Catholic Charities honors community members at April 21 Salute to the Stars

Four individuals and one community group are being honored at Livingston County Catholic Charities (LCCC) “Salute to the Stars” on Saturday, April 21, 2012. Those honored are being recognized for significant contributions to the quality of life in Livingston County.

For more information on the event and tickets, click here.

This year’s honorees are: Barbara Williams, Juanita Lavender, Rosemary Cahaney, Marie Hanvey. Also honored is Livingston County Community Alliance, the Livingston County’s Seeker of Justice Award recipient for the Diocese of Lansing. You can read about the honorees by clicking here.

In return for sharing their talents with our community, each individual will be inducted into the LCCC “Wall of Fame.”

Juanita Lavender: Juanita Lavender has a life-long mission caring for other people’s children. This started after the death of her parents, when she was just 15 years of age, becoming the primary caregiver for her 6 younger siblings. She is very proud of the successful adults that each of them has become. Juanita and her husband subsequently have raised 3 children of their own. After her husband’s death, Juanita’s desire to care for others brought her to becoming 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 DHS program manager, describes Juanita as a very patient and nurturing person, freely sharing of her time and resources with adolescents needing a temporary home. In addition to caring for the foster children, Juanita puts tremendous effort into engaging the birth parents and siblings of these youth. As a foster parent, one of her goals is to assist the teens toward academic success. Many of the youth come into her home with school disruption and are often academically behind. To see many of them achieve educational success is an area of personal reward for her.

In addition to caring for the foster children, Juanita is an active member of the Foster – Adoptive – Kinship Service (FAKS) committee within Livingston County. In this capacity, Juanita shares her experiences with prospective foster parents and with other experienced foster parents. She has become an important part of the support and education services for local foster families. Juanita is also an active member of St. Joseph Parish in Howell.

Rosemary Cahaney: Rosemary Cahaney is a Fowlerville resident and a long-time member of St. Agnes Parish in Fowlerville. Over the years, Rosemary has provided volunteer leadership for many of the outreach activities at the parish. Rosemary coordinates the St. Agnes Parish involvement with the Knights of Columbus, the Family Impact Center, Love INC., and with Livingston County Catholic Charities. According to her Pastor, Fr. Bob McGraw, “Rosemary has a strong desire to assist those who are in need.”

Rosemary is currently working closely with her Pastor and the Parish staff to develop a Christian Service Commission to strengthen the coordination among the service ministries of the parish. A priority area for Rosemary’s ministry is to provide food to others. She does this through her work with the Family Impact Center, through the 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. Other activities include her coordination of the Bedding Ministry, the St. Agnes Welcome Table and her availability to meet with individuals and families in need at any time.

Rosemary and Roger Cahaney have been married for 44 years, have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. Rosemary is a retired elementary teacher with Fowlerville Community Schools, having spent her career at the pre-school and kindergarten levels.

Marie Hanvey: Marie Hanvey is an active member of St. Joseph Parish, with involvement in many of the parish ministries. Her parish activities include service as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector, Volunteer Coordinator for the God’s Kitchen Community Meal, St. Vincent de Paul home visitor, the parish food pantry, the Carpenter Shop Bookstore and service as a member of the Parish Pastoral Council. Her service as a Eucharistic Minister makes her a frequent visitor to Medi-Lodge in Howell.

Food is an area of very important interest to Marie as she takes the commandment to feed the hungry very seriously. In addition to her work with God’s Kitchen and the St. Joseph Food Pantry, Marie is also an active volunteer with the Gleaner’s Community Food Bank and assists with the funeral luncheons at the parish.

Another important area of ministry for Marie is the unborn. Because of her desire to support life at all stages, Marie is an active volunteer with Pregnancy Helpline and with the St. Joseph Respect Life. Joan Hutchison, the Executive Director of Pregnancy Helpline states, “Marie is a selfless, giving and loving soul. 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.

Marie is a retired nurse and she still uses these skills as an occasional volunteer with the Livingston County Public Health Response Team. Marie and her loving husband Bob live in Howell, have 6 children and take active delight in spending time with their 11 grandchildren. Marie is a daily communicant and states that this is a very important part of her ministry.

Barbara Williams: Barbara Williams is a retired social worker from Brighton High School (BHS), yet still works part-time 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 at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in the ER and the Critical Care Waiting Room. In her position as Secondary Learning Coordinator at BHS she has worn many different hats over the years. She has facilitated numerous programs at BHS, including Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, Substance Abuse Education and Prevention, Peer Mediation, Reaching Higher, Tobacco-Free Schools and the B-KOM Mentoring Program. In this role she has had the pleasure of collaborating with many local agencies and service providers, including the BASE Foundation, Brighton Rotaries, LACASA, and the Women’s Resource Center.

Because of these community involvements, Barbara has been an excellent role model as students have taken on community service projects. She has helped to bridge the school with the broader community and has enabled her students to take a broader view of the world. This has also enabled Barbara to connect her care for the community along with her care for her students.

An important part of Barbara’s social work role over the years has been to assist students as they have struggled in their personal lives. In addition to the daily counseling with individual students, Barbara has facilitated group sessions on a variety of themes, including grief and loss, family relationships, depression, anxiety and panic disorders, and substance abuse education. Through these activities, Barbara has demonstrated a consistent care and compassion for her students and has also impacted many of their families in a positive way.

Barbara and her husband have 3 grown children, 4 grandchildren, and she maintains contact with a former foreign exchange student.

Livingston County Community Alliance: The Livingston County Community Alliance (LCCA) is a local coalition of volunteers and professionals committed to combating underage drinking and the use of illegal substances, including the misuse of legal substances. The LCCA grew out of an earlier prevention group, the Livingston County Substance Abuse Consortium (LIVSAC), which traces its beginnings to 1986. This early history included representatives from Livingston County’s 5 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”. Many positive programs were operated under LIVSAC’s direction.

In November 1990, LIVSAC recruited 8 local individuals 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 kick off meeting for the LCCA was held on December 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 for the LCCA.

The LCCA was volunteer-driven and members included 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 was “to reduce alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse in Livingston County”. LCCA’s purpose was “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.”

Local LCCA affiliates were formed within the 5 primary communities (Brighton, Fowlerville, Hartland, Howell, and Pinckney) in Livingston County. While the LCCA coordinated county-wide 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 county-wide group with representatives from local communities, but local affiliates had stopped meeting.

During the late 1990’s, participation in the LCCA was dwindling and its future was in question. However, key leaders of the LCCA were not willing to give up and the group 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 our homes, these harmful substances are also 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.

Two local community volunteers, 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 2 Red Barrels, but these now can be found in law enforcement offices in every corner of our community.

In addition to the Red Barrel Campaign, the LCCA sponsors the Run Against Drugs, with the 8th annual run scheduled for June 9, 2012, in Howell. Each year the run generates several thousand dollars that are then used to support youth directed prevention activities and alcohol/drug free social activities. The 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 Joe Carney, President; Charle Kline, Vice President; Carrie Gaffney, Secretary; and Julie Brown, Treasurer.



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