2022 Oakland County Black Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Board Vice President Kristi Plain

Spaulding Board Vice President Kristi Plain is among the first group of honorees to receive the Oakland County Black Excellence Awards. The inaugural honors were presented Feb. 24, 2022 by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in Pontiac.

“It’s all about how I can reach back to help others as much as I possibly can, especially underrepresented populations and children,” Ms. Plain said. “Helping others now results in them helping others -- and maybe us all -- one day in the future.”

Ms. Plain, of Commerce Township, Ber-Henda Williams, of Southfield, and Richard Bell, of Pontiac, are the first cohort of Oakland County Black Excellence Award Honorees. 

Oakland County Commissioner Angela Powell said the three Fellows “demonstrate both  visible and lesser-known ways our residents are changing lives for the better in Oakland County.”
Kristi Plain, Spaulding Board Vice President and a resident of Commerce Township, holds the Black Excellence Award, presented Feb. 24, 2022 by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. On the photo's left is Commissioner Yolanda S. Charles and on the right is Commissioner Christine Long.
Kristi Plain is the Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Global Talent for Novi-based BrassCraft, a business unit of the Masco Corporation.

Ms. Plain began her professional career in journalism, serving as an award-winning editor before applying her talents to human resources. In her work today, she focuses on recruiting, training, and advancing opportunities for women and minorities.

Honoree Richard Bell leads the Kids First Initiative in Pontiac, an organization working to provide youth from underserved communities with the vital resources that ensures a successful life.

Those who attended Families In Bloom in 2019 will remember how much the children and adults enjoyed Mr. Bell and his scientific presentations.

Ms. Ber-Henda Williams is the founder of "The Power of Girlhood," an organization  supporting girls ages 13-18 by developing their interests, voices and career paths. She also is founder of the literary organization, "Poetry, Pages, and Scribes."

Please Join Us on Saturday, April 30

Families In Bloom 2 

Please join us Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. as we celebrate being back together in person with a free family event, Families In Bloom 2.

In addition to fun activities and family resources including stories from our Southfield Librarians, you will get to meet representatives from Detroit PAL and the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department who will introduce families to new activities for children for this spring and summer. Also participating is DAPCEP, providing fun STEM activities for all ages, and Gro-Town, offering seeds for spring planting and music to celebrate the season.

As part of Families in Bloom 2, Spaulding for Children is proud to present four Spaulding for Children Awards to those who have helped make the Agency all that it is. Our awardees this year are:
Addie D. Williams, a licensed attorney, licensed social worker, adjunct professor at Wayne State University and the former President/CEO of Spaulding for Children. Under her leadership as the President/CEO, of Spaulding for Children, the Agency was selected by Crain’s Detroit as Best Managed Non-Profit Organization with a Budget over $3 million.

Charles "Chuck" Lechner, a Michigan entrepreneur and longtime supporter of Spaulding for Children. Through his kindness and generosity, the Agency has been able to provide facilities for family meetings, special events and other family programs. A graduate of University of Michigan and University of Detroit-Mercy, Dr. Lechner is a strong supporter of education.

The late Paul Welch rose to the highest levels in the midwestern lumber industry and was a longtime advocate of Spaulding for Children. He was an active and enthusiastic supporter of the scholarship programs for the children Spaulding serves. Mr. Welch died Aug. 25, 2020.

Wendy's Metro Detroit Area Franchise Owners will be honored for their longtime support of Spaulding for Children and their work on behalf of adoption and foster care. Accepting the award on behalf of the organization is Mr. Edward Liversidge, President, Wendy's Metro Detroit Area Franchisees, and a Member of the Board of Directors, Spaulding for Children.

Bringing the Joy of Music to Families In Bloom 2

Larry Duren, Jr.

Those who attend Families In Bloom 2 will enjoy music presented by Larry Duren, Jr. The Detroit singer and song writer will share his talents as curator of entertainment that will make our spirits dance. 

“Music is everything,” Mr. Duren said. “It’s your soundtrack for your life, it’s cathartic, a sound machine that can transport you back. For me, music is also a way to express feelings and thoughts that I might not be comfortable saying aloud. With music, though, the message gets through.”
Larry started singing in a church choir at a young age and, as a young adult in his late teens, served as President of the choir and worked with children for 10 years. He studied music in high school and was fortunate to have had a dynamic music teacher who let him see connections with modern and classical music that he may never otherwise had discovered.

Music is also healing. In the most challenging times of Larry’s life, music was there for him.

“A song will come to you when you need it,” Mr. Duren said. "It comes into your head and its plays when you need it.”

Larry is the oldest of 13 children and loves being able to connect with kids. He has realized that every childhood was not like his.

When Mr. Duren learned about Spaulding and the agency's services and programs to place kids and help families, he knew he wanted to be a part and to help Spaulding any chance he could. His goal for Families in Bloom is to gather a number of musicians – especially younger ones – so they can showcase their talent.

