Dancers from Annette and Company Bree Gross, 18, of Franklin, and Ava Siver, 13, of West Bloomfield, teach a dance lesson April 27 at Spaulding for Children’s 30th anniversary celebration, Families in Bloom, at St. John’s Banquet and Conference Center.

Dancers from Annette and Company Bree Gross, 18, of Franklin, and Ava Siver, 13, of West Bloomfield, teach a dance lesson April 27 at Spaulding for Children’s 30th anniversary celebration, Families in Bloom, at St. John’s Banquet and Conference Center.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Spaulding celebrates 50 years serving children

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published May 8, 2019

 Alysa Vassar, 11, and her dad, David Vassar, both of Brownstown Township, check out a music app with Richard D. Bell, the program director for the Kids First Initiative.

Alysa Vassar, 11, and her dad, David Vassar, both of Brownstown Township, check out a music app with Richard D. Bell, the program director for the Kids First Initiative.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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SOUTHFIELD — They say it takes a village to raise a child.

For the local nonprofit Spaulding for Children, that rings true.

According to President and CEO Cristina Peixoto, Spaulding for Children is a Southfield-based child welfare organization that provides direct service to families that are at risk of abuse and neglect.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Spaulding held the Families in Bloom event April 27 at St. John’s Banquet and Conference Center.

Peixoto said the organization works directly with the families of the people it serves, which can be mothers as young as 11 or children who have been taken away from their families as a result of abuse or neglect.

“By the time Spaulding gets into the picture, the children have already been removed from their homes. We provide foster care or try to rectify unsafe conditions in the home,” Peixoto said. “We talk about substance abuse and mental health and domestic violence, and provide referrals for counseling for both the perpetrator and the victim, so that they can get the services they need.”

Spaulding  has two divisions that are in charge of developing training and curriculum for those interested in adopting or providing foster care, on top of working with local jurisdictions to improve their capacity to respond to the needs of the children.

After children are removed from their homes, the first step is to attempt to reunite them with any family members who may be able to take them in.

“One of the things we are very attuned to is that anything we can do to preserve relationships that happen in a child’s life, we do it,” Peixoto said. “That gives the child a sense of normalcy. The child doesn’t feel so abandoned from the circle of people that they know.”

Spaulding also works with young mothers after a baby is born, teaching basic parenting skills, as well as the ins and outs of monitoring the health and development of a child.

“Sometimes we have to teach the parents how to play with their child. A lot of our parents never had the experience of playing,” Peixoto said. “They sit next to their 3-year-old and expect to have a conversation.”

However, all of that would be impossible without the strong support of the local community, Peixoto said.

The community was invited to the free, family-friendly event, which hosted many different exhibitors pertinent to families in the area, as well as workshops for parents.

“When we decided we wanted to celebrate our anniversary, instead of hosting a dinner or a gala, we decided to bring the communities together,” she said. “We believe it takes a village to support a child.”

Brenda Sapp, a UPS business manager, said 48 employees of the shipping service volunteered their time at the event, from making sure everything flowed smoothly to offering tours of a package car.

“For us, it’s important to give back to the community we live and work in. Not only do we enjoy that aspect of it, but it lets us have a feel of other things within our community that we may not have known about,” Sapp said. “For instance, there were two people that were there that had adopted children through Spaulding, and I didn’t know that until I got there.”

Peixoto said Spaulding is always in need of donations, whether they be cash, clothing items or people volunteering their time.

Extremely gently used clothing and brand-new items are needed, as well as school supplies. Brand-new socks and underwear are also appreciated, she said.

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, go to spaulding.org.

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