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NEWS Vol. 74 • No. 2 Spring 2016

Gladsome Cottage Restoration BEAUTY is a Silent Teacher RESILIENT TOGETHER Starr Alumni Association SCHOLARSHIPS... Part of the Starr Family

Starr News

starr commonwealth leadership Officers

Board of Trustees

Elizabeth A. Carey President Chief Executive Officer

Honorable John Hallacy, Chair (2009 – 2018) Chief District Court Judge 10th District Court Battle Creek, MI Craig Carrel, Vice Chair (2008 – 2017) President and Partner Team 1 Plastics Albion, MI

Christopher L. Smith Chief Investment Officer Dudley N. Spade Chief of Staff Thomas F. Tate Chief Operating Officer

Lawrence Givens, Secretary (2010 – 2019) Blackmond and Givens, Inc. Southfield, MI Stanley Allen (2014 – 2023) Configuration Engineering Wells Fargo & Company Des Moines, IA Scott Bennett (2010 – 2019) Vice President UBS Financial Services Birmingham, MI Doug Clark (2013 – 2022) Executive Director Cru International Mill Creek, WA George A. Goodman (2010 – 2019) Ypsilanti, MI

Trustees Emeritus

President Emeritus

Tom Kolassa (2007 – 2016) Senior Vice President Hub International Battle Creek, MI

Michael J. Gable Human Resources Executive (Retired) Orlans Associates, PC Troy, MI

Martin L. Mitchell President Emeritus Coldwater, MI

Laura Koziarski (2013-2022) Child Advocate Battle Creek, MI

George D. Goodman Executive Director (Retired) Michigan Municipal League Ann Arbor, MI

Jack Kresnak (2009 – 2018) Journalist / Child Advocate Livonia, MI

Dr. Russell G. Mawby Chairman Emeritus W.K. Kellogg Foundation Battle Creek, MI

Randy Neumann (2013 – 2022) Vice President J.F. Daley, Inc. San Antonio, TX

Honorable Eugene A. Moore Chief Probate Judge (Retired) Oakland County Pontiac, MI

Dr. Arlin E. Ness President Emeritus Anthem, AZ *All Officers and Trustees can be reached at the following address and phone number: Starr Commonwealth 13725 Starr Commonwealth Road Albion, MI 49224 (517) 629-5591

William K. Stoffer Chairman and CEO (Retired) Albion Machine & Tool Co. Albion, MI

Mary E. Rutan (2013 – 2022) Human Resources Director (Retired) Grosse Pointe Woods, MI Erick Stewart (2009 – 2018) President Stewart Industries LLC Battle Creek, MI

Honorary Trustees

Bruce Vande Vusse (2009 – 2018) Attorney Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C. Farmington Hills, MI

Diana Starr Langley Montecito, CA

Anne Willson Dupré Granddaughter of Floyd Starr Toronto, Canada

Starr is dedicated to the mission of creating positive environments where children and families flourish. Starr News Spring 2016 Volume 73 • No. 2 Starr Commonwealth is a nonprofit organization serving children and families regardless of race, religion, color or national origin. Starr Commonwealth is accredited by the Council on Accreditation. Founded in 1913, Starr is licensed by the state of Michigan. The Albion campus is a Michigan Historic Site. Starr Commonwealth receives funds from social agencies, foundations, corporations and individuals. 13725 Starr Commonwealth Rd. Albion, MI 49224-9525 800.837.5591

Table of Contents President’s Letter


Starr Alumni Association


Scholarships... Part of the Starr Family


Gladsome Cottage Restoration 4

Gifts 12


Spring 2016

president’s letter


s we once again enjoy the warmth of spring and early summer in Michigan, Starr’s historic Albion campus is looking especially vibrant, and we are reminded of why our founder Floyd Starr believed so passionately that “beauty is a silent teacher.” Due to the careful preservation of Starr’s assets over the last century, it is not difficult, while taking a tour of the campus, to imagine why so many guests have been inspired not only by Starr’s commitment to helping children and families flourish, but also to the creation of truly beautiful environments where transformational experiences can occur. This commitment has extended far beyond Albion, our original campus. Today, our facilities in Harper Woods, Mich., including Starr Detroit Academy and the Starr PsychSystems Autism Center, offer outstanding, safe environments for learning and treatment. In addition, our behavioral health sites in Wayne, Mich., and Battle Creek, Mich., are impressive places, where we strive to ensure the facilities reflect the high quality services they house. On our Albion campus, we are proud to have completed an important restoration project at Gladsome Cottage (see page 4), the original home of Floyd Starr and the first boys he cared for. I would like to thank Dr. Martin Mitchell, Starr’s fourth president, Dr. Arlin Ness, our third president, and Randy Neumann, Floyd Starr’s great-grandson, Anne Willson Dupré, Floyd Starr’s granddaughter, and Chris Smith, Chief Investment Officer, for their instrumental roles in this work. With the restoration complete, Gladsome is as close as it can be to when Floyd Starr, a passionate collector of historical and beautiful objects, filled the

