Employee Donor Spotlight: Derek Allen

Derek Allen

Derek Allen, Director of the Starr Global Learning Network.

Derek Allen’s history with Starr Commonwealth goes back ten years when he started as a Youth Specialist on the Albion campus fresh out of college.  After leaving to serve as a Special Education Teacher, he returned four years ago to serve as a Senior Clinician, then Associate Director, and now as the Director of the Starr Global Learning Network. Derek says he has made giving to Starr a priority over the past few years.

“For me, working at Starr is not a job; it’s a mission and I want to support our efforts in every way I can, including financially,” he says. Continue reading

Donor Spotlight: Joyce Soebbing

When you grow up in a family of farming people, you learn at an early age that giving back is a way of life.

That is according to Joyce Soebbing, a long-term Starr donor who grew up in a family of people from the farmland in central Illinois, and is very familiar with seeing how farmers in the area help each other out in times of difficulty.

Soebbing Quote“Our family was brought up to help in any way we could,” she says. “We were raised to look around at what was happening in the community, and see if there was some way to help, either physically or financially.” Continue reading

Foundation Donor: The Carls Foundation

The Carls Foundation has a long history of making a difference throughout the state of Michigan and beyond since its founding in 1961 by William and Marie Carls. The foundation was established to carry out the charitable activities of Mr. and Mrs. Carls through philanthropic gifts for the purposes of child welfare; recreational, welfare and educational programs; and preservation.

Starr Commonwealth has been the beneficiary of the Foundation’s generosity, whose support has made it possible for our organization to serve more children and families than we had ever thought possible. Gifts from the Carls Foundation have supported the startup and renovation of our Starr-PsychSystems Autism Center in Harper Woods, which serves children and adults in metro Detroit with autism spectrum disorders in need of assessment, diagnosis and treatment. In particular, the Autism Center has targeted underserved children of low-income families who qualify for Medicaid. Continue reading

Chemical Bank Grant Supports Starr Battle Creek Program

A grant from Chemical Bank has boosted Starr Commonwealth’s Battle Creek program, which provides hundreds of families with mental health services each year.

Chemical Bank donates $2250 to STARR

From left to right: Chris Smith, Elizabeth Carey, Catherine Yates, Terri Fogle, and Annette Campau

The grant of $2,250 will provide additional after school activities for the young people in the intensive in-home mental health program, as well as important information materials.

Starr’s intensive in-home mental health program has served families in the Battle Creek area for the last 18 years, and combines individual, family and group therapy; crisis intervention; case management; and connection to community resources.

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Camp Ready Readers

Children ReadingReading is an important skill. It helps you understand the world around you, allowing you to read road signs, text friends and apply for jobs. Reading is a skill, a hobby, and a necessary part of life. Unfortunately, many students in our country do not continue to enhance their reading skills once school is out for the summer.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, more than half of the achievement gap between low- and high-income students can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. The organization also states that low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement over the summer, while their middle- and high-income peers see slight gains.

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