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New name, services for Good Will Farm

December 6, 2012
By GARRETT NEESE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Good Will Farm is changing its name, though not its mission.

The organization, which began as an orphanage in the Copper Country in 1899, has changed its name to U.P. Kids.

The "farm" part of Good Will Farm hasn't been accurate since 1921, said director Mark Lambert. There are other misconceptions, too. People often misspell it, saying "Goodwill Farm" or "Good Will Farms." And the old-timey connotation doesn't make it clear what the organization does.

"Half the people in the county don't know what we do, and the the other only know a little, that we're an orphanage," he said. "U.P. Kids is meant to bring home what it is we do."

U.P. Kids serves about 900 children and their families a year through its various programs.

There's a residential program, where it gives a home and school to children experiencing academic, domestic or social difficulties. U.P. Kids also runs Big Brothers Big Sisters, where adult volunteer mentors work one-on-one with children. U.P. Kids offers foster care services, including recruitment, licensing, training and support to foster families across the U.P.

Through its adoption services, U.P. Kids matches children with adoptive parents who can provide a secure and nurturing environment. U.P. Kids can further aid that with the Post Adoption Resource Center, which provides resources, training, interventions and support for families to ensure the post-adoption process goes smoothly.

"People don't understand that Good Will Farm actually runs the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, foster care and adoption," Lambert said. "There's a lot of different things we do."

The organization will also be move into new administrative headquarters, located in the former Mineral Range Railroad depot that most recently housed Yalmer Mattila Contracting, Inc.

"That's to allow us to consolidate employees that are kind of spread around the Houghton-Hancock area," he said.

Lambert said there's more news coming, including an open house at the new headquarters in late January or early February, as well as a new visitation program in conjunction with the state Department of Human Services. Big Brothers Big Sisters is also working on the annual Bowl for Kids, which will be held March 2 at The Mine Shaft in Houghton.

"There's always something new coming," he said.



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