Leading With Our Hearts

We are proud all our board members are parents, grandparents, foster parents or foster grandparents.

Board Members

Compassion, love and improving the lives of children in our community is our passion, which we hope will become our legacy!

Nancy Wolanin

Nancy Wolanin

President

Nancy Wolanin has been married to her husband Ted for 44 years. They have 5 grown children, 7 grandchildren and multiple foster  grandchildren. She has been… 

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… in remission from leukemia and a bone marrow transplant for almost 5 years and mentors people around the country who have just recently been diagnosed with leukemia. She moved to Midland from Wyandotte, Michigan in 1971 to teach school. She has a B.S. and M.A. +45 hours and is dually certified to teach K-12 Special Education (children who have cognitive impairments), K-6 elementary students and high school Language and Literature. She taught Special Education, Gifted Education, and Kindergarten for 29 years in Midland Public Schools. Her hobbies and interests are enjoying time with her grandchildren and foster grandchildren, cooking, baking, gardening, reading, involvement in her church, volunteering for Relay for Life and involvement in the Midland Area Interfaith group. She was drawn to help establish a foster closet in Midland County when she had to retire abruptly with a leukemia diagnosis. After regaining her strength a couple of years later, she found her special “niche” working with foster families. She loves to be with kids and help them, and this volunteer position allows her the flexibility to still keep her frequent appointments at U of M Hospital and also visit their children and grandchildren.

Julie Maurer

Julie Maurer

Treasurer

Julie grew up in Ionia County, a rural area in Michigan between Grand Rapids and Lansing. As a young adult, she was a mentor in Big Sister programs in Indiana, California, and…

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…Michigan. She moved to the Midland area to work in Chemical Research, and has been an active member of Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church for many years. Since retiring from her corporate career, Julie manages a small farm using ecological and sustainable practices. She also produces award winning goat cheese as a partner in Grazy Valley. Julie has admired the work of the Midland County Foster Closet since its inception, and is honored to serve as a board member.

Pam Durfee

Pam Durfee

Member-at-Large

Originally from Livonia, Michigan, Pamela Durfee has lived in Midland, Michigan since 1988 with her husband, Loren, to whom she has been married for 33 years. They have…

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two wonderful, married daughters and six amazing granddaughters. Among Pam’s favorite hobbies and interests are spending time with family and friends, reading, knitting, crafting and being involved in church activities. Her background of education and life experiences are the foundation for Pam’s deep desire to serve and support parents and children who are in the foster care system. Having wanted to be a teacher since the third grade, Pam earned a B.A. with a double major in French and Spanish and secondary teaching certification from Central Michigan University and an M.A.T. (French/Education) from Purdue University. She has taught students from preschool through college age in France, at Purdue University and in public school and home school settings. Over the years, Pam has thoroughly enjoyed volunteering and serving in a wide variety of capacities, but those involving encouraging, supporting and helping children are nearest to her heart (e. g. Lunch Box Learners). As an adoptive parent herself and parent of a daughter who adopted children through foster care, Pam believes that all her life experiences have led her to this point where she can extend her passion and compassion to adults and children in these circumstances. She is looking forward to the valuable opportunity to assist foster parents and offer hope to hurting and vulnerable children through the meaningful work of the Midland County Foster Closet.
 

Gail Letcher

Gail Letcher

Vice President

Gail is a native of Michigan, a former elementary school teacher and a retired small business owner. She enjoys crafting, spending time with her grandchildren, and…

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…volunteering with the Foster Closet because it speaks to her heart.

Umbareen Jamil

Umbareen Jamil

Member-at-Large

Umbareen Jamil has been a resident of Midland since October of 2000. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, she earned her B.A. from Kent State University double majoring in Economics… 

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… and International Relations. She and her husband have 4 beautiful children. While her primary job is being the ‘Master Caretaker’ of her family, she still finds time to be passionate about service in our community and therefore spends quite a bit of time volunteering with various local organizations. She is an active member of the Islamic Center of Midland, volunteering her time in countless ways from teaching Sunday school to arranging social events and open houses for the Center. She also serves as the advisor for the Muslim Youth of Mid-Michigan, which is a tri-city Muslim youth group that serves our community by volunteering at nursing homes, the Recycling Center, the Saginaw Children’s Museum, Foster Closet, Midland Blooms (planting flowers along Eastman Avenue), Shelterhouse Resale Shop, Post office food drive and many others. Through this group, she strives to instill her passion for community service with the Muslim young adults. As the co-director for the Midland Area Interfaith Friends, a group that serves to foster understanding among various faith groups in our area and gives back to the our community through various volunteer opportunities, Umbareen believes we need to look for commonalities instead of differences. She is blessed to be one of the founding members of the Midland County Foster Closet and finds great joy in serving the most vulnerable in our community.

