Donations Needed for My House Ministry

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This year on Women’s Service Day, our donation drive recipient is My House Ministry, a transitional housing program for women. (You can read more about this new organization in a Holland Sentinel article.)

Women coming from shelters and other programs simply cannot afford safe and stable housing. Welcome baskets with personal and household supplies provide a way to help residents get on their own two feet when they arrive at My House ministry.

We’ll be collecting items to fill welcome baskets for women coming from shelter, rehab, or re-entry programs to independent living at one of two homes run by My House Ministry in Holland.

For personal items they need:

  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Laundry soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes

We’ll also be collecting several household goods:

  • 13-gallon garbage bags
  • Murphy’s oil spray
  • Paper towels
  • Dish soap
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap

Please bring your donations on October 1. Can’t make it to our event? Why not organize your own donation drive?

Invite Your Friends and Colleagues to Volunteer

Are you involved in a book club, knitting group, or on a project team with women who want to make a difference in their community? Why not ask them to sign up for Women’s Service Day this year!

Simply send an e-mail, or share via Facebookand Twitter to let them know you’d like them to register. You can also send their e-mail addresses to the Women’s Service Day Planning Committee and we’ll add them to our mailing list. If you’d like other materials to help spread the word, such as business cards, newsletter announcements, and posters, let us know!

In addition to volunteering at a number of nonprofit agencies in Holland (here’s a list of places we’ve volunteered in the past), we’ll be holding a silent auction and raffle to help support continuing renovation work at Pathways MI where many of you worked hard last year to make over the lobby and landscaping. And we’ll be collecting donations for My House Ministry, a transitional housing program for women.

Women’s Service Day originated from the spirit of giving among a group of women who recruited their friends and colleagues to help build a home for a single mom. We’d love to engage more women from our community to offer their time and talents, working side-by-side with women who want to make a difference.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 1! And be sure to register now!

Women’s Service Day 2015: It’s Time to Sign Up!

wvd-logo-straightforward.jpgAre you ready to register for Women’s Service Day 2015?

Now in its fourteenth year, Women’s Service Day continues to extend its reach in making a difference for women and children in the Holland area. Join this growing movement (we’re nearly 150 women strong) by participating in Women’s Service Day on Thursday, October 1.

Where else can you spend your time, skills, and talent helping nonprofit organizations while networking with women in your community—all in one day?

This year Women’s Service Day returns to our typical fall timeframe. In addition to volunteering at agencies in Holland, we’ll be holding a silent auction and raffle to help support continuing renovation work at Pathways MI where many of you worked hard last year to make over the lobby and landscaping. And we’ll be collecting donations for My House Ministry, a transitional housing program for women. (You can read more about this new organization in a Holland Sentinel article.) If you’re interested in being a part of this day of volunteering and networking, it’s time to sign up!

How to Register

Capacity is limited and you must register (first-registered, first-served) before the event to participate. Complete this online form by September 4 to sign up for a morning session, afternoon session, or both shifts. You’ll receive confirmation that we’ve received your information, and you’ll be on an email distribution list for future event communications. Remember, we’re counting on you! We plan our agency projects based on the number of registrants, so please be sure it’s on your calendar.

What to Expect on October 1

For a morning or all-day session, plan to arrive at a worksite in Holland (we’ll let you know where) at 8:30 a.m. For an afternoon session, plan to arrive at Hope Church by noon, where we’ll gather for a celebration lunch (for which we ask a $5 donation). We’ll hold a silent auction and raffle for this year’s recipient, Pathways MI, with some proceeds covering minor event costs, so bring your checkbook!

For this year’s donation drive, we’ll be collecting items to fill welcome baskets for women transitioning from shelter, rehab, or re-entry programs to independent living at My House Ministry in Holland. We thought we’d tell you what they need now so you can keep an eye out for sales! For personal items we’re collecting: shampoo, deodorant, laundry soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. We’ll also be collecting these household goods: 13-gallon garbage bags, Murphy’s oil spray, paper towels, dish soap, toilet paper, and hand soap.

Watch for additional details about our event in future communications and here on our website. Thank you for your willingness to help!

Questions? E-mail the Women’s Service Day Planning Committee.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more information.

JCI Gives Pathways MI a Boost

jciOne of the projects we’re tackling this year is the continuing facility renovation at Pathways MI in Holland. JCI, locally and globally admired for its philanthropic outreach in support of community needs, has donated $1,000 through a grant initiated by the women who work there–many of whom have participated in Women’s Service Day in the past.

We are grateful for this initiative on behalf of Pathways, as crews prep the space for renovation. The donation will help fund supplies for carpeting, painting, and furniture reupholstery to keep the momentum going. Thank you!

We look forward to our JCI volunteers joining us as we get to work throughout the Holland community on October 1!

