Livingston County Catholic Charities to honor volunteers, group
BRIGHTON — Barbara Williams, Juanita Lavender, Rosemary Cahaney, Marie Hanvey and the Livingston County Community Alliance, Livingston County’s Seeker of Justice Award recipient for the Diocese of Lansing, will be honored at Livingston County Catholic Charities (LCCC) eighth annual “Salute to the Stars” on Saturday, April 21, at St. Patrick Parish Life Center, 710 Rickett Road.
A comedy show starring the husband-and-wife team of Kerri Pomarolli and Ron McGehee (both natives of Michigan) will be the featured event of the “Hollywood Style” night, which also includes an hors d’oeuvres stations and a raffle of such items as a necklace and earring set valued at $1,300, a Kindle Fire, Detroit Princess Riverboat Cruise, several golf outings and more.
But the centerpiece of the night is the honorees.
Lavender has been caring for other people’s children since the death of her parents, when she was just 15, and she became the primary caregiver for her six younger siblings. She and her husband raised three children of their own. After her husband’s death, she became a licensed foster parent. Over the years she has provided care for 18 teens, all of them through the child abuse and neglect system, and each of them having a variety of other special needs.
Terese Gainer, a Department of Human Services program manager, said Lavender is a very patient and nurturing person, freely sharing of her time and resources with adolescents needing a temporary home. She also puts tremendous effort into engaging the birth parents and siblings of these youth. As a foster parent, she said one of her goals is to assist the teens toward academic success, since many of them come into her home academically behind.
An active member of St. Joseph Parish in Howell, Lavender also is an active member of the Foster–Adoptive–Kinship Service (FAKS) committee in Livingston County, where she shares her experiences with prospective foster parents and with other experienced foster parents.
Cahaney is a Fowlerville resident and a long-time member of St. Agnes Parish in Fowlerville, where she has provided volunteer leadership for many of the outreach activities. She coordinates parish involvement with the Knights of Columbus, the Family Impact Center, Love In the Name of Christ and Livingston County Catholic Charities.
“Rosemary has a strong desire to assist those who are in need,” said Fr. Bob McGraw, pastor at St. Agnes.
The retired elementary teacher is working with her pastor and the parish staff to develop a Christian Service Commission to coordinate the service ministries of the parish. Through her work with the Family Impact Center, through Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for low-income families and through the “casserole brigade” for the homebound, the infirm and those experiencing the death of a family member, Cahaney provides food for others. She also coordinates of the bedding ministry and the St. Agnes Welcome Table.
She and Roger have been married for 44 years, have four children and 12 grandchildren.
Hanvey also is an active member of St. Joseph Parish, where she served as a Eucharistic minister, lector, volunteer coordinator for the God’s Kitchen Community Meal, is a St. Vincent dePaul home visitor, works in the parish food pantry and the Carpenter Shop Bookstore, assists with the funeral luncheons and is a member of the parish pastoral council. Her service as a Eucharistic minister makes her a frequent visitor to Medi-Lodge in Howell.
She also is an active volunteer with the Gleaner’s Community Food Bank and is an active volunteer with Pregnancy Helpline and with the St. Joseph Respect Life.
“Marie is a selfless, giving and loving soul,” said Joan Hutchison, the executive director of Pregnancy Helpline. “She is always very optimistic, always seeking how she can help someone, looking for the best in everyone. Marie accepts people as they are and is an amazing woman. She gives willingly and is always looking for more to do. Marie refuses to give up on something or on someone.”
The retired nurse still uses her skills as an occasional volunteer with the Livingston County Public Health Response Team. She and her husband, Bob, live in Howell, have six children and 11 grandchildren. She attends daily Mass and said it is a very important part of her ministry.
Williams is a retired social worker from Brighton High School, but still works in the school with students as both a part-time counselor and as a volunteer. She was led to a career in social work after volunteering for several years in the emergency room and the critical care waiting room at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital. As secondary learning coordinator at BHS, she has led numerous programs, including the Yellow Ribbon suicide-prevention program, substance abuse education and prevention, peer mediation, Reaching Higher, tobacco-free schools and the B-KOM mentoring program. She has collaborated with many local agencies and service providers, including the BASE Foundation, Brighton Rotaries, LACASA and the Women’s Resource Center.
In addition to the daily counseling with individual students, Williams has led group sessions on a variety of themes, including grief and loss, family relationships, depression, anxiety and panic disorders and substance abuse education.
She and her husband have three grown children, four grandchildren and she maintains contact with a former foreign exchange student.
