The Superior Health Foundation annual gala will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2024 in the ballrooms at the Northern Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Proceeds from the gala will benefit SHF and its partner organization:
The Superior Health Foundation is pleased to announce that it has selected the Northern Lights Child Advocacy Center as its partner for the 2024 Annual Gala. Based in Marquette, Northern Lights Child Advocacy Center serves all child survivors of physical and sexual abuse, neglect, human trafficking, and witness to violence. Children accessing its services are from all socioeconomic backgrounds, all races, genders, and from all parts of Marquette County and surrounding rural areas.
At least $15,000 in funding from the gala will be used to purchase supplies and technology vital to the services provided by the children’s advocacy center. These services include client intake and crisis counseling, forensic interviews, case coordination services, coordination of a multidisciplinary team including the prosecutor’s office, law enforcement and children’s protective services, and community prevention education.
The gala is again proudly presented by the Marshfield Medical Center – Dickinson.
Because protecting kids from harm is our collective responsibility. This is Mari's story.
Less than a week after we opened our doors in our new location, six-year-old Mari (name changed for privacy of course) walked through our doors. A beautiful and strong 1st-grader, Mari had been hurt by her stepdad since she was four years old.
At first, Mari was shy and a little nervous. Sarah, our director, offered her a snack and a juice box which she eagerly accepted. Mari then spotted the stuffed hedgehog in our family room, and the ice was broken as she talked with Sarah about her love of hedgehogs. Meanwhile, Ethan, Northern Lights’ survivor advocate, was talking with Mari’s grandparents, making helpful referrals. After a few minutes, our forensic interviewer, Miss Alaina, introduced herself and took Mari to the interview room, a comfortable space with live plants, toys, and even a beanbag chair, where they could talk about what happened.
In a separate room, Northern Lights’ Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator, Nate, was observing the interview alongside a local police officer, and child protective services worker. Together, they would make sure that Mari’s case moves forward, and that her needs are at the center of their investigations. None of these things were Mari’s to worry about. Our team took full responsibility for making sure she was safe and cared for throughout the process.
“Can we come back here tomorrow?
It’s nice here.”
Mari’s interview went well. When she was leaving with her grandparents, our staff heard her ask, “Can I come back here tomorrow? It’s nice here.”
That is what your gift today can make happen. With your partnership, we can help the more than 1,000 children from Marquette County facing abuse, neglect, or human trafficking, every year.
We are happy to report that Mari is seeing a counselor now. Her teacher says she is doing well in school, and grandma and grandpa report that she is settling in to living with them. If Mari has to testify in court, our team can help her prepare and be there with her and her family. We will bring games, and coloring supplies, to help pass the time waiting, and comforting items like fidgets or plushies for Mari to hold while she’s on the stand.
We are working to make sure that more kiddos like Mari have access to free hope, help, and healing.