house with life, creating a legacy we work every day to honor. Of course, since the establishment of Gladsome, Starr has served thousands of young people and families over the years, and has a large family of alumni around the world. That’s why we are excited by the redevelopment of our Alumni Association (see page 8), which is led by Starr Alumnus and Trustee, Stanley Allen. We look forward to engaging more alumni with what is becoming a support network available to anyone who has graduated from a Starr program. One of the special benefits of being a Starr alumnus is the option of applying for a Starr scholarship. Anyone who has been served by a Starr program can apply for financial support for further education, including four-year colleges, vocational programs, and military academies. We have seen so many of our alumni enjoy the benefits of a scholarship, including Alihya Vandervort (see page 10), who is making us all proud at Ferris State University. The fact that Starr boasts such a large population of alumni, and that we can support them even beyond their time with us, is a testament to the support we receive from our family of donors. Your generosity enables us to go beyond providing services. It allows our staff to remain true to our history, and to deliver on Starr’s long-held beliefs about what children and families need. On behalf of everyone at Starr, thank you for your support.

Elizabeth Carey, President and CEO 3


The special touch of Starr history…

Gladsome Cottage restoration invokes stories of Floyd Starr’s ability to inspire.


“Your house shall not be an anchor but a mast,” Khalil Gibran, a friend of Floyd Starr, once said. Gladsome Cottage, built in 1913 by Floyd Starr and the first children he cared for, has served as not only a historical monument, but a place where visitors can truly connect with the story of how Starr’s mission became a movement.

and neglected children at Gladsome but also enter-

Floyd Starr not only housed dozens of homeless

no such thing as a bad child.’

tained a rich variety of guests and provided an experience aimed at engaging people in his vision for how vulnerable young people should be supported. Poets, explorers, political leaders, religious leaders, and actors from across the world were hosted by Floyd Starr as he promoted his belief that ‘there is


A significant aspect of Floyd Starr’s hospitality was his enthusiasm for beautiful objects. He would tour Gladsome and the nearby Brueckner Museum, enthusiastically telling the story behind each artifact, making the case as to why “beauty is a silent teacher.”

lected horse figurines, bells, sterling souvenir spoons and pill boxes. Seeing these objects that meant so much to him, as he had arranged and lived amongst them, adds context and enhances one’s appreciation and understanding of the man and his unique approach to his life’s work,” says Neumann.

Over the course of 103 years, the house has been used for One of Floyd Starr’s most a variety of purposes, causing treasured items in Gladsome its collection of significant was a jade bowl, which was artwork and furniture to be gifted to him by Upton Close, moved from time to time to a missionary, explorer and other parts of Starr’s Albion war correspondent. Floyd campus. In 1984, a project led Starr would end his tours of by then President and CEO, the house by observing the Dr. Arlin Ness, preserved special property of jade – some of the house’s origithat it can absorb oils from a nal decoration and restored person’s skin. He would then much of the contents to reThe jade bowl, one of Floyd Starr’s most touch the guest’s cheek with flect how the cottage looked treasured items in Gladsome cottage. the bowl and declare: “Now, during Floyd Starr’s time there. you are forever part of Starr Commonwealth.” Today, That work was supported by the granddaughters of the jade bowl remains on display, exactly where Floyd Floyd Starr, Anne Willson Dupré and Sylvia Richey, Starr would have kept it. who advised on the correct layout of Floyd Starr’s art “Starr Commonwealth’s commitment to responsible collection and the cottage’s furniture. stewardship of its assets, including the artwork and fine In the last three decades, with the passage of time, the furniture gifted to the organization over the decades, house became in need of repairs and some of its collechas always been important to the Starr family of dotion was moved for safe storage. The latest restoration nors,” says Dr. Arlin Ness. “Research shows that sucproject has returned Gladsome to its former glory and cessful organizations are often those that preserve and allowed the art collection to be placed once again in celebrate their history. Starr has always gone beyond its original arrangement. This project, initiated by impreservation – actively promoting the importance of mediate past president Dr. Martin Mitchell, was suphistory, art, beauty and creativity to it students. Anyone ported by the third president of Starr, Dr. Arlin Ness, who visits the Albion campus, including Gladsome, will Anne Willson Dupré, granddaughter of Floyd Starr, quickly get a sense of how compelling the Starr story is.” and Randy Neumann, great-grandson of Floyd Starr With the new restoration complete, visitors to Starr’s and current Starr Trustee.“My great-grandfather was an inveterate collector of beautiful objects, things he careheadquarters will have the opportunity to learn about fully curated and arranged, such as paintings, prints, Gladsome and its collection as part of a private tour furniture, ceramics, rugs, and his favorite hobby – his (made by appointment). In addition to the jade bowl, collection of miniatures. Throughout his life, he colthey can see a wooden footstool handmade by Floyd



