Founded in 1963, Starfish Family Services is a nonprofit organization serving vulnerable children and families in metropolitan Detroit. The agency’s mission is strengthening families to create brighter futures for children. For Starfish, creating brighter futures means making the most of the first five years of life for every child in the agency’s care.
Although Starfish has a broad range of high quality clinical, social and educational services for families, there is a constant and growing demand to greater coordination within the program and to expand certain programs for the neediest children.
Starfish has identified many clinical and social service needs in Southeastern Michigan and this program is designed to address those who tend to fall through the cracks at a young age and therefore fall behind others in their age cohort.
The GCH Heritage Foundation provided our first ever grant of $65,000 to Starfish’s Maternal and Early Childhood Wellness Center for the purpose of expanding therapeutic services to address the unmet needs of families in the community.
Hope Clinic is a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian medical, dental, and social service organization whose mission is to provide compassionate and practical help to those in need, ministering to the whole person with dignity and respect. This includes providing comprehensive health care for the underserved and a range of other services aimed either at meeting basic needs or equipping people with the tools needed to improve the quality of their lives and/or become self-sufficient.
The Clinic focuses on family as the key to improving and maintaining health and believes a strong and healthy home is essential for a strong and healthy childhood.
The GCH Heritage Foundation granted $47,000 for the “Family Health Practices – A Year-Long Initiative” which supported a 12-month educational series for families on critical home practices professionally developed to improve the health of the family. In addition, funds were used to replace the antiquated laundry room at Hope’s Ypsilanti Clinic- clean clothes is an important element of a healthy home.
Development Centers is a non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of individuals, families and the community by meeting behavioral health, social and vocational needs through a continuum of prevention, treatment and training services. They provide a continuum of diversified services based upon community need, resulting in outstanding and ever improving outcomes.
Research indicates that childhood traumas can have a lasting impact and detrimental effect upon an individual well into adulthood. These traumatic events can interrupt brain development and children as young as infancy can be affected. The overall goal of this initiative is simple: reduce the impact of trauma on young children through therapy specifically designed to treat young children who have experienced trauma.
The GCH Heritage Foundation awarded $42,000 for the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program to prepare our Development Center’s Early Childhood Clinicians to address and mitigate the effects of trauma on children through age five and their families. Funding will be spent on professional development, consultation and related supplies specific to ensuring the unique needs of young children are addressed.
The goal of the Starfish Family Services’ Multidisciplinary Approach to Early Childhood Development programming is to increase positive developmental outcomes in moderate, at-risk children with the intent to mitigate the multifarious issues that the children whom we serve face daily. Starfish had the opportunity to implement a small-scale pilot of this multidisciplinary team project over the past year. A speech-pathologist and occupational therapist were hired to begin to address the needs we have identified for holistic early intervention services for children not being served by existing programming.
Results of the program were successful – all participating children improved in at least five out of nine areas of development, and the families all reported feeling supported and that they would participate again if given the chance.
GCH Heritage Foundation granted $50,000 to assist in the expansion of the speech and occupational health services in this program to reach out to those children who haven’t been able to be enrolled in the program and receive the services they desperately need.
Hope Clinic’s Dental program is the most-requested area of its service activities. There were more than 3,900 appointments completed in 2018, 17 % of which served individuals 21 or younger. However, the clinic’s current capacity isn’t enough to meet the ever-increasing demand for dental care in the clinic’s service area. In recent months Hope Clinic’s dental waitlist increased by fifteen patients per week and new patient screenings currently occur at the rate of five to seven per week.
Although children often have state-sponsored Medicaid insurance, many providers do not participate in the program, reducing access to children and their families.
The GCH Heritage Foundation was pleased to award Hope Clinic $70,000 to replace the part-time dentist position with a permanent full-time dentist, and to increase the number of dentists in our volunteer program. The requested funds were critical to Hope Clinic’s long-term goal of continuing to provide high quality free dental care to the growing number of people in the areas they serve.
Kids’ Health Connections (KHC) is a 501c3 non-profit serving southeastern Michigan. Its mission is to improve the medical home for Medicaid-eligible children. Input from multiple pediatric practices revealed that there was need for additional services for children struggling with overweight or obesity, asthma, and mental health needs and these practices also had difficulty getting children in for preventive services visits. In response, KHC developed a library of services including, among other things, FitKids360, an 8-week program for youth 5-17 years old with overweight or obesity issues.
With the success of FitKids, KHC sought to develop additional programming that addresses many of the concerns that participating families in the past have expressed about their family’s mental health and resiliency in dealing with stress. The new program-FitFamilies will have the same goal in producing “healthier lifestyles” for the families as a whole and will include the entire family unit. FitFamilies will have a heavier focus on psychosocial aspects of daily living such as sleep, nutrition, bullying, self-care, exercise, and mindfulness training.
The GCH Heritage Foundation was pleased to provide a donation of $70,000 to Kid’s Health Connections as seed money to support the initial start-up of the FitFamilies project. A strong and vibrant family structure is an important fundamental for improving the well-being of children and we are excited to encourage this program and look forward to positive results.
CNS Healthcare (CNS) provides essential services and support to those affected by mental illness, substance use, intellectual / developmental disabilities, and other behavioral health disorders.
As part of their award-winning Children’s Services Program, CNS holds an annual Summer Camp for children and adolescents. Camp Kelly for Kids is designed for children and youth with a significant emotional disturbance or intellectual and/or developmental disorder who traditionally would not thrive in a standard summer day camp program. Outdoor recreational activities are combined with behavioral and therapeutic programming to teach and reinforce positive social skills and behaviors.
CNS’s staff and camp counselors are focused on helping children build positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults by supporting them to develop and practice important social and life skills. Their goal is to create a community that teaches them how to be successful while having FUN!! Each day provides opportunities to learn about health and wellness initiatives, participate in arts and crafts projects, nature exploration events, and fun-filled trips, some of which may include their caregivers and siblings.
In addition to helping improve their mental and behavioral health, the camp provides an opportunity for social interaction. Children with severe emotional disturbance or developmental disabilities often struggle with friendships and social relationships. Many are bullied or face challenges with connecting to others. Camp is an opportunity for them to have fun, meaningful interactions with other children who struggle with the same issues.
A grant of $22,500 was presented to CNS supporting several cohorts of children to participate in Camp Kelly for Kids during the summer months. GCH Heritage Foundation understands the importance of social interaction in maintaining positive mental and physical health.
Building on the positive impact from a grant two years ago from our Foundation, Kids’ Health Connections will expand the program to FitFamilies Healthy Minds to address childhood trauma. The goals of the new program are to expand access to more teenagers, to include parents who have experienced early childhood trauma themselves by offering trauma-informed parenting skills training, and foster leadership and resiliency in teens who have completed FitFamilies Healthy Minds by equipping them with tools to promote resiliency in their communities. GCH Heritage Foundation grant of $80,000 will help support this much needed effort.