Our Next Meeting 
New Member Proposed

The following proposed member has emailed their application to the office.  If anyone has a comment on this proposed member please forward it in writing within ten days to the Rotary office, before approval by the board of directors.  Thank you,

  • Lorri Rishar Jandron, Chief Executive Officer at Edge Parternships, Returning Member
Editarian Report for September 23, 2022
Call to Order: President Courtney sounded the bell to call Rotarians to order at 1:30 p.m. She welcomed everyone. She also noted that a flag had been provided this week.
Rotary Reflection: Nick Heriford gave the Reflection. In an effort to avoid creating controversy, Nick’s Reflection was inspired by two components of Rotary’s Four-Way Test: “Is it the truth?” (he indicated that truth can sometimes cause debate and conversation) and “Will it build goodwill and better friendships?” Nick said he challenged himself to find something that would be close to being universally true, and build goodwill and better friendships. He landed on the virtue of gratitude and shared the following:
  1.  According to Researcher Robert Emmons, gratitude allows a person to celebrate the present; block toxic emotions (envy, resentment,   regret, depression); be more stress resilient; strengthen social ties and self-worth; and allows for better rest.
  2.  One of the enemies of gratitude is ingratitude, characterized by excessive self-importance, arrogance, vanity, need for approval and sense   of entitlement.
Nick wrapped up with a quote from Martin Seligman, a pioneer in the field of positive psychology:
“When we take time to notice the things that go right it means that we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day.”
Thank you, Nick!
Patriotic Song: America the Beautiful, accompanied on piano by the inimitable John Dale Smith.
Special Music: Ken Beachler announced a special theatrical skit, featuring actors Jane Shipley Zussman and Stan Gill – both have impressive bios. They flawlessly performed Act 1 (“I’m Herbert”) of the two-act Broadway production (1967) called “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running.” Piano intro and outro provided by [the incomparable] John Dale Smith.
Introduction of Guests & Visiting Rotarians: Andrea Earl did an outstanding job managing mic duties.
  •  Lorri Rishar introduced herself as a former Rotarian being reinstated. She is CEO of Edge.
  •  President Courtney introduced one of her longest friends, Chrissie Juliano, Executive Director, Big Cities Health Coalition. She’s visiting from the Maryland/Washington, D.C., area.
  •  Bob Hoffman introduced his good friend and neighbor, Saeed Jafaei, Commercial Advisor with RE/MAX Commercial Group. Saeed is interested in joining Rotary. He visited about three years ago, before the pandemic.
  •  Pam Miklavcic introduced Maria Churchill, Director of Engagement, at The Davies Project.
  •  Brian Philson introduced his co-worker, Laura Jurasek, Highfields’ Fund Development Director.
  •  Todd Gute introduced Nicholas Hortsman, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones. Nicholas has been a member of the Williamston Sunrise Club and is considering joining our club.
Health of the Club: Sue Mills shared that Irv Nichols returned home yesterday from the rehab facility. He is doing well, for those who wish to reach out to him. Dennis Fliehman is undergoing open heart surgery today at the Cleveland Clinic and could use our prayers.
President Courtney thanked Cathy Andrews for bringing name badges to the meeting today.
Announcements: Rebecca Bahar Cook introduced Patrick Patterson, Executive Director, Mid-Michigan Recovery Services, Inc., who received a Foundation grant. As a fundraising consultant in our community, Rebecca gets the opportunity to work with many nonprofit leaders. She said, without exception, that we are lucky that they’re all dedicated to the missions they serve. Patrick, however, is more than just dedicated. For more than 20 years he’s been a truly inspiring visionary who always challenges his board, the community at large and, personally, Rebecca herself, to think outside of the box to better those in need among us. He added innovative programming at Mid-Michigan Recovery Services for those who suffer from chronic substance use with an eye towards addressing many of the recurring disorders that have hindered the desire to remain sober, including improvements to the agency’s short-term residential facilities, adding long-term housing options for both men and women, and providing vocational job-training by partnering with local businesses and trade agencies. Keep an eye out for improvements to their facilities and services on the horizon.
Patrick thanked the Club for Rebecca’s gracious introduction and friendship. They have teamed up for different initiatives for the past 15 years. He was happy to be out and about in public settings. He appreciates Rotary’s gift of a grant. He said, it has been a tough couple of years. Nonprofit health care is still suffering the greatest from staffing shortages. It’s been tough to get things done, on top of being pushed on by drug and alcohol abuse, which is a huge problem in our society now – the third leading cause of death in America, second only to heart disease and cancer. Alcohol is attributed to 146,000 deaths a year. Preliminary research suggests that the normal isolation disaffection makes substance use attractive for a certain personality. The struggles of our times could be behind that. About 9 percent to 26 percent of our labor shortage could be related to alcohol use. Mid-Michigan Recovery Services is busy trying to save lives. Patrick and his staff tries to attend to, progress with, foster and be good stewards of the greatest change that most people will ever go through in their lives. Patrick said he is inspired when he sees it happen. In closing, he expressed gratitude and said, “You’ve got to be about love in this business.”