Starr’s father, Marshall, and a portrait of Floyd Starr. They can follow the footsteps of Helen Keller, Carl Sandburg, Dr. George Washington Carver, and Dr. John Kellogg, not to mention thousands of Starr students. “Making sure Gladsome can be enjoyed as an active part of our historic campus is important to us,” says Elizabeth Carey, president and CEO of Starr. “To have past presidents, including Dr. Arlin Ness and Dr. Martin Mitchell, and members of the Starr family involved in the restoration project has been invaluable. Gladsome now reflects not only the history of Floyd Starr, but also the contributions of Starr leadership spanning the last four decades. The cottage and its stories are a fundamental part of what makes Starr the great organization

it is today, as we remain rooted in values and principles that have served children and families successfully for over a century.” Starr’s Albion campus now includes 18 cottages, as well as a museum, a chapel, a recreation center and numerous administrative buildings, but it all began with Floyd Starr and a small group of homeless young boys living among the hay bales of a barn while they built what became Gladsome Cottage – named as such because “it was a Gladsome day that the work (of helping vulnerable children) could begin.” For more information on Starr’s history and touring Starr’s Albion campus, please call Amy Reimann of the Starr Advancement team on 1-800-837-5591. F

The footstool handmade by Floyd Starr’s father, Marshall.


Beauty is a Silent Teacher This was a central tenet of Floyd Starr’s beliefs that children should be surrounded by a nurturing community. 103 years later, we still believe that the beauty of our buildings and grounds is a key component in the treatment and recovery of young people facing social and emotional challenges. Starr is a wise steward of all donations. Investing in buildings and grounds can sometimes seem frivolous, but when we know their surroundings can have such a positive influence on the young people in our care, we must take action to ensure each child is getting the best we can provide. This is why we appreciate those unrestricted donations that we can use where they are needed most – direct care programs and Gladsome Cottage is a Sears and Roebuck kit home – the best “Uncle” Floyd could provide for the first 13 Starr boys in 1913.

the environments in which they are delivered. Your gift is appreciated… and will make a difference in the lives of young people.

Starr treasures this example of the greatness that can come from humble beginnings. Recent preservation efforts have been focused on stabilizing and preserving the structure. Your gift today can help us stay true to Starr’s rich history of believing in the strengths of each and every child, and demonstrating why beauty is a silent teacher!

Giving to Starr has never been easier. You may send a check in the enclosed envelope or give online at Please donate today! 7

STARR alumni association

Resilient Together Having served children and families for over a century, Starr is proud to have thousands of alumni around the world. Now, a new effort is being made to enable former students to stay connected with Starr’s mission. The Starr Alumni Association has brought former students together for many years, but under the leadership of its current president Stanley Allen, a Starr alumnus and Trustee, it is aiming to become an active support network for anyone who has been involved in a Starr program.


Alumni Association. There is no obligation to get involved in our activities – we simply want people to connect,” says Allen. It can be challenging for an organization to stay connected with its alumni. Starr has over 2000 alumni in its database, including 1300 who attended Starr’s residential program in Albion, Mich. The contacts span over seven decades and recent Association events have attracted alumni from multiple generations.

The new mission statement of the Association is: “To strengthen the Starr Commonwealth community of former students by utilizing our knowledge and experiences to form a common bond of mutual support through strategic utilization of our time, talent, or treasure.”

