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Flagging Call to Action Coalition May Merge with Commission on Children, Youth and Families

Farmington Hills city council members learned Monday that the Commission for Children, Youth and Families may help the flagging non-profit.

A Farmington-area nonprofit focused on preventing substance abuse and domestic violence may get a new lease on life, under the umbrella of the Commission on Children, Youth and Families. 

The Call to Action Coalition (CTAC), which hosts an annual breakfast and funds the BABES (Beginning Alcohol Addiction Basic Education Study) program, has struggled since the retirement of Estralee Michaelson, who also served as Farmington Public Schools director of Safe Schools and Student Services.

CTAC member Mitch Seelye said the Coalition "kind of fell apart" when Michaelson left. While a new director, Randy Field, took over, he has been transferred to work in Lansing and "we're back to falling apart again."

Seelye said the organization has about $12,000-$14,000 in the bank, which would cover six to seven years of funding the BABES program. The annual breakfast is self-supporting, but ticket prices could be increased slightly to raise funds. In addition, he said, city youth and family services director Todd Lipa is exploring possible grant funding. 

City manager Steve Brock said the commission recently voted to "in one way or another" absorb the group. From a legal standpoint, city attorney Steve Joppich said, the existing 501(c)3 could exist separately from the Commission, with a connection between the two groups. Funds raised by the CTAC would go to the Commission, which would then fund programs. 

"There's a lot of things that would have to be taken care of, but it could be done," Joppich said. 

City council member Richard Lerner noted the Call to Action annual kick-off breakfast once drew as many as 400 people, many of whom were from Farmington Public Schools. After Michaelson left, he said, "the schools stopped paying for teachers and counselors to be part of it."

"We've got to get the schools involved with this again," Lerner added. "You've got to get them engaged." 

"I can't see anything but a win-win," city council member Nancy Bates said of the proposed merger. "I think they'll strengthen each other." 

Brock said a resolution for the move could be introduced at the council's Feb. 25 meeting. 

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