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Sherry Thomas-Cloud

A Message from CEO Sherry Thomas‑Cloud

March, 2021

Dear Friends:

It has been a long, long year for all of us. COVID-19 has changed all our lives in so many ways. At Family & Children Services, we witness the struggles of so many in our community who have lost jobs, lost homes and are suffering. We have served an increased number of families who are experiencing mental health challenges and youth who are in crisis traumatized by the isolation and strain of the pandemic.

What is child trauma—and what can we do about it? Read our article, Child Trauma in the Time of COVID-19, to learn how to recognize trauma in children and how you can help. These are issues that affect not only the families we serve, but every family in our community, in our nation, and in our world today.

I invite you, too, to take a moment to read HANDLE WITH CARE: Never More Than Now, about the struggles of the families we serve and how you can make a difference in their lives. Not only health care workers and other essential workers save lives. You, too, can make a meaningful difference in your community, and it is as easy as making a gift to HANDLE WITH CARE, our fund to meet the most critical needs of children and families in crisis.

I am pleased to announce the promotion of one of Family & Children Services board members—Carlos Rangel. W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek has announced the promotion of Carlos Rangel to vice president and chief investment officer of the Foundation. Congratulations, Carlos!

Take a moment of respite to read the next chapter of Family & Children Services history. Chapter 6, The Depression Rages On, reminds us that every generation faces its own unique challenges—and that, together, we can overcome whatever crisis we must face.

Stay well, make a gift, extend a hand—we will soon reach a better place, together.

With Gratitude,

Sherry Thomas-Cloud
Sherry Thomas-Cloud, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer
Family & Children Services

Family & Children Services

Child Trauma in the Time of COVID-19

March, 2021

Everyone has felt it—the stress of a year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic. Locked up in our homes, isolated from family and friends, we have felt the strain. We have felt the fear of catching the disease ourselves or having family members and friends succumb.

Some of us have even had to cope with the grief of losing someone to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, many schools have closed to in-person learning and have gone entirely to virtual learning. Workplaces have closed, leaving us to work from out of our homes, reducing hours or even losing our jobs, leading to financial woes. For some, it has even led to losing homes.

What has all this done to our children?

Trauma occurs when a stressful experience overwhelms a child’s natural ability to cope. When we think of trauma, we usually first think of physical or emotional abuse or neglect—but dealing with the stresses and fears of the pandemic can also cause trauma.

Read more >

HANDLE WITH CARE: Never More Than Now

March, 2021

No one has escaped the discomfort of living under the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all been touched in some way by what we have experienced in the United States—some more, some less.

The people Family & Children Services serve in our community, however, have been hit by the pandemic more than most. Already in need of help for mental health and other challenges, our clients have called us for help in higher numbers than ever before.

HANDLE WITH CARE is a Family & Children Services fund designated specifically for these kinds of critical needs from our clients. Every dollar donated to this fund goes directly to meet the needs of those who find themselves in crisis. They need help and they need it now.

Read more >

Carlos Rangel

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Promotes Carlos Rangel

March, 2021

W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek has announced the promotion of Carlos Rangel to vice president and chief investment officer of the Foundation. Rangel is a board member, endowment committee member and chair of the operating committee for Family & Children Services.

“As chair of the agency’s operations committee and as a member of the endowment committee, Carlos provides guidance and support to human resources, information technology, and facilities activities, as well as the agency’s long-term investment planning and utilization,” said Kitty Scheffers, director of operations at Family & Children Services. “Throughout 2020, each of these functional areas faced new and unprecedented challenges. Carlos was—and is—unwavering in his commitment to the agency in sharing his knowledge, leadership, and expertise to ensure the agency continues to support children and families through the most difficult times. The agency is fortunate for Carlos’ dedication to our mission.”

“We appreciate Carlos’ ability to recruit the expertise we need to join our board committees,” said Sherry Thomas-Cloud, chief executive officer of Family & Children Services. “Carlos is always ready to serve as a volunteer when and wherever we need that skilled helping hand. It’s no surprise to us that others recognize his value just as we do.”

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Family & Children Services

A History of Family & Children Services

March, 2021

Chapter 06: The Depression Rages On, 1932‑1936

“Unusual Demands” met with Unprecedented Support

Despite the ongoing Depression, the year 1932 started off on a promising note in Kalamazoo. In January, 1932, an article in the Kalamazoo Gazette announced that the “unusual demands” of the previous year had been met in full thanks to the generosity of Kalamazoo residents. According to the Gazette, each of the Welfare Federation’s member organizations was funded in full for the previous year despite shortcomings in the initial financial allotment. 1932 marked the fifth consecutive year of increased need for social services in the city and county. Much of this chapter is based on Gazette reporting.

The Welfare Federation had conducted its seventh annual fundraising campaign two months earlier (November, 1931) and its goal of $131,745 was exceeded by nearly $6,000. Success was owed not only to the generosity of Kalamazooans, but also to the sophisticated organization of the “1931 solicitation,” in which “a new form of team operation was used, under which certain prescribed [geographical] territory was allotted to each team, with instructions to see every person in it.” The thoroughness of this new strategy resulted in an increase of individual donations from 7,000 in 1930 to 10,000 in 1931. In subsequent years, fundraising strategies would become increasingly polished, with poster campaigns and the conversion of shop windows into educational dioramas paving the way for the 1936 creation of a fundraising “moving picture” that was shown to more than 11,000 people.

Read more >

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