“We know there are many more alumni out in the community who have experienced Starr’s strength-based services, and we regularly reconnect with people who have a strong affinity for the organization. Our goal is to harness and nurture that interest by providing opportunities for alumni to continue feeling like a member of the Starr family,” says Allen.

“We believe Starr alumni of all ages and backgrounds can offer each other valuable support and friendship. Therefore, we encourage anyone who has been served by Starr’s programming to get in touch with the Starr

The alumni Starr has on record were recently mailed information on the new goals of the Association, and how alumni could get involved. One alumnus responded and said: “Y’all meant more to me than my own fam-

STARR alumni association

ily. Thanks.” Another responded on


Facebook: “I’m excited for this group

alumni and family members for

because I’m joining the committee.”





participation and suggestions for future events which will assist the

The Association plans to hold events

Association as we grow and expand.

to give alumni the opportunity to

The participation of as many alumni

meet each other, celebrate shared experiences, rekindle relationships,

as possible is critical to the success

and promote comradery.

of carrying on the mission of the Association as we look towards the

“In addition to sharing stories and

future. Family members are encour-

experiences, we aim to support peo-

aged to share with us as well,” added

ple who have received Starr scholarships, enable older alumni to act as mentors to younger alumni, and gen-

Stanley Allen, Starr alumnus and Trustee

erate ongoing support for Starr through philanthropic activities. We believe our alumni have a great deal to offer, whether it be time, talent, or treasure. Together, we can demonstrate the strength and resilience Starr

Allen. All who are interested in partici-

pating, or learning more about how they can help the Association to accomplish its mission, are encouraged to email or by joining the Starr

stands for, and help others to realize their potential. ”

Alumni Group on Facebook at

says Allen.

groups/StarrAlumniAssociation. F

The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children

“I feel better!”

TLC, a member of the Starr Global Learning Network, offers professionals trauma-informed tools and techniques for working with children and families including: • Trauma-informed training • Consultation & support • Online learning opportunities • Trauma practitioner certifications • Trauma intervention programs • Continuing education credits TLC has trained over 60,000 professionals, including 6,000 TLC certified trauma and loss specialists For more information go to: 9


All graduates of Starr programs can apply for a Starr scholarship to help with the cost of further or higher education. Scholarships can be awarded for a wide range of programs, including vocational schools, two-year schools, and four-year colleges. Last year, Starr awarded over $200,000 in scholarships to young people attending programs across the country. The guidelines for applicants are as follows:

R Complete the Scholarship application form with information about the school and program you have chosen to attend (2 or 4 year institutions, or trade school), your current financial situation and your plan for education. Be sure to include:

R Proof of program acceptance and/or previous grade report. R Financial aid award letter from your academic institution and current FAFSA. R Personal essay – as stated on the application. R Recommendation from Starr staff is encouraged but not required. Deadlines:

R July 15: 4-year colleges R August 1: 2-year colleges and vocational programs If you need more information on the Starr scholarship program visit our website at or email Nancy Moore at



Part of the Starr family story The Starr scholarship program has benefited hundreds of Starr alumni over the years, and its impact can be profound. Scholarships are available to anyone who has been served by a Starr program, and can be used for a wide range of further education programs, including vocational schools, four-year and two-year colleges, as well as military and police academies. Alihya Vandervort was born while her mother was in Starr’s foster care program. Growing up in Mecosta County, Mich., and later in Bay City, Mich., her childhood was challenging, but foster parent Eloise McNeilly provided loving support to both Alihya and her mother throughout the years. Alihya Vandervort

“At first I thought that I was the reason my dad was never around, but as I developed into a young adult I realized that it was never me, it was his poor life choices,” she says. The family was hit by a tragedy some years ago when Vandervort’s mother fell ill. “When I was 16, my mom suffered from a severe ischemic stroke. She survived but suffered residual damage. She lost her speech and she has permanent paralysis in her right arm. In a matter of hours I lost a part of my mom and my best friend that I will never get back,” explains Vandervort. Despite these huge personal challenges, Vandervort was able to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Vandervort is now attending Ferris State University and has recently completed her freshman year with a 3.27 GPA. She plans on leaving Ferris with an Associate’s degree in Radiography and a Bachelors in Allied Health.

