Women’s Service Day 2017: It’s Time to Sign Up!

This year Women’s Service Day celebrates its 16th year of serving women and children in our community! The event is planned for Thursday, October 5 and it’s time to register now!

Sign Up Now

Women’s Service Day volunteers continue to make a huge difference in the lives of women and children in our community—approximately 9,000 cumulative volunteer hours since we began in 2001. And we’ve raised and donated more than $100,000 to various nonprofit organizations.

To be a part of this day of volunteering and networking, please register by September 15.

How to Register

This year, Women’s Service Day is using online registration by Sign Up Genius. This new system will allow you to choose specifically where and when you’d like to volunteer on Women’s Service Day. Volunteer opportunities are limited; they’ll be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please keep two things in mind: Most agencies require that volunteers be 18 or older; look for notes on the few that are available to younger volunteers. And because some of our volunteers have physical limitations, please choose options that align with your capabilities.

Sign Up Now

If you’re not familiar with Sign Up Genius, just follow these four easy steps:

1. GO TO THE FORM:

  • Click here to go to the WSD 2017 Registration Form on Sign Up Genius.

2. CHOOSE YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

  • Click on the green “Sign Up” button next to a volunteer opportunity you’d like to do.
    To volunteer all day, choose both a morning and an afternoon assignment.
  • If you have a physical limitation and don’t see an appropriate task for your abilities on the list, please contact us at womensserviceday@gmail.com. We definitely have a place for you!
  • Got leadership skills? Consider signing up to be the leader of a volunteer crew. Read more about crew leader expectation and responsibilities.
  • Once you’ve picked your assignment(s), click on the big purple “Submit and Sign Up” button.

3. SET UP YOUR ACCOUNT:

  • Create a Sign Up Genius account (or log in if you already have one!). This will allow you to get email reminders and other important messages about the event.
  • Complete the remaining questions on the form and click the big green “SIGN UP NOW” button.

4. MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

  • You’re now all set for WSD on October 5!
  • We’re counting on you, so make sure you add your assignment(s) to your calendar.
  • And by all means, please invite your friends to sign up — the more the merrier!

Please note that we may add more volunteer activities in the next few weeks, so feel free to check back and see what’s new.

What to Expect on October 5

img_6417For a morning or all-day session, plan to arrive at your worksite in Holland 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 have a raffle to help the Center for Women in Transition provide safe activities for children who stay in Ginny’s Place, the Center’s shelter. Bring your checkbook!

We’ll also collect disposable diapers and wipes for Nestlings Diaper Bank, a clearinghouse that provides diapers to low-income families and babies. (Or donate directly to Nestlings online.)

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

Questions?

E-mail the Women’s Service Day Planning Committee or visit our 2017 Event page.

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What? You’re volunteering but want to do even more?

21892903535_4d1b068c99_bThat’s awesome! Consider holding a donation drive within your network for the Nestlings Diaper Bank, a clearinghouse that provides low-income families and babies in need with diapers and wipes, for the following items: Disposable diapers (especially sizes 4, 5, and 6) and wipes. They also accept open packages of diapers. We’d be happy to add your contribution to ours on October 6! Or—easiest of all!—you can donate directly to Nestlings online.

We’d also love your financial support for our continuing renovation work at Pathways MI, where many of you worked hard over the last two years. Donations fund the paint, carpet, and furniture that makes the facility welcoming and healing for the children and families who receive services there.

  • We’ll also be hand-crafting delicious pigs-in-blankets during our Women’s Service Day event on the 6th, with, again, proceeds going to the renovation fund for Pathways. Pigs are $12 for a dozen, and orders must be received by October 1. Order yours via this online form.
  • Monetary donations may be made directly to Pathways through their website. All gifts are tax-deductible. To support Women’s Service Day projects there, choose the Building Renovation Fund option when you click “donate.” (Note that Pathways becomes a program of Arbor Circle Corporation on October 1, so you may receive a receipt from that organization.)
  • To complete the project at the Pathways MI facility, we’re on the lookout for furniture, equipment, and supplies, as well as skilled trades and crews willing to volunteer throughout the year. Please contact us to discuss our needs.

Thank you! Every little bit helps!

 

Women’s Service Day 2016: It’s Time to Sign Up!

Are you ready to register for Women’s Service Day 2016?

You and your fellow volunteers are making a huge difference in the lives of women and children in our community. Since WSD began in 2001, we’ve put in nearly 10,000 cumulative volunteer hours—the equivalent of four full-time people volunteering for a year! And we’ve raised and donated more than $100,000 to various nonprofit organizations.

WSDTeeFinalArt_badge-webThis year, in honor of our 15th anniversary, we hope to make a bigger impact than usual. In order to do that, we need not just you, but also your colleagues, friends, and family—any woman who wants to make the world a better place. When you register, please invite them to register, too! The date of the event is Thursday, October 6.

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 raffle to help support continuing renovation work at Pathways MI where we’ll be working on the break room, kitchen, and hallways. And we’ll be collecting disposable diapers for Nestlings Diaper Bank, which is a clearinghouse for many service agencies in our area. If you’re interested in being a part of this day of volunteering and networking, it’s time to sign up!

WSD-t-shirtIn special celebration of our 15-year anniversary, we’re offering special commemorative clothing items through Booster.com. Prices vary by item, but proceeds will go to the renovation fund for the Pathways MI facility, to continue to buy the paint, carpet, and furniture that makes the facility welcoming and healing for the children and families who receive services there. Go to Booster.com/wsd-2016 for full details and to place your order.

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 6 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 6

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 raffle for this year’s recipient, Pathways MI, so bring your checkbook!

Bring your contribution of unused disposable diapers and pull-ups (open packages are okay, and larger sizes are often in shorter supply) and new, unopened baby wipes for Nestlings Diaper Bank.

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. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+.

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.

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.

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/.

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.