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Director's Message

Dear Friends,

It’s nearly that time in beautiful northern Michigan, when we say goodbye to many of our visitors and turn inward to school schedules, changes in the light and length of days, and cooling temperatures (please not too soon, though!). This transition can be hard on our kids; it always was on my own. Parents and teachers play an important role in helping them through the stresses of that autumn shift. How do we help children learn to weather such transitions in life, especially those who have traumatic experiences?

One answer may be the five skills of social-emotional learning, a concept I have recently been exposed to as part of a task force working on our region’s behavioral and mental health challenges. These include self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. These strike me as a good foundation for preparing any child for the world they will inherit. The five skills are increasingly part of school curricula and our task force is working to build awareness of the concepts and share specific examples of how to teach them at any age. They are good for the workplace as well, and really any relationships we have. In the body of this newsletter is a link to a poster explaining the skills and how to apply them. I hope you will find it useful. The link below is to a poster explaining these skills and how to apply them.

Even before we put a name on the idea, the good people of CFS have been helping to build social-emotional skills and resilience in children and depending on our community to help in this effort.

It takes all of us—and all of YOU. Thank you for all you do to help advance this important work. The link below is to a poster explaining these skills.

Link to Social Emotional Competencies poster


Gina Aranki, Executive Director

August is Make-A-Will Month

Perhaps this doesn’t motivate you to make your estate plans this month, however, it will hopefully give you pause to reflect on what impact you want your life to have. Take some time to sit with your thoughts and make some plans to either research your options, talk to someone, or make an appointment with a professional estate planner or your favorite charity. Consider making an impact in the future by including our good work in your will. At CFS we can tell you how important these gifts are to our organization and the work we do in our community-- whether it’s helping neighbors in need, parents who are going through serious challenges, children who are in crisis, or helping folks of all ages heal from childhood trauma.

Making a will is one of the most meaningful ways to share your values with those you care about—including organizations with missions that align with your wishes. It can be a simple bequest, or you can name CFS as your IRA Beneficiary, or name us in a trust through a financial planner. For more information about gifts that help future generations, visit; email us at or call

231-946-8975 and ask to speak to Linda Sommerville, Development Director.

August is Family Fun Month

What a great month! Lake Michigan has finally warmed up to swimming temperature (though cold water never stopped the kids!). Everything is green and lush and fall flowers like asters and goldenrod begin to bloom. And we all want to have a few more fun outings before school starts up again. Need some ideas to celebrate the tail end of summer?

Consider these:

· Go to a free outdoor concert. Kids can run around as they (and you!) enjoy the music.

· Take a hike. Here’s a link to some of the beautiful natural areas in our region:

· Make a workout course in your backyard. Create workout stations from things you have around—a hula hoop station, a rope to jump over or limbo under, a handstand station up against a fence. The whole family can take turns racing through the course (or kids can while adults cheer them on).

· Go to the library. Libraries are no longer stuffy places where you have to be quiet all the time. Most of them have special spaces and events just for the kids. (Not to mention great books!)

· Check out your nearest nature center—Boardman River Nature Center and Grass River Natural Area come to mind. Just go and explore, or take advantage of their fun programming.

· Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan

Whatever you do, enjoy these last warm days. All it really takes is you and those you love.

A New School Year is Upon Us!

It's that time of year again... time to start preparing for the upcoming school year. Here are some tips to help make the transition a little smoother.

Night at the Ballpark

CFS was one of several organizations and businesses who participated with an information table at the Turtle Creek Stadium family night this month. Staff had fun watching the game and sharing our mission with interested community members. If you're curious about learning more, you don't need to wait to see us at a community event :) Check out our website, call or email us, or schedule a visit to our main office or out in the field to see YouthWork Getting Things Done!

YouthWork Getting Things Done!

Upcoming Events

In-Person QPR Training

September 7th, 4:30-6:30pm

QPR Training empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know. Please register early,

as space is limited.

To learn more or register visit

Foster parents needed! Join us virtually to learn more. Our licensing staff will explain the process of becoming a foster parent and answer any questions you may have. The process is easier than you think! Consider helping today!

Virtual Intro To Fostering Wednesday, September 6, at 12pm, or September 20, at 5:30 Click to learn more and register.

In-Person Implicit Bias Primer October 18th, 4:30-7:30pm

Implicit Bias Primer presented by Allison Zimpfer, LMSW. The training will be held at our Traverse City location from 4:30-7:30pm. The cost is $50 and includes the training fee and snacks.

This session will define implicit bias, explore how it operates within individuals and organizations, and identify tools to mitigate it.

The NASW-Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative approves this course (Approval #061223-06, 3 CEUs) and is in alignment with Michigan’s LARA Implicit Bias continuing education requirements.

Register soon, as space is limited!

To register visit

A new way to donate!

Child and Family Services is partnering with B2 Outlets' 10x10 Initiative to raise funds for CFS. Shop B2 Outlets between now and 9/13/23 and receive 10% off your total purchase when using this coupon. CFS will receive 10% of all proceeds raised from transactions where this coupon was used.

Have fun shopping and support CFS while you're at it! Click for a printable PDF file. And please share with family and friends!

34th Annual Little Brown Bag Campaign!

The little brown bags represent hope—hope that a warm and loving foster or adoptive family will give each child the start in life that they deserve.  The Brown Bag Campaign, now in its 34th year, reminds our community of the needs of children in foster care, as well as the ongoing need for foster parents, volunteers, and donations to support our work. Donations help pay for things like a stuffed animal to hug, counseling, school supplies, winter boots, and opportunities such as music or dance lessons or summer camp.

Starting this month, you will see small brown paper bags in your local newspaper, and at your local Olesons and Oryana stores. Please consider making a donation. It's simple to fill out and mail in, or you can make a donation online! Your donation will help make life a little easier for the children in foster care whom we serve.

To learn more or to donate online please visit

Donate Today

Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan

3785 Veterans Drive, Traverse City | (231) 946-8975

3434 M-119, Ste F, Harbor Springs | (231) 347-4463

Pete's Place | (231) 922-4800   | 

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