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"Connect" is CAN's internal newsletter for staff, interns, volunteers, board members, and anyone else who would like to receive bi-weekly updates regarding highlights, announcements, and ongoing training/professional development updates. Welcome and join us in our virtual community-building endeavor!

Become a CAN Academy member to comment on posts.

Helping Where We *Can*

"CAN has actually worked with many refugees in our history. It is just that we haven't really been tracking that work. I recall interacting and helping undocumented residents (another form of becoming a refugee due to dire economic opportunity and lack of community safety), Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrian, Somali, Sudanese, and a few others over the years. There is also the recent influx of Afghanis (~800 families) that are in the process of getting settled in the area. So fast forward to today, where well over 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country and many millions more internally displaced within Ukraine. Having personally experienced war, near death explosions, and loss of fellow Marine life, I have this acute sympathy and depth of understanding for what these Ukrainian families are experiencing as well as recognizing my own military experience does not even remotely compare to the vulnerability and atrocious nature of what is unfolding upon civilians. I have to do something." --Derrick Miller, CAN ED

CAN's Executive Director, Derrick Miller, is heading to Poland to help fleeing Ukrainians, providing direct financial and logistical support (ie. helping refugees reach their desired end destination). The point is to get cash in hands of refugees with as minimal barriers as possible and into a more stable environment. Derrick's current plan is to serve through April 13. If you would like to learn more about this, you may read his published newsletter: "Heading to the Ukrainian Border" and if you are interested in donating to Derrick, please email Derrick at or email or text (616-298-0975) Katie Lampen for Derrick's Venmo account. Derrick will be checking, but have limited access to, his phone and email while abroad.

If you have any CAN-related questions that would normally go to Derrick, please contact Deputy Director, Louey Guillen at




  • Midge Carter (Bryant Program Assistant), April 9

  • Hannah Keith (Hikone Intern), April 17

  • Harrison Metzler (GBC Director), April 18

  • Kimberly Sells (GBC Program Assistant), April 30

  • Madison Kase (Year-Long VISTA), April 30


Good luck on your new adventures, Frankie & Danielle!

CAN Director of Development, Frankie Moore, and Director of Creekside, Danielle Dicks, have taken on new and exciting career opportunities this spring. We are so excited for the new experiences that await them, but we are going to miss them so much!

We've loved working with you and joining in CAN's mission together all these years. Your absence will be felt but we hope to stay in touch. We wish you the best of luck!


Upcoming Staff Meetings- For March, our meeting schedule as of right now will look as follows:

  • April 8, Management Meeting, 1-2:30pm

  • April 15, CAN All Staff Meeting*, 1-3pm

  • April 22, Management Meeting, 1-2:30pm

  • April 29, Off Week: Teams meet as-needed

*All staff & interns are welcome to join, but work-study/part-time & interns are not obligated.

All of our staff meetings and CAN holidays are up on the Google Calendar. If you are in our Google Group listservs (,,, & you should receive an invitation to the relevant staff meetings.

  • If you are not in one of these listservs, please email so you can be added!

You can find a link to the CAN Google Calendar at (CAN Calendar).

Google Calendars are a helpful tool CAN uses so we can make updates and share them out with all of our stakeholders in case anything changes!


After School Program-

  • April & May Holiday Parties: Ask your supervisor if there's anything you can do to help! If you aren't normally working from a specific community center, holiday parties a really fun way to join, help, and have a good time.

  • AAPS and LCS Closed April 15 for Good Friday: CAN is still open but since it is a Friday, no programs operate as usual.

  • ASP Wrap Up (subject to change):

    • Brick: April 28

    • Creekside: TBD

    • Hikone: May 12

    • All other locations: May 19


Tips & Tidbits

I'd like to keep this same bit of advice from the last posting as I believe it still applies and is worthy advice to reiterate in this season of great transition.

Transitions are hard for anyone, but they can be especially hard for kiddos who experience a lot of transience. It's crucial that when we say goodbye, we do so with the students in mind.

  • Remind the students when your last day is so they can prepare for that time to come and think about how they want to say goodbye to you.

  • Saying goodbye can be a great opportunity to share how much the students mean to you. Making cards, sharing treats like candy, are a nice way to show you care.

    • Please do NOT give gifts outside of edible treats

    • Please do NOT make promises you will not be able to keep ("I will come back and visit every week!")

  • Here are some messages that make saying goodbye a more positive experience:

    • Focus on the achievements the student made this semester

    • Express positive expectations for their futures and ability to do well

    • Let the student know they are always loved and valued no matter what

  • Help the students identify and name their feelings. "I am sad, too. I will miss you when I am gone. But, I am glad we got to know each other. You taught me how to keep trying at a problem even when it was really hard."


How do I become a CAN Academy Member to comment on these posts?

  1. Click the little profile icon in the upper right hand corner of the website header

  2. Sign Up with your email and create a password

  3. Your request will be approved and you can go into your CAN Academy profile to update the information

  4. Make your profile "public" so you can add comments below


Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments (or highlights, announcements, etc.), please email Katie at

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