 

Vision + Tenacity = A Dream Come True

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Women’s Service Day gives a check to Westcore Neighbors (Pictured: Nuestra Casa Core Team representatives, from left to right: Marcia Davis, Lois Maassen, Ben Sikkink, Jeannette Brownson, Raul Garcia, and Judy VanDyke)

In February 2015, Women’s Service Day hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at Nuestra Casa neighborhood center to celebrate key donors and volunteers who helped make a dream reality: a new venue for neighborhood activities where residents can foster a healthy, safe community.

During the following months, loose ends were wrapped up–things like accounting and renovation tweaks and the creation of a new sign. We are forever grateful to Ben Sikkink for his tireless perseverance in leading the construction effort. Special thanks also goes to Chris Wiers for his creative sign-making skills (twice!).

On July 15, the remaining funds (nearly $3,800) raised by Women’s Service Day–with the help of many volunteers–were transferred to Westcore Neighbors to boost their programming efforts as they begin to initiate activities like book groups, cooking classes, mentoring, music lessons, crafts for kids, and community gardening. Members of all four entities that collaborated on the project (Women’s Service Day, Good Samaritan Ministries, New Community/Fourth Reformed Church, and Westcore Neighbors) were present for the official transition.

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Pictured are representatives from Westcore Neighbors, Women’s Service Day, Good Samaritan Ministries, and New Community/First Reformed Church

It may have taken four years, but this is what happens when people pool their skills and talents and determination. Vision + tenacity = a dream come true.

Save the Date! Women’s Service Day Planned for October 1

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Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 1, to participate in Women’s Service Day this year.

We’re looking forward to providing volunteer service opportunities for Women’s Service Day participants at a number of nonprofit organizations in Holland.

Now is the time to recruit your friends and colleagues! We’ll share more information about the day later this summer, but for now, save the date!

From Renovation to Completion: Nuestra Casa Celebration

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Nuestra Casa was the venue for an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, February 28, to celebrate key donors and volunteers. Attendees were invited to tour the facility, which underwent renovation beginning in 2011. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Westcore Neighbors gathered for a potluck to showcase the new venue for neighborhood activities. Book groups, cooking classes, canning classes, mentoring activities, music lessons, crafts for kids, reading activities, and community gardening are interests initially expressed by neighbors when the project kicked off. The center is located at 253 W. 15th Street in Holland.

Nuestra Casa renovation has been a collaborative project among Women’s Service Day, Good Samaritan Ministries, New Community/Fourth Reformed Church, and Westcore Neighbors. Women’s Service Day managed the fundraising and construction, which culminated in an open house to thank donors and key volunteers for their contributions. It was once a dream among neighbors that has been realized with the help of many hands.

“When we began the project,” said Nuestra Casa core team leader Lois Maassen, “there were nearly 250 vacant houses in the City of Holland alone. Nuestra Casa became an opportunity to turn one of them into a neighborhood center to create ‘pride of place’ and a gathering place for residents living among so many abandoned homes.” The project modeled asset-based community development by engaging community members in fundraising and construction. Ideally, Nuestra Casa can help residents foster a healthy, safe community.

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More than 50 people came to see the new center on a bright winter’s day. For the ribbon cutting ceremony they assembled outside on the new ramp constructed for wheelchair access, commemorating the transition from renovation to operation.

“We’ve learned a lot along the way,” said Maassen. “We’ve learned about community and what can happen when people pool their skills and their talents and their determination. We’ve learned about the relationship between vision and tenacity. Perhaps we’ve learned the most about gratitude: to each other as Women’s Service Day teammates; to the people who represent our partners; to the members of the project core team; to the donors who believed in and supported the project; to the volunteers who contributed untold hours of labor.”

After cutting the ribbon, symbolizing the transition from Women’s Service Day to Westcore Neighbors, Program Director Raul Garcia said, “This gathering place is a dream becoming reality. It has taken a village to undertake a project like Nuestra Casa, and we wouldn’t be standing here without the support of the larger community and Women’s Service Day. This is only the beginning of even greater things to come.”

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Built in 1896, the house was donated to New Community/Fourth Reformed Church in 2009. Several organizations, including the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, Women Who Care Holland, and many individuals contributed to the $75,000 budget; local businesses offered gifts in kind and reduced pricing. Hundreds of people in the community contributed to numerous fundraising events coordinated by Women’s Service Day, which also won the national online Marigold Ideas for Good contest and a financial contribution.

Meanwhile, the construction team recruited volunteers from all over Holland, through a variety of organizations, to reinforce structures, install drywall and windows, replace siding, and even raise the roof. Several members of Hope Church have dedicated their time to lead construction crews for the past two years. Women’s Service Day has assigned volunteers to the Nuestra Casa projects during their annual event four years in a row. And Hope College students have contributed their efforts during their Time to Serve event. Finishing touches—from paint to cabinets and appliances to carpet and curtains—were completed in January and February this year.

To learn more about Nuestra Casa, visit the center’s blog: http://nuestracasathegatheringplace.wordpress.com/.