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President: Charisse Cossu-Kowalski

Charisse Cossu-Kowalski and her husband, Stan, live in Macomb County and have four children. Their two oldest boys were prenatally exposed to alcohol.


Charisse joined MCFARES when it was formed in 2003 and has been involved with the Michigan FASD Task Force since 2005. Charisse holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and prior to becoming a full-time parent, worked with mentally ill adults in Wayne County. Charisse also sits on the board of her son’s school.

MCFARES Board of Directors

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Vice-President, Secretary: Emily Rusnak

Emily Rusnak and her husband, Bill, live in Washtenaw County and a parents to a teenage girl prenatally exposed to alcohol. Emily and Bill adopted their daughter from foster care in 2010.

Emily joined the MCFARES Board in 2016. Emily holds a Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders, with a primary interest in environmental risk to development, and clinical certification in speech-language pathology. She is formerly an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University and part-time lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. Emily is also on the Board of Directors of a local adoption agency, focused on foster care, domestic adoption, and international adoption.

Treasurer: Melissa Caldwell


Board Member: Barbara Wybrecht


Board Member: Mary Schalk

MCFARES Board Meetings

MCFARES hosts 4 board meetings per year (quarterly) to discuss old and new business for the organization, set goals, and discuss new initiatives. For more information on MCFARES board meetings, please contact

MCFARES Volunteer Staff

Fundraising Coordinator: Kari Jo Wagner

Project SAFE Coordinator: Laurel Smith

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