A vocalist, Mr. Duren is excited that his first single, “Show Me,” is available on most platforms – Amazon, iTunes, YouTube.

Larry also wants people to know that you can make a living in music. For every big-name entertainer, there are many times more whose names you do not know, but they write the songs, play the instruments, or sing back up on almost all hit tunes. 

“Learn to read music,” Larry said. “You can do that in school or on your own online.”

If you know of a young musician interested in performing at Families in Bloom 2 on April 30, please contact Larry Duren, Jr., the Entertainment Chair, by texting or calling him at (313) 289-6530 or emailing him at
March is Social Work Month

The Mission Is Year-Round

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) describes their mission in straightforward terms: Social work is the helping profession. In their work, social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives.

March is Social Work Month, created to remind us all of the important work social workers do to make life better for all.  This year's theme is "The time is right for social work."

At Spaulding for Children, we are most fortunate to have a good number of Social Work professionals on our team:
The NASW reports social workers serve in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, settlement houses, community development corporations, private practices, as well as child welfare and human service agencies. Social work professionals generally work full time and may need to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Although some social workers only need a bachelor’s degree in social work, the NASW reports clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and two years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.

To learn more about the profession, and for resources on Social Work Month, click here.

SFC Annual Report to the Community
Is Now Available Online

The 2021 Spaulding for Children Report to Our Community is now available online. The document describes what we did and how we helped build stronger families over the past year.  We also think it shows why our work is more important than ever. 

Click here to read it in PDF format.

March also Is 'National Reading Month'

In honor of the genius who helped make learning how to read fun, National Reading Month this year is celebrated to honor the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the great American writer, illustrator and political cartoonist, Theodore Seuss Geisel.

In this month people, especially children, are encouraged to read more. We hope the increase in reading during this month encourages reading throughout the year. An enjoyment of reading -- books, letters, online -- leads to significant benefits to mind, memory and the world within readers that pays off in the future: in-school, at-work and in-life.
The Southfield Public Library has kindly put together a number of reading lists with works appropriate for various ages. And the Southfield Public Library, an important part of our first Families in Bloom, will be rejoining us this year at Families In Bloom 2 on Saturday, April 30.

'StoryTime with Miss Katie' Begins Season 3

Of course, the team at Spaulding knows every month is reading month for Katie Ward as she begins her third year of StoryTime with Miss Katie.

Each Sunday at 7 p.m. on Facebook Katie, Adoption/Foster Care Team Lead at Spaulding, reads a book live and in-person. Often, Ms. Ward's son or daughter will join in and read, too.

Katie selects books that mark the time of year and that deal with specific issues children face. As an example, this March’s book includes:
  • Patrick Picklebottom and the Penny Book
  • Find Your Calm
  • My Name Is Stardust
  • Oliver West It’s Time to Get Dressed
A complete list of books that will be featured on StoryTime in the coming year is now available online. Click here.

Help Us Build Our 'Library for Families'

In addition to being read live on Facebook, Spaulding team members have found many books are helpful resources to families. And this spring we are looking for additional copies of specific books to share with our families. Generous donors can purchase one of the works and have it sent to Spaulding through Amazon.

The books we are hoping to receive are at this link
Employee Relations Cares Committee

ERCC Team Says: 'Let's Book It!'

The ERCC (Employee Relations Cares Committee) meets monthly to discuss and plan fun activities for Spaulding for Children staff.

The idea behind the ERCC is to show staff that Spaulding, as an organization, also cares about the happiness, mental health and physical well-being of each member of the Spaulding team.
A yearly theme is chosen by the ERCC for the celebrations that are held every month and quarter.  This year’s theme is: “Get Booked.”  By celebrating books and reading, the ERCC wants the team to get to know -- and undertand -- one another through the books each one of us enjoys. 

Celebrations and activities like the birthday celebrations, contests, scavenger hunts, and distribution of self-help information occur monthly.  Special events like Volunteer/Intern Appreciation, Administrative Professionals Day and Bosses Day are celebrated during the designated month.  Peer and Gem Award recognition occurs monthly in conjunction with the All Staff Meetings and Holiday Celebrations.  Video recordings are produced and shared with staff, highlighting those being celebrated or recognized. 

A new committee is chosen each year with a cross section of agency staff.  This year’s committee members are Cheryl Gist (Chair). Danelle Stiffler (Co-Chair), Jamie Bozarth (Management Liaison), Sharon Corpolongo, Doretha Morgan, Arleen Jacoby-Rodriguez, and Katherine “Katie” Ward.
We also want to say, "Thank you" to the team at Campbell Marketing & Communications for their continued support. 

Change a child's life, become a foster parent!

Click to learn more.


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