Improving the quality of life for children and families.


Guiding Harbor will educate each person placed in our care, teaching the life skills necessary to make wise decisions and to become a productive member of society.

Strategic Plan 2023

Explore the insights from our strategic plan to gain a deeper understanding of Guiding Harbor's mission and our vision for the years ahead.

Strategic Plan Summary

CEO Jennifer Trotter, LMSW

Jennifer Trotter, LMSW, joined Guiding Harbor in April 2018 as the Chief Executive Officer. Jennifer’s career in child welfare spans more than two decades and includes experience working in both supervisory and direct care roles. Jennifer has provided leadership and oversight to statewide and regional programming, coordinated organizational effectiveness efforts such as, volunteers, workforce management software, accreditation, and proposal writing. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Eastern Michigan University and Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University. 



Linda Clayton, President

Guiding Harbor Board President Linda Clayton grew up in Belleville and remembers thinking the original residence on Liberty Street was the prettiest house in town. Linda joined the Board in 2006 and has served as Secretary and Vice President before taking on her current position in 2017. Linda’s professional and volunteer activities focus on children and young adults. She taught in the Van Buren Public Schools for 35 years and is an Advisor for the Tri Sigma Sorority at Eastern Michigan University.

Monte Bertram, Treasurer

Monte Bertram, the Treasurer, has experience in the financial institution industry. As Vice President Controller, he led the financial and regulatory reporting functions and annual budgeting process. Monte resides in Waterford with his wife Karen, four kids, three grandkids, and two dogs. In his spare time, he enjoys his second career as a real estate agent.

Robin Chapekis, Vice President

Robin Chapekis, Vice President. Robin Chapekis holds a SHRM-SCP, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Master of Science in HR and Organizational Development. After working for large corporations, small companies and several non-profits, Robin decided to hang out her own shingle and focus on process improvement for HR. Founder of SVELTE HR, a consulting firm specializing in efficiency and effectiveness for HR work, Robin is determined to help HR teams and business leaders master transactional work and move toward transformational outcomes. She believes that HR is a competitive advantage for organizations and is working to make that a reality. Robin is passionate about Human Resources being recognized and valued as a Profession and works with local, state, and national HR focused organizations to enhance educational offerings and provide networking and growth opportunities for her HR colleagues. She is also working with ISO/TC 260 on the development of international standards for Human Resource Management. Robin lives in Escanaba, MI with her husband, son, and GSD where they walk ad nauseum.

Jill McCormack, Secretary

Carol Wilson

Deborah Mohre

Sue Johnson

Bridget Hanson

Connie Hopkins

Ruth Ann Northon

Kathy Lewis

Stephanie Saville

Rae Lynn Hicks

Christie Vaghy

Paula Coulier

Rachel Kozlowski

Jillian Czlapinski



Planning for Girlstown begins


Girlstown, Loch Rio opens

November 4, 1970

Girlstown Day declared by Gov. William Milliken


New location for Girlstown purchased


Began providing foster care services to girls in need.


Foster homes begin welcoming boys


Changed name to Guiding Harbor


In 60 years, over 900 residents of Girlstown


Adoption program was added.