The Children’s Center – Treating the Whole Child in One Place
The Children’s Center is one of those places I’d always seen as I drove through Midtown Detroit, but never registered. I wasn’t made aware of it until a friend told me about the opportunity to go and visit and take a tour to learn what they are doing for the children of Metro Detroit. Being an advocate of kids and giving them every opportunity to live the best lives they can, I jumped at the chance.
At a recent team meeting, I suggested making this into an opportunity for this blog post, and my manager suggested reaching out to see if other members of our team might want to go along. They did and I arranged to tour their facilities at 79 W. Alexandrine. I looked at their website, did some research into issues affecting kids in the Metro area, and thought I was all set. I wasn’t.
We were warmly greeted by three people from The Children’s Center, Trent Thompson, Senior Director of Brand and Strategic Communications, Marletta Boyd, II, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, and Tammy Zonker, Chief Philanthropy Officer. Tammy started off with the history of the 84 year old organization, founded by Senator James Couzens. Then she shared what it is they do.
The Children’s Center supports 7,500 children in the Detroit Metro area, where there are over 100,000 at risk youth. The Center has over 20 programs, using a care team approach to help with both physical and mental health of the children they are able to reach.
Hearing the stories of children who the Center has helped was inspiring. There are programs to help children through foster care, heal emotional wounds from physical and sexual abuse, and treat the child as a whole so they can live a healthier future. Art therapy, counselling, foster care, adoption, medical and dental services, are just a few of these programs.
During our walk through the facility, we saw examples of the art that was on display in the gallery below. The image of the tree is called, “Our Wishing Tree.” This project had children write a wish on a leaf and post it to the tree. They ranged from toys to, “I want to see my Mommy more.”
They took us through the Pantry – where the shelves are more empty than they should be. The Boutique where a family or children can come and get clothing, toys and necessities as needed. They have recently remodeled this area with some sponsorship help and have created what they called the Fairy Hall (see the gallery) leading into the Boutique.
We saw the Resource Center where the children and families can go to wait for siblings in counseling, utilize computers for resumes and completing necessary forms and a reading area where a child would be encouraged to take a book with them as their own.
Our last stop was the Holiday Boutique, set-up so that families or children can get a toy and clothes this time of year, when they may not otherwise have an opportunity for a present.
In all, it was an emotional insight in the plight and needless suffering of children. And still, the great works and challenges that are being overcome by this little known agency. If you have a chance, take the tour! Learn how they help and how you might help, too. And, if you know of a child who is in need of help, they are there and only a visit or call away!
The Children’s Center, 79 Alexandrine West, Detroit, MI, 48201, (313) 831-5535. They have an evening Crisis line run from 4 p.m. – Midnight at (313) 324-8557. www.TheChildrensCenter.com
A Flickr photo gallery of our visit can be seen here.