Julie Stanley

Julie Stanley

Member-at-Large

Julie, an Indiana native, has lived in Midland for 29 years. She and her husband Steve have three terrific children, ages 25, 22, and 17. After graduating from Purdue…

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…University with a double major in psychology and sociology, Julie realized that her greatest ambition was to be a stay-at-home mom. While raising her kids, Julie also found time to be an active volunteer in her church and in her children’s school. She has always had a heart for underprivileged, at-risk kids and found her calling for nearly twenty years by volunteering in a variety of ways at Eastlawn Elementary school where her children all attended. When Eastlawn closed its doors a couple of years ago, Julie devoted more time to her hobbies of knitting and reading, but has been actively searching and praying for an opportunity to once again help out those kids in our community that might need an extra hand. Julie feels that becoming a part of the Midland County Foster Closet is an answer to that prayer.
 

Judy McDowell

Judy McDowell

Secretary

A native of Missouri, Judy graduated from Missouri Valley College, studied at St. Mary’s Divinity School, St. Andrews University in Scotland and received a Master’s… 

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… degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Married to Presbyterian Minister, the late Dr. John McDowell, they have two children and five grandchildren, including 13 year-old triplets who also live in Midland. Both Judy and John served churches in Ohio and Colorado before coming to Michigan in 1977 when John joined the staff of Midland’s Memorial Presbyterian Church. In 1985 Judy was elected to serve as Associate Executive for Ministries of Lake Huron Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, USA. In 1995, the family moved to Indiana where Judy joined the staff of Church World Service as the Director of Community Education and Fund Raising, leading staff working with communities throughout the U.S. to support the ecumenical relief and development work of Church World Service through CROP Hunger Walks and the CWS Blanket and Kit Programs. Since returning to Midland in 2006, Judy has been active in mission outreach of the Presbyterian Church and through a variety of interfaith activities in the community, including the Coordinator of the Midland Area CROP Hunger Walk. Judy has been a 35+ year member of the League of Women Voters, currently serving on the Board of the Midland Area LWV.

Jill LeBourdais

Jill LeBourdais

Member-at-Large

Jill has been a lifelong resident of the Great Lakes Bay Region. She lives in Bay City and works as a Physician Assistant in Psychiatry. She was born and raised in Linwood…

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…Michigan and frequently played softball in Midland throughout most of her early life. She attended Central Michigan University and competed on the softball team and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Fitness.  She then attended Physician Assistant school at CMU. She served on the CMU Development Board from 2011-2013. She now serves as the Director of Clinical Services at Hospital Psychiatry, PLLC in Saginaw and see patients at Saginaw County Community Mental Health, Bay-Arenac Behavioral Health, AuSable Valley Community Mental Health as well as a few places in between. She would like to help provide service to the community away from the professional aspect and is eager to help such an amazing organization in any way.

Merrit Hendricks

Merrit Hendricks

Member-at-Large

Merrit is a Midland native, attending Midland Public Schools and graduating from Midland High School. After graduating from the University of Michigan and working in…

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…Ann Arbor, she moved back to Midland working in graphic design and marketing. Merrit and her husband Rich have a son who works for the City of Midland and a daughter at the University of Michigan. Some of Merrit’s volunteer history includes the American Red Cross and the Literacy Council. She is very happy to be helping children in foster care through the Foster Closet.
 

About Our Team

Our team is extremely hard working, organized, flexible, resourceful and generous, all with the goal of dedicating our service to the children .

I Am So Thankful!

"I am so thankful that another foster parent told me about The Midland County Foster Closet! After become licensed in June of 2016, we eagerly awaited our first call, but it didn't come until April of 2018. So when it finally sank in that a new child would be coming into our home, the anxiety of the situation was overwhelmed by the loving generosity of the workers and gifts from the foster closet. We received many new clothes, plenty of used ones, toys, diapers, books, a blanket, and even gifts for our biological children that helped get them excited to welcome this new sibling! We all set up his bed, dresser, bookshelf, and were in a joyful mindset to spend our first few days just playing with and getting to know him instead of worrying about shopping for new things. We have since had the same wonderful experience with two other placements, and we continue to be encouraged that we are not alone in providing for these children- understanding that the friends I have told about The Midland County Foster Closet and made donations, the local businesses that donate items and money, the volunteers who have built shelving and spent time organizing ... we are all part of a community that cares for these children and families, helping us lighten the burdens and multiplying the joys!"

-Courtney, foster parent

Let's Make a Difference Together!

Our passion is not only to help foster children, but also the Midland County families who take them in by reducing the stress, financial responsibility and allowing the foster parents the chance to focus more on the immediate needs of the child.

Mailing Address

Midland County Foster Closet
P.O. Box 1243
Midland, MI 48641

(Monetary Donations)

Location Address

Holy Family Episcopal Church
4611 Swede Ave.
Midland, MI 48642

(By Appointment Only)