Transforming Space to Help Transform Lives

Pathways MI It began as a project for Women’s Service Day, to be accomplished by a group of volunteers in one day. But the planning team quickly realized that the Pathways MI Holland facility required more than a refresh. We were in for a major renovation–to create an environment that would be soothing for people that come to Pathways under duress, as well as the staff who work so hard to help them. Pathways works to provide loving homes for abused and neglected kids who end up in foster care. Michigan has approximately 13,000 children in foster care and, for those transitioning from foster care to adulthood, the statistics are hard to hear:

  • 25% of them will be homeless.
  • Within a year and a half, 84% will become parents.
  • Half will be unemployed.

We need to change those statistics. Pathways provides life-transforming services to children, families, and our community to help create fulfilling and protected lives. And one way to help transform their lives is by transforming the space in which life-changing decisions and events occur. Women’s Service Day focused on three areas within the Holland facility for refurbishment on August 14: the lobby, the courtyard, and the landscaping flanking the entrance to the building. Here’s what these spaces looked like before the renovation.

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Months before our event, a team worked with Pathways to define objectives: new paint and carpet were desperately needed in the lobby to take it from old hospital blue to a natured-inspired minty green. Furniture would be refurbished and new pieces would be purchased. The courtyard needed a crew that knew how to weed. And a landscaper was asked to donate plants for the front of the building. While the team worked on fundraising, organizations stepped forward with donations. Using their network, the Pathways renovation team found a landscaper who offered plants at discount. An interior designer worked tirelessly–even donating fabric she bought–to choose colors, buy paint and carpet tiles, find furniture, and arrange for reupholstery. Then, on the day of the event, a crew of volunteers arrived to remove old furniture (which went to a resale business), pull up carpet, sand the floor, spackle and paint, pull weeds, put in new plantings, and install the artistic birdhouses that now catch the eyes of everyone who can view the courtyard. Here’s how the Pathways MI Holland facility was transformed in just over a day.

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The transformation has made a huge difference for the staff, who love to spend time in the lobby. (More renovations are in the plan for spaces they occupy in the rest of the building.) Clients are amazed when they come through the door. The Pathways Holland facility is an inviting, calming space that people are drawn to. Thank you to the donors of funds, talent, time, and gifts in kind, including Carol Rickey, Alyce Doss, Skyline Design, Cumberland FurnitureWestview Farms, Comfort Research, and Haworth, Inc., as well as all our Women’s Service Day 2014 volunteers.

Working Together for the Greater Good of Our Community


That’s how one participant phrased it after participating in Women’s Service Day 2014. She said, “It is amazing what we can accomplish in a short amount of time, [and] meeting other women from companies in the area that I would not normally interact with.”

We couldn’t be more thrilled to hear a volunteer express two of the goals our planning team established back in 2001: making a difference for women and children in our community, and networking with other women.

On August 14, around 120 volunteers showed up to accomplish tasks and participate in fundraising activities for the 13th annual Women’s Service Day. In the morning and afternoon, they helped a number of nonprofits in the area, including:

Center for Women in Transition and Girls on the Run
Holland Rescue Mission, including Stepping Stones Day Care at the Family Hope Ministry Center
Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity
My Sister’s House II
Nestlings Diaper Bank
Nuestra Casa neighborhood center
Pathways, MI
Ready for School
8th Day Farm

During lunch, volunteers contributed to a raffle fundraiser for the Kelly Markatos Memorial Buildthrough Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity; together, we donated $1,248. They also filled a van with school supplies for Sylvia’s Place.


Volunteers carry some of the supplies donated for Sylvia’s Place


The van from Sylvia’s Place is filled with school supplies and ready to roll

Check out all the photos that reveal what happened in one day.

To quote another volunteer, “I loved meeting new people and helping to make a difference. It was great to have the opportunity to learn new skills, while helping a great cause.”

Does that entice you to get involved next year? Get on the mailing list by emailing

Thank You, Women’s Service Day Volunteers!

Landscaping renovation at Pathways MIWhat a wonderful day for the Holland community! Around 120 volunteers showed up to accomplish tasks and participate in fundraising activities for the 13th annual Women’s Service Day on August 14. In the morning and afternoon, they helped a number of nonprofits in the area, including:

Center for Women in Transition and Girls on the Run
Holland Rescue Mission, including Stepping Stones Day Care at the Family Hope Ministry Center
Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity
My Sister’s House II
Nestlings Diaper Bank
Nuestra Casa neighborhood center
Pathways, MI
Ready for School
8th Day Farm

During lunch, they contributed to a raffle fundraiser for the Kelly Markatos Memorial Build through Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity; together, we contributed $1,248. They also filled a van with school supplies for Sylvia’s Place.

Stay tuned for the full story–with photos–to see all they accomplished in just one day! For now, here’s a peek at some of the crews at work. And check out the Holland Sentinel article that was published about Women’s Service Day today.

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It’s Never Too Late to Volunteer

Because of a few cancelations and schedule changes, we’re still looking for volunteers for this week Thursday, August 14. In the morning, the crew will clean toys and equipment for the Stepping Stones daycare center; in the afternoon, we have a Lakeshore Habitat home lined up. Do you have a chunk of time and some skills in either cleaning or construction?