Alihya at Ferris State University

“Starr’s support has meant the world to me. With all of the encouragement and the help I’ve received, Starr was the reason I was able to go to college to start pursuing a degree. Without that support, I would not have been able to finish paying for college, and I am so grateful that I had that opportunity,” says Vandervort. Vandervort considers the support she has received from Starr to be instrumental in her development, but also that of her mother, who attended nursing college with support from Starr, before falling ill. “My relationship with Starr over the years is full of gratitude. I personally feel like Alihya and her Mom Starr helped my mother get on the right path in life, and for that I am forever grateful. I was only in the program for a few years, but without ever being a part of the program I would have most definitely led a very different life,” she says. F

Spring 2016

Honor & Memorial gifts The current gifts reflect the period from 1/11 to 5/20/2016. Donors are listed below the name of the person in whose memory or honor they contributed.

In Honor of: MICHAEL MCELROY Dr. Caelan K. Soma ARLIN AND BARBARA NESS Mrs. Carla Harker PAUL RIZZO M.D. Ms. Mary E. Rutan CATHY SUE TILLEY Mr. Jack E. Tilley MY FAMILY Mr. Gordon P. Grant MY 2 YEARS AT STARR COMMONWEALTH Mr. and Mrs. Ted Johnson THE CHILDREN I WORKED WITH Ms. Delma B. Erikson

In Memory of: LOVELLA BARHITE Mr. Kenneth Barhite DONALD BARRON Mr. Ray Stockinger KEITH ALLEN BENNETT, JR. Dr. and Mrs. Martin L. Mitchell Dr. and Mrs. Arlin E. Ness

KEITH ALLEN BENNETT, SR. Dr. and Mrs. Arlin E. Ness HELEN BERRY Mrs. Walter Fisher SHERRY LEE BRUNER Mr. and Mrs. Don Nascimben HEINRICH AND MARTHA DIENER Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Dasse PATRICIA L. ENDRESS Mr. Richard B. Endress CONCETTA FALCONE Mr. John Falcone BRIAN FELNER Mr. and Mrs. Randy R. Neumann HAIM GENDELMAN Mr. and Mrs. Randy R. Neumann WILLIAM B. GEORGE Dr. Richard L. Pinkerton, Ph.D. MR. & MRS. DALE (DOROTHY) GRANGER, SR. Miss Diane M. Granger MARY HEPP Dr. and Mrs. Arlin E. Ness KARI JOLINK

DAVID LOCKE Dr. and Mrs. Arlin E. Ness JESSIE LONGHURST Mrs. Evelyn Gay BERYL H. MARTIN Dr. and Mrs. Arlin E. Ness GLADYS AND GEORGE MESLER Dr. Linda M. Muul JOAN STAUDT PRACY Dr. and Mrs. Arlin E. Ness MARILYN REED Ms. Norma A. Pitts ASHBY A. RICHARDSON Mr. and Mrs. Donald E. Burton CHARLES R. SANDUM Mrs. Carol Sandum CHAD M. SHELTON Dr. and Mrs. Philip Mason JANICE LEWIS SMITH Mr. and Mrs. Randy R. Neumann CANDICE VANDERHAVEN Mr. and Mrs. Ronald A. Tachuk

Dr. and Mrs. Martin L. Mitchell

HONOR GIFTS are thoughtful ways to remember a special person and/or a special occasion, such as a birth, birthday, anniversary, graduation, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, while also helping Starr children. Honor gifts also may be made online at MEMORIAL GIFTS offer an enduring tribute to the memory of a friend or loved one, while extending a helping hand to the children of Starr. Memorial donations also may be made online at The current gifts reflect the period from 1/11 to 5/20/2016. Donors are listed below the name of the person in whose memory or honor they contributed.


Non Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Permit #975 Lansing, MI 13725 Starr Commonwealth Rd. Albion, Michigan 49224

Duplicate mailing? Call (800) 837-5591 Change service requested

Your support makes a difference! Starr believes in the greatness of every individual. Helping children, adults, and families reach their potential is what our programs in education, behavioral health, youth development, and professional training are all about. We cannot do this without your help! By supporting Starr, you can contribute to the work of building resilient children and families, which is reaching people in schools, homes, and community organizations across the country. Please consider a gift to Starr Commonwealth today.

Starr News Spring 2016  

Read about the renovation of Gladsome Cottage, the Starr Alumni Association and more in the Spring 2016 issue of the Starr News!

Starr News Spring 2016  

Read about the renovation of Gladsome Cottage, the Starr Alumni Association and more in the Spring 2016 issue of the Starr News!