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Holiday donations sought for foster care

Mike Boileau, owner of Mike’s Furniture in Norway, writes a $500 check to Mary Sparapani, child welfare supervisor and adoption case manager for the Catholic Social Services of the UP’s child welfare program. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

With Christmas only days away, the Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula’s Child Welfare Program has appealed for donations to help make a better holiday for local children in the foster care system.

While children in foster care have basic needs met — food, clothing, health care and shelter — “it’s those extra things such as Christmas, birthdays, summer camp and extracurricular activities that foster children often miss out on,” said Mary Sparapani, CSSUP child welfare supervisor.

Mike Boileau of Mike’s Furniture of Norway recently donated $500 to the program.

“I think these kids fall through the cracks sometimes. It’s important for them to have their needs met,” Boileau said.

“This donation will be used to provide a joyous and blessed Christmas to the foster and adoptive youths our agency is currently serving,” Sparapani said.

CSSUP currently has seven children in foster homes in Dickinson and Iron County.

Catholic Social Services of the UP is a non-profit, Christian-based agency that provides foster care, foster home licensing, adoption and counseling services to families across the Upper Peninsula, with offices in Marquette, Escanaba and Iron Mountain.

The CSSUP foster care staff also works to teach and mentor young parents who are struggling with unemployment, addiction or those who simply lacked positive parenting role models.

In addition to foster care services, CSSUP has coordinated adoptions for families in the Upper Peninsula since 1915.

CSSUP also provides individual counseling services, regardless of ability to pay. More than 1,600 residents and their families who might be dealing with depression, mental illness, marital issues or addiction make use of the counselors annually, according to CSSUP.

“Counselors help clients feel better, break the destructive cycle of addiction, provide symptom relief from mental health issues, identify functional impairments, and strive to instill a renewed sense of hope and improved overall sense of well-being,” Sparapani said.

The CSSUP also supports the Alpha Omega Home in Iron Mountain and the Divine Infant home in Wakefield. The AO House is a transitional home for men that currently has seven full-time and three part-time residents. All are employed or actively seeking work.

The Divine Infant home for marginal adults remains near capacity, with 20 adult foster care residents and 10 independent living residents.

CSSUP is accepting applicants looking to become licensed to provide foster care to children in need.

For more information, call Dawn Everson at 906-280-8291. Those interested in adopting through CSSUP can contact Diane Tryan at 906- 786-7212 or Sparapani at 906-282-4605.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also licenses foster homes, as does four other private agencies in the Upper Peninsula.

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