Leading With Our Hearts
We are proud all our board members are parents, grandparents, foster parents or foster grandparents.
Compassion, love and improving the lives of children in our community is our passion, which we hope will become our legacy!
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…
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 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 has a passion for learning of all varieties, and absolutely loves being a math tutor for local teenagers. She also produced 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.
Merrit is a Midland native, graduating from Midland High School. After graduating from the University of Michigan and working in Ann Arbor, she moved back to Midland working in graphic design and marketing. Merrit and her husband Rich have a son who is a Police Officer and a daughter who works in Kalamazoo with international exchange students. 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.
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…
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 degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Married to Presbyterian Minister, the late Dr. John McDowell, they have two children and five grandchildren, including 17 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 as the Coordinator of the Midland Area CROP Hunger Walk. Judy has been a 40+ year member of the League of Women Voters, currently serving on the Board of the Midland Area LWV.
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 volunteering with the Foster Closet because it speaks to her heart.
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…
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.