Whaley Children’s Center receives $15,000 grant to improve mental health programs

FLINT, Mich. — The Whaley Children’s Center (WCC) recently received a $15,000 grant from the Greater Flint Community Foundation. This support will be used to improve the program to better meet the mental health needs of children in the region.

According to Whaley’s Marketing Coordinator, Denise Zerka, the roots of the children’s center date back to the late 1800s when Robert Whaley’s son died of diphtheria at age 10. As Rober and his wife were going through their son’s belongings, they found a jar of coins he had been saving to go to an orphanage he had been visiting.

When Robert Whaley passed away, he bequeathed funds to establish the Donald M. Whaley Memorial House (his former name) in 1926 in memory of his son, with a mission to provide care for “homeless and neglected children”. Since then, the Whaley Children’s Center has provided shelter, hope and healing each year to nearly 90 children who have survived horrific abuse and neglect.

The mission of the organization is to empower young people and families and help them recover from trauma. “We strive to be leaders in treating at-risk children and their families and creating an environment that promotes positive change and growth,” Zerka said.

The center plans to use the grant money to add program enhancements, including telehealth services, staff development, enrichment opportunities, and field support in a more trauma-sensitive environment.

“With additional funding, we will be able to enhance our trauma-informed practices that will create a treatment plan that best meets the needs of youth and their families,” Zerka explained. “A program that engages and supports our youth and their family members for a successful transition when they leave our care.”

The Whaley Children’s Center is located at 1201 N Grand Traverse St. in Flint.Whaley Children’s Center President and CEO Mindy Williams is grateful for the support of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. “This grant will help us provide the best possible care for our children.

It is crucial for community organizations and those providing valuable resources to gather community feedback and respond to their needs. Zerka says that over the years, Whaley’s has consistently made changes to meet the needs of its people.

“Currently, the WCC has seen the need for more support for foster youth coming out of the system,” Zerka said. “WCC has acquired two homes to use for its independent living program. These homes will help meet the needs of foster youth coming out of the system and help them gain the skills and tools to become a successful young adult.

“As child welfare changes, we will continue to evolve and make the necessary changes to continue to provide the best care, support and treatment to the young people we serve,” she said. for follow-up.

Zerka also touched on one of Whaley’s lesser-known programs, namely the mentorship program. “Mentors spend at least four hours a month one-on-one with a child residing in our center,” she said. “Mentors have a huge impact on the lives of our children.”

Once discontinued during the pandemic, the program is now operational and accepting mentoring requests.

To learn more about Whaley’s Children’s Center, visit: whaleychildren.org

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