19 Charities Receive Oakland Casual Day Funds

Oakland County employees donated a total of over $50,000 to support local charities in 2015 through the county’s Casual Day program, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said during a special ceremony today in the lobby of the Executive Office Building. On Casual Day, employees in participating departments and divisions may donate $1 to wear jeans or dress casually.

DSC_0059Patterson presented 19 organizations which serve the community with checks totaling $31,500 during the special ceremony. County employees also gave an additional $19,500 during Special Casual Days this year, $7,000 of which went to the family of Michigan State Police Trooper Chad Wolf, who died in the line of duty while on patrol in northern Oakland County. A Special Casual Day is one that has a designated recipient.

“Our county employees are among the most generous individuals I know, whether it is donating their time or money,” Patterson said. “They topped $50,000 in donations this year and set a record for the most donated to a Special Casual Day recipient. I’m of course speaking about the Special Casual Day for Trooper Chad Wolf’s family.”

The donation to Trooper Wolf earned the gratitude of Col. Kriste Etue, the director of Michigan State Police. In a Sept. 23 letter to Patterson, she wrote, “It is at times like this that we most appreciate the support from the communities we serve.”

That captures the spirit behind the Casual Day program. This year’s 19 Casual Day recipients were:

  • The American Diabetes Association – Bingham Farms
  • The Baldwin Center – Pontiac
  • Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center – Birmingham
  • Canine Advocacy Program – Novi
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Council (CARE House) – Pontiac
  • D-MAN Foundation – Rochester Hills
  • Donate Life Coalition of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • Give-A-Christmas Year Around – Royal Oak
  • Grace Centers of Hope – Pontiac
  • HAVEN – Bingham Farms
  • Helping Hearts Helping Hands – Clarkston
  • Kids Kicking Cancer – Southfield
  • McLaren Children’s Clinic – Pontiac
  • Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society – Pontiac
  • Oxford/Orion FISH – Orion Township
  • The Rainbow Connection – Rochester
  • Rebuilding Together Oakland County – Farmington Hills
  • Toys for Tots – Waterford
  • Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery – Southfield

Since its inception 23 years ago, Oakland County employees have donated about $800,000 dollars, touching the lives of thousands of people. No taxpayer funds are used in the Casual Day program.