Chair of the Month & Chair of the Day: Rocco Rucinski was not available, so his wife, Sheri Jones, stood in for him. Sheri joked that Rocco owed her dinner. He was in Ludington with his siblings. His sister flew in from Oregon, and she turned 70 today. They are getting together, and Sheri will join them this weekend. Sheri said that when she walks into this room it feels like family to her. She saw so many people and said it was wonderful to be in our presence. She felt the energy in our servant hearts; we are what makes this community great – our servant hearts and our servant leadership. She asked that we keep pouring out the light that we bring into the room and community. We should take opportunities like this to fill us up so that we can keep going back out and taking care of our people.
Community service has a been a part of Sheri’s life since she was a little girl. The community service award in her hometown is named after her grandfather – Raymond Casey Jones. Sheri said that Child and Family Charities has been on her radar for decades, when she was the crime-beat reporter going out with Lansing Police Department. She would go on raids and be in homes, and see these children who were victims of their circumstances by no effort of their own. She really wanted to do something for them. “Some day,” she said in her twenties. She found out Child and Family Charities wanted to build a home for abused and neglected children, and it took them about two years to raise $2 million. In 2006, they opened Angel House, which is still going strong in Mason. In 2020, they embarked on a huge opportunity to take over the McLaren Greater Lansing property. She introduced Dr. Julie Thomasma – a bright light with a servant heart and vision. Humble and charismatic, people are telling her “Yes. Not only yes to one million, two million, three million, four million, seven million, nine million, eleven million.” Sheri asked that we all be part of the capital campaign to raise money to bring this project to fruition.
Dr. Thomasma, Chief Executive Officer of Child and Family Charities, greeted Rotarians and presented her PowerPoint, “Partnering Together To Be the Light in the Community.”
She reflected on her journey, and said that she’s been with Child and Family Charities for seven years now. She was born and raised in Brighton. She sheepishly admitted that she’d “spent a little time in Ann Arbor,” then moved to Chicago for 12 years. After having her second child, she and her husband decided to come home. The last place she thought she’d ever move to was Lansing, Mich. She didn’t know a soul here, but she saw a job posting about children and families, and she believed it was an amazing opportunity – a mission she could get behind.
She looked around the room and said, “I can call so many people in this room friends and advocates for our mission.” Bob Hoffman has featured her many times on his show; Sherri and Rocco have been bright lights for anything she has needed; and Todd Gute has been on the journey with her. He joined their building committee and looked at every building in Lansing with them. She pointed to many partners who’ve lifted her up and kept her going.
“A nonprofit in a community belongs to you,” she said. “ I get to hold it for this moment in time. Child and Family Charities has a lot of history in this community, and we’re all in this together.”
Julie has had so many people tell her, “I was adopted. I was in foster care. I was homeless. I was there. I had a mental health issue. My son or daughter struggled with substance abuse. I lost someone from suicide. We’re all dealing with these issues together.” That’s what keeps her going in her work, and she thanked everyone for walking alongside her with it.
Child and Family Charities has been in the community for over 110 years. They are well-established and here to stay. They are well-funded, and they have many different funding sources – federal, state, county, city. They manage about 40 different funding streams and individual donors. They have a budget of about $9 million and 110 staffers – a very healthy organization. Last year they merged with Operation Good Cheer, a statewide organization that matches kids in foster care with donors across the state – 7,000 kids every year. In Mid-Michigan, their programs reach about 8,000 children, youth and families every year. They have six separate divisions and over 30 programs.
They started as a child welfare agency – kind of a grassroots effort to find safe and loving homes for children. They added mental health and substance abuse services, then started merging with a lot of small nonprofits. That’s how they became an umbrella agency, merging with Child Abuse Prevention Services. They became a local council in Ingham, merged with Teen Court – which includes a lot of prevention and restorative justice principles. They do a lot of work in our schools and merged with Gateway Youth Services – a homeless-to-runaway youth program. They are the only shelter in Mid-Michigan for homeless and runaway youths. They have Angel House, which Sheri championed 20 years ago. Right now, Angel House houses 10 young ladies who are in foster care and are parenting. They provide critical services to our community.
Their mission evolves and changes with the needs of the community. The pandemic resulted in many calls related to food, transportation and basic supply (diapers, for example) scarcities. During the pandemic, they were making regular deliveries, then shifted gears to address the needs of the community. “That’s the beauty of being in a nonprofit space,” she said, “They can change gears to meet needs immediately, and that’s what my team did during the pandemic.”
