Granting 30 Wishes In 30 Days for 30 Michigan Foster Children and Parents

CONTACT: Katie Page Sander, Foster Care Navigator Program, 734-528-2071 or -OR-
Dave Akerly, Director of Communications, 517-373-7394 or  

Foster Care Awareness Month ceremonies scheduled in local communities statewide

Lansing, Mich. May 1, 2014 – As a single father, Antoine Hudson of Harper Woods has his hands full with six boys between the ages of 9 and 15, plus a full-time job. This does not keep Hudson from being a devoted and compassionate foster parent who’s taken 17 children into his home since 2005 – adopting three of them.

“Mr. Hudson is a compassionate and caring father who works to instill morals and confidence in all of the young men that he interacts with,” said his social worker, Brittany Jackson of Wellspring Lutheran Services in Detroit.

Hudson is among 30 parents and 30 workers in Michigan’s foster care system being honored at local ceremonies this month for all they do for children who need loving homes. For the second year the statewide Foster Care Navigator Program is celebrating exceptional foster parents from around the state by fulfilling 30 wishes for 30 foster families in 30 days during May. New this year is recognition of 30 outstanding child welfare professionals. The Foster Care Navigator Program will highlight the often untold stories of foster parents and social workers who are making amazing sacrifices for Michigan’s children in foster care.

“These families and social workers are real-life superheroes,” said Katie Page Sander, program manager for the Foster Care Navigator Program. “We are thrilled to honor them and grant wishes to their foster families as we celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month.”

Granted wishes include Detroit Tigers and Red Wings tickets; dinner and movie nights out for the entire family; family passes to local zoos, museums and waterparks; cameras; basketball hoops and more.

More than 100 families were nominated by social workers from 49 counties. Agency social workers gave impact statements describing why their nominees should be selected, a description of the family’s wish and how it would benefit the family. Foster parents nominated social workers who demonstrated professionalism, care and commitment.

Foster Care Navigator Program staff, community members and Michigan Department of Human Services representatives chose the 30 families and 30 social workers that most exemplified commitment, dedication and actions above and beyond the call of duty to the children in their care.

Page Sander said the most exciting outcome of the project has been the outpouring of support by Michigan companies, individual donors, the Michigan Department of Human Services and generous donations from across the country through One Simple Wish, a New Jersey based 501c(3)nonprofit agency dedicated to granting wishes to deserving children and families in need. Through this support, the Foster Care Navigator Program will be able to fulfill the wishes of not only the top 30 family winners, but all 113 nominated families.

Families and social workers will have their wishes granted at six regional awards ceremonies throughout the state. The ceremonies are:

May 1 – 10:30 a.m. –1 p.m., Thumb Area Regional luncheon and awards ceremony
Kingston Wesleyan Church 3248 Washington St. Kingston

May 8 – 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Southeast Michigan Regional luncheon and awards ceremony
Woodside Bible Church 27300 Hoover Road Warren

May 15 – 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Southwest Michigan Regional luncheon and awards ceremony
West Lake Presbyterian Church 415 N. 28th St. Battle Creek

May 22 – 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Northern Michigan Regional luncheon and awards ceremony
Camp Westminster 116 Westminster Drive Higgins Lake

May 23 – 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Upper Peninsula Regional luncheon and awards ceremony
Water’s Edge Church 1228 Presque Isle Ave. Marquette

May 29 – 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Western Michigan Regional luncheon and awards ceremony
Byron Center Bible Church 8855 Byron Center Ave. SW Byron Center

30 Spotlight Families/Community:
Connie and David Finley- National City
Michelle Bowman- Wayne
Tina Horton and George Kearns- Hillman
Kevin and Christina Wert- Union City
Latavia Stine- Lansing
Kristi and Kevin Herendeen- Clark Lake
Sarah and Cory McDiarmid- Ionia
Roger and Nikki Currier- Holland
Gladys Darty- Redford
Mark and Meggan Kaufman- Sidney
Kristalyn Golston- Detroit
Karen McMutuary- Benton Harbor
Kathy and Walt Disbrow- Lawton
Ronisha Bryant- Grand Rapids
Josh and Ivanna Parker- Byron Center
Peter and Grace Mosher- Rockford
Dee and Stacey Worley-VanDine- Zeeland
Cindy and Ray Gunderman- Vestaburg
Barb and Randy Hulett- Wyoming
Kimberly and Allen Hackman-Swanson- Kentwood
Bryon and Dione Antes- Kentwood
Pauline Williams- Saginaw
Karen and Brandon Scudder- Lexington
Sherry and Kandawaswika Kahari- Macomb
Antoine Hudson- Harper Woods
Monika Siler- Fairgrove
Robert and Shelley Kost- Flint
Viretta Boyd- Bloomfield
Monica Jones- Detroit
Joe and Ameenah Green- Detroit  

30 Spotlight Social Workers/Agency:
Becky Ray - Muskegon DHS
Jessica Bradley - Hillsdale DHS
Michelle Lock - Branch DHS
Lisa Curtis - Barry DHS
Michelle Klein - Wellspring Lutheran Services
Josett Gracey - Arenac DHS
Janel Scott - Macomb DHS
Brianna Lyons - Arenac DHS 
Jane Argiero - Jackson DHS 
Darla Edwards - Wellspring Lutheran Services
Shannon Neumann - Gratiot DHS
Kimberly - Sanilac DHS
Heather Hanna - Lutheran Social Services
Stephanie Mack - Holy Cross Children’s Services
Kim Galarno - Holy Cross Children’s Services
Katie MacDonald - Wellspring Lutheran Services
Dawn Smith - Ennis Center for Children
Tracie Bobrowski - Ennis Center for Children
Lisa Williams - Wellspring Lutheran Services
Jessica Chevalier - Upper Penninsula Family Solutions
Lexie Verganwen - St. Vincent Catholic Charities
Cindy Shah - Gladwin DHS
Sheila Strunk - Macomb DHS
Patricia Herman - Huron DHS
Holly Wasierski - Huron DHS
Chelsea Jacobs - Mecosta/Oceola DHS
Courtney Fox - St. Vincent Catholic Charities
Lori Lambertsen - Ennis Center for Children

For more information on becoming a foster parent and speaking with a navigator, visit