The Livingston County Community Alliance (LCCA) is a coalition of volunteers and professionals committed to combating underage drinking and the use of illegal substances, including the misuse of legal substances. It grew out of an earlier prevention group, the Livingston County Substance Abuse Consortium (LIVSAC), which traces its beginnings to 1986. This earlier group included representatives from Livingston County’s five public school districts, health services and law enforcement. The LIVSAC met to develop and implement a broad-based community plan to deal effectively with substance abuse in Livingston County by “disseminating accurate information and promoting increased self-esteem among county youth so that they may make more informed lifetime decisions.”
In November 1990, LIVSAC recruited eight people to attend the Governor’s Substance Abuse Conference in Lansing. Over the next year, these and other leaders met under LIVSAC leadership for strategic and organizational planning. The group drafted by-laws to govern its operations and became known as the LCCA. A kickoff meeting was held on Dec. 6, 1991 and featured prevention expert and guest speaker Jim Crowley from Community Intervention Inc. The LCCA kick off was attended by over 125 key community leaders and resulted in expanded membership.
The LCCA is volunteer-driven and members include business leaders, educators, law enforcement, religious groups, parents, human service organizations and other concerned citizens. In 1992, LCCA applied for and received 501(c)3 nonprofit status from the IRS. The mission of LCCA is “to reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse in Livingston County.” LCCA’s purpose is “to provide a broad-based community coalition that exists to work toward establishing healthy community norms concerning alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. The LCCA will seek to promote these norms through education, public policy and community services”.
LCCA affiliates were formed in the five primary communities (Brighton, Fowlerville, Hartland, Howell and Pinckney) in Livingston County. While the LCCA coordinated countywide prevention activities by developing an annual action plan, fund raising and increasing prevention resources, the local alliances recruited volunteers and provided input into the action plan. The LCCA continued with this structure well into the mid-1990s. At that time, the LCCA continued to meet as a countywide group with representatives from local communities, but local affiliates had stopped meeting.
During the late 1990s, participation in the LCCA was dwindling and its future was in question Key leaders appealed to the community for support and revitalization efforts began. Through the revitalization, the LCCA by-laws were rewritten and membership was expanded. In 2002, Livingston County Catholic Charities received funding from the Washtenaw-Livingston Substance Abuse Coordinating Agency (WCHO) to implement a model prevention program, Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA). A key component of the CMCA model is the development of local coalitions and volunteer leadership. With the WCHO/CMCA funding to support these community-building efforts, the LCCA was revitalized, has joined with other community partners and now sponsors or co-sponsors numerous substance abuse prevention projects throughout the community. These projects include the Run Against Drugs, Parents Who Host – Lose the Most and the Red Barrel Campaign.
The LCCA has been chosen for the Seeker of Justice award for all of these activities, but particularly for the Red Barrel Campaign. With support from law enforcement, substance abuse prevention professionals and numerous volunteers, the Red Barrel Campaign provides the opportunity for community residents to safely discard prescription drugs, with a particular emphasis on opiates and other medications with addictive qualities. By removing these unused substances from homes, these harmful substances are less likely to fall into the hands of potential abusers. In recent years, prescription opiates such as Vicodin and OxyContin, have frequently become the gateway to heroin use.
Joe Carney and Terry Murray have provided the leadership for the Red Barrel effort on behalf of the LCCA. With their leadership, numerous local businesses and volunteers have become involved. The Brighton State Police Post and the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department became the home locations for the first two Red Barrels, but these now can be found in law enforcement offices in every corner of the county.
The LCCA also sponsors the Run Against Drugs, with the eighth annual run scheduled for Saturday, June 9, in Howell. Each year the run generates several thousand dollars that are used to support youth-directed prevention activities and alcohol/drug free social activities.
LCCA volunteers work closely with the professional substance abuse prevention organizations to support media campaigns and the annual Parents Who Host – Lose the Most campaign against underage drinking. All of the officers of the LCCA are community volunteers and include Carney, president; Charle Kline, vice president; Carrie Gaffney, secretary; and Julie Brown, treasurer.
In return for sharing their talents with our community, each individual will be inducted into the LCCC Wall of Fame.
For tickets to the event, call (517) 545-5944. To make a donation, sending a check payable to LCCC, 2020 E. Grand River, Suite 104, Howell, MI 48843 or visit www.livingstoncatholiccharities.org.
LCCC provides a wide range of nationally accredited social service programs, including mental health and substance abuse counseling, information and referral services, senior outreach services, substance abuse prevention, Be Our Guest adult day service and family life education programs. A new program — foster family care and adoption — starts in the spring. A special collection will be taken at the end of the evening and funds raised will be used to support the new program. All of these programs and services are available for all county residents regardless of financial circumstances, religious affiliation, age, and race or ethnic background.†