“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” — William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”
While some may recall a version of that quote uttered by Willy Wonka to himself toward the end of the classic 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” both versions are a metaphor for how small actions can make a big difference in someone’s life.
That’s exactly the goal of Child and Family Charities’ 2022 Be the Light capital campaign, as it aims to raise $11.5 million to create a campus of services for children, youth and families at a comprehensive, centralized location in mid-Michigan at the former McLaren Greenlawn site.
Since 1911, Child and Family Charities has been protecting and strengthening families in need. The agency’s founding purpose was “to secure for every child the same love and the same opportunity that we would have our children receive should they be left orphaned or friendless.”
Over the years, Child and Family Charities has expanded to meet the mission of the organization, which is to evolve and grow with the community’s changing needs. Its programs include behavioral health, child abuse prevention, child welfare, Gateway youth services, juvenile justice, Angel House residential and a mid-Michigan trauma collaboration. These programs focus on the mental health and well-being of local families, youth and children.
“I have witnessed and am impressed by how the agency has grown over the years and how, with the help of the community, it has become a beacon of light for many vulnerable children,” said Sheri Jones, campaign co-chair and WLNS-TV 6 news anchor. “CFC’s new facilities will provide the community with more support for those who are in need — and the need is great.”
The plan is to move the nonprofit organization’s multiple programs onto one centrally located campus. This will promote continuity of services between programs for those most vulnerable and provide for their needs in one easy-to-reach location.
“We want to make it really convenient for everybody to get the services they need,” said Julie Thomasma, CEO of Child and Family Charities. “Continuity of care is essential for long-term success.”
Throughout the pandemic, Child and Family Charities has been instrumental in helping families stay together and thrive — even in the midst of the national crisis. Thirty-seven percent of high schoolers reported experiencing poor mental health, and 44% reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in the last year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pandemic caused a significant spike in service demand, which Child and Family Charities ably met, serving over 15,000 individuals of all ages and needs.
“I want to give my time and energy to Child and Family Charities because of the sense of community and purpose that the organization fosters,” said David Thomas, campaign co-chair and partner at Podium Risk Management. “I want to help raise awareness of the issues that many people may not know about. If we can help even one person turn their life around for the better, then it is worth every effort. It is our duty.”
Together, with the Greater Lansing community’s help, Child and Family Charities can brighten the path for all who come to require assistance at times of crisis and need.
Visit childandfamily.org/be-the-light to learn more and make a donation.