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Director's Message

Happy Holidays to one and all!

Yesterday, as Bill and I drove to the grocery store, we came up behind a little red convertible. The top was down, but the chilly mist didn’t seem to bother the occupant one bit. As he accelerated through the light and we followed him into the store parking lot, he waved at each passing car and pedestrian, wearing a huge smile. The smiles he elicited in return were utterly heartwarming! For a moment, a smile and a wave from Santa seemed the perfect antidote to the world’s troubles.

Below you will read about the spirit of Santa in the hearts of so many in our community who gave to assure that the children and families we serve have Christmas. You’ll see that the spirit is alive and well among our amazing volunteers and staff, too!

We at CFS are looking forward to 2024 as a year of growth and change, with the beginning of a host of new programs, and better ways to serve children and families through our long-standing programs as well. We welcome your feedback, as always. Feel free to visit, ask questions, or give us suggestions on what we can do better.

We also recognize that the holidays can be difficult for those who have experienced grief or loss. We wish light, love, and peace to all this giving season.


Gina Aranki, Executive Director

Paper Angels

Each year, our community embraces the children and families we serve by matching wish lists to generous donors during the holiday season. These lists are created by our clients and fulfilled by community members like you. The goal of the Paper Angels program is to ensure that every family we work with has at least a few presents under the tree during the holiday season. This year, we were able to partner with Bethany Christian Services to fill 77 wish lists for their refugee resettlement program, and also with Big Brothers Big Sisters to fill lists for 10 families in their program. 

We filled over 550 wish lists, some of which were for individuals, and some for entire families. Although all lists are filled now, we encourage anyone who still wants to help to donate to our Angel Fund, which helps pay for gifts for kids that come into foster care nearer to Christmas, helps with birthday gifts and other general needs that kids and families have throughout the year!

As always, a huge shout out to WTCM Radio and Team Elmer's for sponsoring this event for the 18th year in a row, and of course, thank you to our wonderful donors and community partners like you! 

Volunteer Appreciation

Child and Family Services is so thankful for all of the wonderful volunteers who donated their time to support our mission in 2023. Volunteers have always been a vital part of the work we do, and we are so appreciative of their hard work and engagement. We want to send a special thank you to all individual volunteers and volunteer groups who helped us this past year. Stay tuned for more volunteer/mentorship opportunities coming this January!

Office Decorating Contest

Staff have been busy transforming CFS with holiday cheer. Here are some pictures from our friendly office decorating competition. Happy Holidays to all!

Upcoming Events

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, January 3rd, at 5:45pm or January 17th, at 5:30pm

Click to learn more and register.

Respite Care Provider Orientation

Licensed respite providers needed! Join us virtually to learn more about this short-term foster care option. 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 Respite Monday, January 8th, at 5:30pm, or Thursday, January 18th, at 7:00pm

Click to learn more and register.

Implicit Bias Primer

Join us January 25th for an in-person Implicit Bias Primer presented by Allison Zimpfer, LMSW & Courtney Wiggins. The training will be held at our Traverse City location 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.

Space is limited! To register go to

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Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan

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

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

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