2015 Recipients of Oakland County Casual Day Funds

  • American Diabetes Association: Their mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. They lead the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fight for those affected by diabetes. They fund research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes, they deliver services to hundreds of communities, they provide objective and credible information, and they give voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.
  • The Baldwin Center: The Baldwin Center’s mission is to feed, clothe, educate and empower the men, women and children of the Pontiac community. The Center has been serving Pontiac residents since 1981 and currently offers more than 25 support programs that meet basic needs, assistance in a crisis, provides education and enrichment opportunities for adults and children, and serves as a safety net. It envisions people of all ages and cultures sharing the belief that they can create and shape how they live and grow within the community.
  • Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center: The BBAC, founded in 1957, serves the Detroit region’s visual arts community by fulfilling its mission “to connect people of all ages and abilities with visual arts education, exhibition, and other creative experiences.” Its classes, exhibitions, workshops, camps, programs, and events, in conjunction with artist, retail, and rental opportunities, have made the BBAC one of the strongest supporters of artists and art appreciators in the region. Nearly 5,000 individuals from Southeast Michigan, ranging in age from pre-school to senior citizens, benefit throughout the year from outstanding opportunities to learn about a broad and deep range of visual expression including: drawing, painting (oil, acrylic, mixed, watercolor, encaustic), sculpture, jewelry/metalsmithing, printmaking, ceramics and fiber arts.
  • Canine Advocacy Program: The Canine Advocacy Program (CAP) was developed to provide advocacy services to child victims utilizing a highly trained dog to help alleviate the anxiety associated with being involved in the criminal justice system. Its dog “Amos” is skilled in assisting children in both the courts and assisting child victims of sexual assault in group therapy settings. He has worked in district and circuit courts as well as the Oakland County Children’s Village.
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Council (CARE House): The Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Oakland County, or CARE House, is a leader in protecting the children of the community. The council was formed out of collaboration in 1977 when Oakland County law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor’s office, the Junior League of Birmingham, Children’s Protective Services, and community stakeholders joined forces. This collaboration and dedication to the kids has continued for more than three decades.
  • D-MAN Foundation: Danny’s Miracle Angel Network or D-MAN Foundation was founded by Ziad S. Kassab in memory of his younger brother, Danny, who was hit by a car at the age of 7 on July 22, 1993. This accident resulted in Danny being a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic for 16 years. He passed away on Aug. 30, 2009. Despite his many health complications, Danny lived his life to the fullest and inspired everyone he met. Ziad, moved by his younger brother’s life and faith in God, started the foundation as a way to give others with severe injuries like Danny’s a chance to live life fully with a can-do attitude. D-MAN is dedicated to enriching the lives of families and individuals living with physical and mental disabilities. Through education, specialty programs, and fundraising efforts, the D-MAN Foundation strives to ensure that quadriplegics and others with various disabilities have the opportunities to achieve the highest quality of life possible.
  • Donate Life Coalition of Michigan: The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan was formed in 1999 to promote organ and tissue donation. Their goal is to encourage Michigan residents to accept organ and tissue donation as a fundamental human responsibility. They seek to accomplish this primarily through public education, legislative and professional education endeavors. The Donate Life Coalition of Michigan is modeled after Donate Life America, which among other things, creates and distributes national advertising campaigns and various awareness efforts such as National Organ and Tissue Donation week.
  • Give-a-Christmas Year Around: This Royal Oak-based non-profit, Give-a-Christmas Year Around, looks to raise funds all year to distribute to other charitable organizations that serve families in need. They work with the directors of area charities that have specific requests for assistance.
  • Grace Centers of Hope: Grace Centers of Hope was established in 1942. It has since grown and evolved into the largest and oldest faith-based outreach to homeless and disadvantaged individuals and families. Grace Centers of Hope provides a full recovery and rehabilitation campus for homeless men, women and children who have been abused or addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.
  • HAVEN: As Oakland County’s only comprehensive program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy and educational programming to nearly 30,000 people each year. Its mission is to eliminate sexual assault and domestic violence and to empower survivors through advocacy and social change in and around Oakland County. HAVEN, a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in Oakland County, promotes a world of safe, equal and accountable communities where sexual assault and domestic violence do not exist.
  • Helping Hearts Helping Hands: Erica Cale is the founder of Helping Hearts Helping Hands. At the extraordinary age of 15, she realized her calling to be a missionary – to live her life helping others. On April 10, 2007, she established Helping Hearts Helping Hands, a family-based non-profit organization, in Honduras. Helping Hearts Helping Hands’ goal is to change the lives of poverty-stricken Honduran children and families. It provides immediate assistance by delivering food, fresh water, clothing, shoes, vitamins and other needed items to Honduran villages. It provides personal care items and instruction on self-care, dental care, health, and nutrition. It helps Honduran families establish businesses that will provide a source of income to become self-sufficient. In addition, Helping Hearts Helping Hands operates a foster care home in a neighborhood where crime and gang related activity occur daily.
  • Kids Kicking Cancer: Kids Kicking Cancer is a non-profit organization that provides weekly classes for children, both inpatient and outpatient, in the mind-body techniques found in the martial arts. Their mission is “to ease the pain of very sick children while empowering them to heal physically, spiritually and emotionally.” They emphasize relaxation and mental imagery, and skill each student according to his or her capabilities to engage in breathing, meditation, and active karate exercises.
  • McLaren Children’s Clinic: Opened in 1995 and the only one of its kind in the county, McLaren Oakland Children’s Health Services provides free health care services to more than 2,500 patients each year. Children from birth through 18 years of age receive acute and preventative health care services, including wellness exams, immunizations and specialty care. The clinic has able to reduce the number of emergency room visits and significantly raise the rate of immunized children in our community.
  • Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society: Founded in 1874, the Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society originally resolved “to collect and preserve things of the past, present, and future appertaining to the county which will delight and instruct the present and future inhabitants.” Over time, the mission and activity of the Society has become more focused. It provides educational and cultural experiences through our four main attractions: The Governor Moses Wisner homestead, known as Pine Grove; the Drayton Plains One Room School, moved to the property in 1965; the Research Library and Archives, containing extensive materials often not available elsewhere; and the Pioneer Museum, highlighting the county’s rural past
  • Oxford/Orion FISH: Oxford/Orion FISH provides emergency aid in the form of food, and agency referrals to individuals who live in Oxford, Lake Orion, Addison/Leonard and parts of Oakland Township. Their daily volunteers will call individuals seeking assistance, assess the problem, identify the need, and work toward a solution. The action may be an appointment for that afternoon at the FISH food pantry to receive emergency groceries to last 5-7 days; and often referrals to other agencies for additional assistance.
  • The Rainbow Connection: The Rainbow Connection is a charity that grants wishes to Michigan children who are suffering from life threatening or terminal illness. Patterson began The Rainbow Connection as a memorial Golf Outing to raise scholarship funds in the name of Tim and Jennifer Dobson who died in a plane crash, along with their father, Ron, on the way to a wedding in Canada in Ron’s private plane. Their mother, who survived but was critically injured in the crash, sits on the board of directors for Rainbow Connection. From the humble beginning of a small golf outing that raised $2,300, the Rainbow Connection now has an annual budget nearing $1 million.
  • Rebuilding Together Oakland County: The organization was started in 1988 as “Christmas in April,” with 13 loosely-organized community service programs. Rebuilding Together Oakland County (RTOC) was founded in 1992, and joins over 200 other affiliates across the nation striving for community improvement. In 2014, RTOC rehabilitated 53 homes and 4 nonprofit, up from 46 homes last year. Thirty-six projects completed under our Minor Home Repair Program. Eleven ramps were completed for handicapped homeowners. Total from 1992 through 2014: 910 homes and non-profit facilities rehabilitated.
  • Toys for Tots: Toys for Tots’ mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.
  • Walk the Line to SCI Recovery: Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Injury Recovery exists for one purpose: to promote and achieve recovery from spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Walk the Line says, “When a team of individuals all believe and work towards a goal, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!” Walk The Line challenges the rules of traditional rehab by including its clients in goal setting, creating unique program designs, encouraging interaction and socialization among clients, caregivers, family members and staff. It provides an environment that promotes respect for each other and one where everyone is family.
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