Commentary

Column: Community is the only way to help Michigan kids

September 2, 2021 3:03 pm

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Child abuse and neglect are not a family or household problem. They’re not a racial, political or socioeconomic problem.

They’re an every-community problem.

If an entire community is unable to coalesce around the safety and well-being of all children, the health of the community suffers. Left unchecked, maltreatment of even a single child can come back on the community through anger, resentment, social maladjustment, criminal activity, substance abuse and other damaging ramifications.

When I arrived in Michigan in 2009, I was introduced to the work the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) does to support programs and services that prevent child abuse and neglect before it happens. I also learned much about all they do to foster the health and well-being of children and families in all 83 Michigan counties. My wife and I became advocates of the organization’s mission and vision by committing to help as many abused and underprivileged kids in our state as possible.

Last year, I was honored when the governor’s office reached out and asked if I would be open to being nominated to join the board of CTF. I eagerly accepted the opportunity to participate in bringing awareness more actively to Michigan’s citizens so together we can all help end the abuse and neglect of children in Michigan.

Michigan kids need every hand of support they can get, which is why the work of CTF and the help of the community is so vital.

As children, most of us were afforded opportunities to grow up in safe environments and pursue good lives. We owe it to every child to provide similar experiences and opportunities. It’s how a healthy society works.

Every 20 minutes, a child is abused. Nearly 30,000 children were abused in Michigan in 2020. By being aware and involved, the wider community can assist in recognizing child abuse and prevent it from happening in the first place. Having a proactive approach to child well-being by recognizing patterns and behaviors and providing access to guidance and counseling is the ultimate objective of CTF, and it is the responsibility of every adult to have a positive impact on a child’s life.

When I first became involved in CTF, my goal was to do whatever I could to make a difference for one child. That one child became multiple children. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing children protected and families strengthened.

The drive behind the work of CTF is to keep kids safe and build up families. Safe children and strong families make safe, strong communities. However, the most important tool CTF has is you.

Children are a gift from God and the future of our nation. Without your help in ensuring that all children have a safe and healthy environment, our country cannot grow.

The Pam Posthumus Signature Auction Event, the largest fundraiser for the Children’s Trust Fund, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 28. Visit michigan.gov/ctf/ for details.

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Sharif Hussein
Sharif Hussein

Sharif Hussein is a board member with the Michigan Children’s Trust Fund and CEO of LPK LLC, a strategic consulting firm in Okemos.

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