If you do, we’d love to see you! We’d also welcome you to lunch, where you can meet many other fabulous volunteers at work around the community. See the full information about the event online in this blog post.

And if we’re lucky enough to have filled both of these crews by the time we hear from you, we’d be happy to add you to the crew that next most needs you. To volunteer, use this online form; if you have questions, use the contact form on this website to be in touch or email us at womensserviceday (at)

Reminders for Volunteers on August 14

Shepherd House - Holland Rescue Mission

Women’s Service Day is approaching fast and the planning team is finalizing details. Registered participants should have received their crew information by now. Meanwhile, we’d like to remind you of some logistics.

Activities planned for August 14 will range from several crew assignments  in support of Nuestra Casa neighborhood center, and a facility makeover at Pathways MI, as well as tasks at local nonprofit agencies who have come to depend on our annual event. (Read more about where we’re making a difference.) Morning crews will begin at 8:30 a.m. and afternoon crews will start right after lunch, between 1:15 and 1:30.

Our lunch celebration will be from 11:45 to 1 p.m. at Hope Church, centrally located at 77 West Eleventh Street in Holland (between River and Pine Avenues, just south of downtown Holland and west of Centennial Park). We request a cash lunch donation of $5.00, collected upon arrival at the church.

During lunch we’ll hold a raffle for items and services donated by local artisans and small business owners. Pricing is as follows: 2 tickets for $10 or 5 tickets for $20. Check out the slide show of raffle items, and remember to bring either cash or your checkbook! Proceeds will benefit Kelly Markatos Memorial Build, a Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity House.

For our donation drive, we’ll be collecting school supplies for Sylvia’s Placea refuge for those fleeing domestic violence. Please see the full list of needed supplies in this blog post.

Finally, remember to dress for the weather and the tasks you’re assigned: work gloves, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, and bottled water are suggested items you may want to consider. Although the forecast for Thursday looks fabulous, we know how Michigan weather goes! Our plan to do everything possible, rain or shine!

Got a friend who’s heard about the great work you’re doing this week? We still have room for more volunteers. Please be sure she e-mails us her contact information immediately, and we’ll get her assigned!

If you have a last-minute change in plans (sickness, business crisis, etc.) and are unable to participate—or just need directions—please contact us via e-mail as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ and Twitter! You can also follow the day through photos and updates on Twitter (@womenserviceday) and tweet your own experiences, too, using the hashtag #WSDHolland.

Looking forward to serving with you on August 14!

Sneak Peak: What’s in the Raffle

ticketAt lunch on Women’s Service Day this year we will be holding a raffle to benefit the Kelly Markatos Memorial Build through Lakeshore Habitat for Humanitywith some proceeds covering minor event costs. Thanks to the local artisans and small business owners who have donated items they made or offered gift certificates for services they provide.

We are also grateful to Herman Miller, which has donated several seating products to the raffle.

Pricing is as follows: 2 tickets for $10 or 5 tickets for $20.

Check out the slide show below, and remember to bring your checkbook!

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Where Volunteers Will Serve on August 14

DSC00164We’re gearing up for Women’s Service Day, which is just around the corner. Here’s what volunteers will be doing at the agencies we’ll serve this year. We’re excited to be helping women and children in our community!

  • Center for Women in Transition creates and sustains an environment that enhances the voice, opportunities and strength of women and girls in Allegan and Ottawa Counties. Volunteers will assemble curriculum for the Girls on the Run program, filling backpacks for coaches. Others will wash windows to keep the views bright at CWIT’s main office.
  • Eighth Day Farm uses urban fields as a classroom to cultivate healthy and sustainable communities locally and globally. Volunteers will harvest beans and tomatoes, among other things, clean some vegetables, and weed; a little site maintenance may also be on the agenda.
  • Nestlings Diaper Bank serves as a central location to collect, store, and distribute diapers that have been donated by the local community or purchased through fundraising efforts. Volunteers will be wrapping diapers into packs of 12 for distribution through area nonprofit organizations to mothers in need.
  • Pathways, MI is committed to demonstrating excellence in providing responsive and compassionate service to all individuals, families and communities who seek their assistance. Services they provide include: Counseling, Early Childhood programs, Great Start Western Regional Resource Center, Parent and Family Support and Education, Foster Care, Adoption and participation in community efforts to improve life for children and families. Volunteers will make the facility more welcoming by replacing outdoor landscaping and painting, carpeting, and more for an extreme reception area make-over.
  • Ready for School aims to create communities of readiness where all children thrive and reach their full unique potential. Ready for School prepares children for success by equipping parents through integrated support of the Holland/Zeeland/Hamilton communities. Volunteers will sort, clean, organize, and catalog books, games, toys, and other materials used in educational programs.
  • Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity builds housing with partner-owners based on the principle that everyone deserves a decent place to live and that our community is a better place when that occurs. Volunteers will lay flooring and complete landscaping at a local Habitat home.
  • My Sister’s House II sponsored by the Holland Deacons’ Conference cares for women with physical and developmental challenges by assisting them with the activities of daily living in an adult foster care home. Volunteers will prepare meals for the freezer to ease home operation and clean parts of the facility.
  • Nuestra Casa neighborhood center is a collaborative effort to renovate an abandoned home into a safe place for neighbors to gather. Volunteers will take the next steps in construction, including an access ramp, hanging drywall, and painting trim.