Coming out of the pandemic, they recognized that there were so many needs. Julie said, “This community has so many children and families in crisis. Mental health needs have increased dramatically. Nearly 70 percent of parents are worried about their kids’ mental health. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids trying to access emergency services. We have a wait list and started hiring more and more therapists. We are in Okemos, Holt, Waverly and Lansing school districts.”
There’s been a dramatic increase in violence as well, which is happening across the nation and is very scary. Of the 36 homicides that happened last year in Lansing, about a third of them involved children in some way. Ingham County Detention Center has eight kids right now who have committed murders. We need to do more to get to kids before they reach that point. Child and Family Charities has been working on prevention programs in schools and doing outreach to make sure they’re reaching families before they have those critical points where they are in crisis.
There is also a childcare crisis. “We have seen a 7 percent decrease in childcare availability in the state. We’ve lost 637 providers,” Julie revealed. “No wonder my staff is having to bring their kids to work. It’s tough to find childcare.”
Suicide rates were declining over the last decade, but they have begun to uptick again. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people.
Lansing saw some of the highest rates of school unenrollment. Getting kids back to school, enrolled and engaged is critical.
As an agency, they’ve been planning their response for a long time, well before the pandemic. They have the need to replace their shelter on the west side. It’s a very loved older building that is not accessible, and they have been busting at their seams. Julie wants to replace the shelter for homeless and runaway youths. This is a program for kids who are struggling at home. They can stay at the shelter with parental permission. The goal is to return them back home if possible, but it’s not always possible.
Child and Family Charities looked for housing. They have four other places, all spread out throughout the community. Julie said it would be incredible to bring them all together for everyone to access more conveniently. They are the largest provider for children and families in the region, but it’s been difficult for their clients to navigate.
Julie found an amazing partner in McLaren. They toured the McRee House. She asked what they were doing with the rest of their space. They took a look at it, and it “checked every box.” They needed about 40,000 to 50,000 square feet; McLaren’s space was 40,000 square feet. The shelter is 12,000 square feet. They wanted to be on the bus line. They wanted green space, preferably in south Lansing. It was the perfect space.
The property is on the corner of Washington and Greenlawn, and they are taking over the west end of the campus – the educational center. The remaining part will go to Community Mental Health. An RFP has been put out for inpatient beds for behavioral health – another major shortage in our state.
Julie shared a video of a young woman named Nat, who went to Gateway – a heart-wrenching story with a happy new beginning, thanks to Child and Family Charities. They took her off the streets, gave her a warm room and bed, and friends. Today, Nat is a hula-hoop dancer and fire spinner. She travels and talks to kids about following their dreams and obtaining their goals.
On August 16, they had their kickoff to start construction on the Jackson House, giving the McRee House (built in the nineties) a bit of a youth-friendly update. Jackson invested about $1 million to help with this portion of the project. It’ll open the first quarter of 2023 after they obtain licenses, but construction will conclude by the end of the year. Julie showed renderings of the construction project. They are creating a flexible space that accommodates the evolving needs of their workforce and the community. They are partnering with Impression 5 to bring a rotating exhibit to the waiting room.
In their first year, they will serve an additional 1,500.
According to Julie, the property is $1.2 million, and $10.3 million for renovations. They’ve had great support. The campaign has been going on for a year. The first million-dollar investment came from the State of Michigan (Hertel) after the budget passed. Ingham County committed $3 million from COVID relief funds, and Jackson committed nearly a million dollars. Donors include DART Foundation, Carl’s Foundation, Community Foundation, Pentecost Foundation, R.E. Olds, Exchange Club, Greater Lansing 100+ Women Who Care and individuals. There is an additional $3 million pending from the State of Michigan, which leaves $2.2 million to raise. They are looking for individuals, corporations and people who want to invest. She encouraged all to share the story.
To learn more or donate, visit Capital Campaign - Be the Light (
Coming Up: President Courtney announced that we are meeting Thursday, September 29, for a social gathering, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Lansing Brewing Company. There’ll be no speaker. We’ll have a short program around 5 p.m. Chris Swope will announce September birthdays, so if you haven’t made your gift, please do so soon. There will be no lunch meeting next Friday.
Our next lunch meeting will be Friday, October 7, 2022 in the Michigan Room at LCC.
Lolo Robison's email is:
Oct 07, 2022
Guatemala Literacy Project
Oct 14, 2022
Paul Harris Awards & DG's Visit
Oct 21, 2022
at Lansing Community College - Michigan Room
Oct 27, 2022
at Lansing Brewing Company, 518 Shiawassee
View entire list
Rotary Club of Lansing
P. O. Box 13156
Lansing, MI   48901-3156
Meeting Responsibilities
September Birthday Chair
Swope, Chris
Chair of the Month
Rucinski, Rocco
Swope, Chris