A WSD Satellite in SE Michigan!

Building networks among women has been a goal of Women’s Service Day (WSD) since the very first event in West Michigan 20 years ago. That network is now paying off in an unexpected way! 

In late summer, the WSD planning team was contacted by several women who work for Yanfeng in West Michigan and in Novi; they’re a part of the Women’s Resource Network at that company. Several of them had participated in the West Michigan WSD event; others had heard about it from coworkers. 

They didn’t want to miss out, and they saw an opportunity for women to come together on the east side of the state to do the same kind of good our volunteers have accomplished here! They’ve worked with local-to-them agencies to identify volunteer opportunities, and are ready to launch this first satellite WSD event this Thursday, October 14. Agencies supported are:

  • Earthworks, where volunteers will do seasonal garden maintenance
  • Crossroads in Michigan, where they’ll package condiments for the soup kitchen
  • First Step Domestic & Sexual Violence, where they’ll beautify the area outside of the shelter
  • Food Gatherers, where they’ll sort donations and pack food boxes
  • Michigan Council of Women in Technology, where they’ll pack bags for high school students

Like the “mother” event, the SE Michigan event is using SignUpGenius so volunteers can select the opportunity that’s most appealing, and one or two half-day crews. This event has been publicized within Yanfeng by the Women’s Resource Network; they welcome friends, family, and colleagues from other organizations. 

Available opportunities are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that the Women’s Service Day Planning Team has put these protocols in place for in-person participation:

  • Mask wearing is required indoors regardless of vaccination status
  • Mask wearing is required outdoors when social distancing is not possible
  • Follow CDC and State of Michigan DHHS guidelines for recommended protocols 

How can you help launch this SE Michigan event? Spread the word! The initiative to create this event demonstrates that our networks extend across Michigan and beyond.

Where We’ll Be Serving in 2016

Painting the railing at My House Ministry

We have a record number of women signed up this year! We’re thrilled—and so are the area agencies we’ll be serving. Here’s how volunteers will be working with the agencies to help women and children in the 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 be sorting and organizing curriculum for the Girls on the Run program.
  • Eighth Day Farm uses urban fields as a classroom to cultivate healthy and sustainable communities locally and globally. Volunteers will be weeding, harvesting, planting garlic, and cleaning.
  • Holland Rescue Mission develops and delivers programs of excellence for the homeless and less fortunate. Volunteers will be cleaning all of the daycare rooms, including equipment and toys, at the Stepping Stones Day Care from top to bottom, as well as deep cleaning and organizing the offices at the Family Hope Ministry Center. They will also help clean and organize the catering closet.
  • Kids’ Food Basket aims to attack childhood hunger to help young people learn and live well. Through its Sack Supper program the organization serves nearly 7,000 kids each weekday in West Michigan. Volunteers will be making sandwiches for Sack Suppers, which will be distributed to local children later that day.
  • 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 be working to complete a new home construction in Holland.
  • My House Ministry provides a safe place for women to eventually transition into independent living. Volunteers will be working at two housing locations in Holland, doing a variety of tasks: washing windows, cleaning, sanding drywall, vacuuming, painting indoors and outside, hanging curtains, yard work, and several other home improvement jobs.
  • 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 be cleaning, washing floors, walls, door frames, windows etc. They will also help organize cupboards and closets, and may be planting bushes.
  • 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, and possibly stuffing envelopes for a mailing or helping out with light office duties.
  • 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 be continuing last year’s renovation project to make the facility more welcoming by cleaning up baseboards in preparation for laying carpet, installing blinds, and painting. Outdoor work will include landscaping and clean-up of the central courtyard.
  • 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 disinfect, clean, organize, label, and update inventory of toys and materials in bins that the organization uses to engage families with young children in the community.
  • The Salvation Army is an international movement, motivated by the love of God to meet human needs in Jesus’ name without discrimination. Volunteers will clean and re-sort the pantry, which needs a fresh look. This food pantry is available to people in southern Ottawa County and most of Allegan County who are in need of some supplemental pantry items. It offers a large selection of both perishable and non-perishable items.

Preview This Year’s Raffle Items!

Our annual raffle is one of the highlights of lunch (along with the food, of course). Once again this year it features a variety of items, including some beautiful, handcrafted items. Proceeds will help support continuing renovation work at Pathways MI, with some portion covering minor event costs.

We have two raffles, featuring fabulous donations from local artisans and businesses, and designated by white and red tickets:

  • Red Raffle Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $12
  • White Raffle Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25

The slideshow below gives you a sneak peek of a few of the items you can win. Bring your checkbook and your generosity!

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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!

 

Order Your Pigs-in-Blankets by October 1!

The pigs are back in town! We’ll be making Dutch pigs-in-the-blankets* on Women’s Service Day again this year. Cost is $12 per dozen, and all proceeds will support our continuing renovation work at Pathways. Volunteers will be preparing your orders in the Hope Church kitchen on October 6.

Using our online form, please enter the required fields and submit the form no later than October 1.

Your purchase of pigs must be picked up on October 6 between 3 and 6 p.m. at Hope Church, 77 West 11th Street, Holland. Payment is accepted by cash, credit card, or checks written to Arbor Circle Corporation, with “Women’s Service Day” in the memo line.

And, if you’re interested in selling to your church or book club, let’s talk! Please e-mail us at womensserviceday@gmail.com.

Bon appétit!

*For dietary concerns, pigs-in-the-blankets contain: all-purpose flour, margarine, salt, eggs, milk, and spiced pork sausage.

Last Chance to Order T-shirts!

Show some heart! Thursday, September 15, is the deadline for ordering commemorative T-shirts. We’re offering long-sleeved, short-sleeved, v-neck, and crew-neck shirts and even a hoodie! Proceeds benefit our renovation project at Pathways, which works to improve life for children and families by providing services like counseling, foster care, and education. Don’t delay just a few more days! Visit https://www.booster.com/wsd-2016 for full details and to place your order.

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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.

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.