Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan (CFS) was one of three non-profits in the five-county area to receive a transformational grant from Impact 100 TC on October 23. Through a large variety of programs, this organization uses a trauma-focused lens to help children, youth, and adults heal and grow.
During the Impact 100 TC annual voting ceremony, CFS of Northwestern Michigan executive director Gina Aranki spoke to the crowd of women about the purpose of the potential grant. CFS wishes to further their YouthWork Conservation Corps (YWCC) program, which provides employment and learning-based projects to underserved young people in the five-county area.
CFS’s Moving Words
Aranki began by describing the beautiful natural environments in the five-county area, calling them “vital places that help us feel safe and whole.” She stressed the importance of connecting young people with nature. And what better way to do that, than by encouraging them to maintain and improve ecosystems together through the YWCC.
“When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves,” Aranki said. This sums up why the YWCC program has been so effective in helping young people, as well as adults with disabilities, manage deep trauma. The program has also resulted in new boardwalks and trails, cleaner rivers and lakes, and more than 30,000 planted trees in the five-county area.
To put it all into perspective, Aranki shared a powerful story about a local girl who lived through malnourishment and abuse before being abandoned (along with 7 siblings) and sent to foster care at 13. The girl discovered CFS through an art competition, became involved in YouthWork, and was gradually changed from a traumatized child into an adult with a career she loves.
“This is just a small example of how our youth can be transformed,” Aranki said.
What’s Next for CFS of Northwestern Michigan?
The women of Impact 100 TC certainly saw the amazing value of YouthWork and voted to give CFS of Northwestern Michigan one of the three 2019 grants.
With the grant, YWCC will continue to prepare youths to become good employees and help the economy thrive. Participants will develop important skills while discovering and strengthening their aptitudes and interests. They will form valuable relationships with each other, with nature, and with their communities.
Learn more about Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan here. Or go to their wishlist.
Make 2020 Even More Impactful
If you are interested in helping your community and amazing non-profits like CFS of Northwestern Michigan, visit the Impact 100 TC membership page for information about getting involved in 2020. If you have specific questions, please contact us.