schools
Kim Vetter
MI State Police
Joe Yourchock
Community Representative


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.


Lung Clinic

Lung cancer is the leading cause of deaths from cancer for both men and women. Tobacco use causes 87 percent of all deaths from lung cancer. Mid-Michigan Cancer Center is offering smoking cessation education.

If you are interested in learning more about the Lung Clinic, a free telephone screening is available by calling
(press 2).

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List



Cheers to a New Year!


We, at Child Advocacy, are thankful for a blessed 2013 and we are looking forward to a fruitful 2014.


This month we offer articles about E-Cigarettes, a CASA success story,  and how the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) has streamlined child abuse investigations in Gratiot County.



Child Advocacy Staff


Check out our website




by Ty Warczinsky

GCSAC Coordinator 



I hope everyone had a blessed holiday season.  E-cigarettes are battery-powered cigarettes that release vapors.  E-cigarettes are fairly new, and they are not FDA regulated as a tobacco product; they are becoming popular among our youth.  According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, the percentage of middle and high school students who have ever used e-cigarettes has doubled from 2011 to 2012.  


In an article from titled Commentary:Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes Increased to 21:  Will the Nation Follow NYC's Lead?  the writer says, "They attract our kids with candy flavorings like strawberry and chocolate, and are just as harmful as cigarettes.  Many reports say that there is just not enough information about the e-cigarettes, there is still much debate and research needed to prove if indeed e-cigarettes are just as harmful as cigarettes.  Many reports say that there is just not enough information about the e-cigarettes, while others say that with the amount of nicotine in each e-cigarette, they are just as addictive and could be as harmful as regular cigarettes.  We should be aware that our youth are noticing and taking to this new product.

Child Advocacy Family Expo 2014

Saturday, January 25
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Central Michigan Youth for Christ
2550 W. Cheesman Road - Alma

FREE Family Fun for all ages!
This is a valuable one-stop event with informational resources and fun for ALL families of Gratiot County.  There will be more then 60 businesses and organizations in Gratiot County on display.  Fun activities are planned for the kids including games, interactive activities, clowns, face painting, and more.
If you are interested in participating in the Family Expo as a vendor, please call Child Advocacy at (989) 463-1422.


How Child Abuse Cases 

are Investigated

By: Heather Gardner

CAC Coordinator



This past spring, Dr. Peggy Thelen's education class from Alma College worked to create informational materials on the Children's Advocacy of Gratiot County.  One of the projects included creating a poster that illustrates how child abuse cases are investigated.  The left side of the poster shows "How it used to be" and the right side shows "how it is now" with the addition of The Children's Advocacy in our community.  Please click the link below to view the wonderful poster these Alma College Students created.



  CAC Poster click here




Laura's Story

Submitted By Michelle Zombeck

CASA Coordinator





Pictured: Sally Payne (on left) gave Laura the support she needed to succeed. 


Long before my feet touched Iraqi soil-before I even joined the United States Marine Corps-I was a veteran of a long war for survival.


My first foe was my father, who was horribly abusive to my mother and me. When he finally left, a new enemy surprised me: my mother's demons. I was 13 when my mother's mental illness drove her to lock me in a back bedroom of our house-without food or water. By the time the police broke in a week later, I was literally starving. When I got out of the hospital I had a new status: foster kid.


During my five years in foster care I had more than a dozen social workers. Nearly every court date meant meeting a new lawyer. But through it all, I had just one CASA volunteer: Sally Payne.


Throughout all the changes and different people I had to deal with, Sally was the one person who was there just for me. Knowing Sally cared about me meant the world to me. She was the anchor I desperately needed to stay in school, to keep moving forward, to make the choices that got me safely out of foster care and into service to my country. She made me believe that I was destined for success-in college or in whatever else I decided to do.


"Whatever else" turned out to be joining the Marines-which I did as soon as I turned 18 without consulting Sally or anyone else. You see, while I was in foster care, my mom died-homeless and alone. I worried that I might be biologically programmed for a similar fate. The United States Marine Corps promised a roof over my head, job training and security. Sally wasn't thrilled with my decision, but she trusted me to make my own choices and she supported me.


I was a Marine from 2000 to 2005, and I served two missions in Iraq. Today I am 27 and a civilian police officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. I am also a college student, studying psychology. Sally's lessons have never left me, and neither has Sally. She will be in my life forever.

I am living proof that CASA volunteers change kids' lives.



Article obtained from the National CASA Association web-site

Why Cooking with Preschoolers is Important
By Pam Mahin
RRC Coordinator

Cooking with young children is important for a variety of reasons:
* It helps build basic skills
* It encourages an adventurous palate 
* It helps young children explore with their senses
* It boosts confidence.  
It is great to make cooking a part of your weekly programming in your child care.  It is also important to encourage your parents to cook with their preschoolers and school-agers at home.  Here is an article from that you can share with parents - Cooking with Prescoolers.

If you are looking for some healthy new recipes to try with your children, check out the ChopChop magazine.  This is a quarterly magazine published in both Spanish and English.  It is filled with nutritious great-tasting, ethnically diverse, and inexpensive recipes, as well as fun food facts, games and puzzles, etc.  The goal of this magazine is to inspire and teach kids to cook real food with their families.  This would be a great resource to share with your families.  You will also find recipes that you can try in your child care program. ChopChop magazine recipes.

Scheduled Classes


Great Start to Quality Orientation 


Wednesday, January 15

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

Gratiot-Isabella RESD - Shepherd

$10 prepaid fee required

Visit for other classes offered.


Other Trainings/Groups 


Foster/Adoptive/Relative Care Support Group

Tuesday, January 14

6:00 p.m.

Youth for Christ - Alma 


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

 Child Advocacy Superhero 5K

Looking for a New Year's Resolution?
Want to try something new this year?
 You are a loyal 5K participate?
Please mark your calendar for our annual 5K race!

Saturday, May 10 at 9:00 a.m.

 Alma Armory, 710 N. State St.

Online registration is now available at

Registration forms are available at
Happy New Year!! 
I hope to see all of you at the Family Expo on Saturday, January 25th.  The Family Expo is a wonderful event, that is FREE for all families, regardless of size of family, age of children, or income level.  Please, come out and see us at the 2014 Family Expo. 
Audra Stahl
Executive Director