October GIVE Project – BUCS PRIDE

BUCS PHOTO

BUCS Pride – October 2016

This October, the Klingel Homes team got the chance to meet some of the leaders of BUCS Pride, Sharon Yonker and Marcie Lynch. Their organization is dedicated to bringing encouragement and support to those in our community who have cancer, or who have lost family members to cancer. We learned about their goals to inspire the community, honor cancer survivors, and give back. They’re focused on creating awareness, and truly being present for people in our community who are going through the trials of cancer.

     Their organization partners very closely with the Grand Haven School System, and is particularly involved with the sports teams. Their organization is very unique, in that they work to help the personal needs of each cancer patient or survivor in our community. Not only do they bring gift baskets to newly diagnosed cancer patients, but they also go above and beyond to fulfill the individual needs of each patient. The ladies told us about how they got the GHHS Outdoor Ed Class, and Wrestling Team to go out and chop 3 years worth of firewood for an older lady whose husband passed away from cancer. This organization truly does all it can to help our community. All money donated to BUCS Pride goes directly to people in our area that are battling cancer.

Bucs Pride has created “Purple Fridays”, when the students are encouraged to wear purple, to raise awareness, and show support to those in our community battling cancer. Purple is their organization’s signature color, with the purpose of raising support and awareness for all types of cancer, not just one specific type of cancer. People don’t really get involved with their organization until someone in their family has cancer, so BUCS Pride works hard to inform our community about what they do, so that people know there is support before they need it.

     We know that most organizations have areas that they struggle, so we always ask ministries what that area is for them, because we want to know if there are any specific ways that we can help. We learned that for BUCS Pride, getting people to tell them that someone in their family has cancer is a huge struggle. BUCS Pride has strong connections at the school, but not everyone in the community is connected to the school. And sometimes people don’t want to share openly that they are struggling. Marcie works in a medical office, and if people volunteer information, she can ask them if BUCS Pride can help them. But because of HIPAA regulations, BUCS Pride can’t receive information about patients directly from doctors. So a huge way that our community can help, is to get involved, spread the word, and if you know someone with cancer, encourage them to reach out to BUCS Pride!

     Another amazing way that BUCS Pride partners with GHHS to help our community, is when the Grand Haven High School does 3 blood drives a year, BUCS Pride does a bone marrow registry drive at the same time. Individuals can only be on the Bone Marrow registry from age 18-44, so partnering with the high school helps to get young people on the registry as soon as possible, to allow for the most potential matches, for as many years as possible. We even learned that contrary to popular belief, it is not painful to donate bone marrow, and you just need to swab your cheek to get on the registry!

     We asked the ladies what their favorite moment has been throughout the life of the organization, and Marcie told us “Every year we kept doing the bone marrow drive, and one year, we actually had 4 kids who were possible matches! After they did the second level of testing to determine a perfect match, one student, Carl, turned out to be a perfect match to a cancer patient in need of bone marrow! So Carl, whose mother happened to be a bone marrow nurse, went through the process of donating his bone marrow. It typically takes a year to find out if the donation and transplant was successful, so after about a year they had the opportunity to set up a meeting with the person that he donated his bone marrow to. As their families finally got to meet, they realized that Carl’s mom had been the nurse for the man who received her son’s bone marrow!

When people think of bone marrow donation, they think pain. But now, it’s not even painful to donate bone marrow. It’s not painful to get on the registry, so our students line up to get on the registry! It used to be taken from the hip, but now its just a simple blood draw, which comes out of one arm, cycles through a machine, and then goes right back in the other arm. We talked to Carl right after he donated, and he said the worst part was that he had to sit for 6 hours. He’s an active guy, so that was difficult for him. But the procedure itself was not painful, so because he potentially saved a life, it was totally worth it.”

     We were so amazed to hear how involved the GH sports teams are. The basketball, soccer, hockey, and volleyball teams all have purple jerseys they wear for BUCS pride games! For the football team, they even do jersey sponsorship for their big annual “Purple Game”, so parents or community sponsors pay $100 to sponsor a player’s jersey. The sponsor gets to choose a name to put on the jersey, the player will wear the jersey for the Purple Game, and then the sponsor gets to keep the jersey after the game!

     If you want to get involved in this amazing organization, join us Friday, October 21st for the GHHS Purple Game at 6:00 PM! There will be a walk to honor those battling cancer, remember those we have lost and those that have won the battle.

     There are many other ways you can get involved, event if you can’t attend the Purple Games. Support BUCS Pride and our community by: “Wearing purple on Purple Fridays, donating snacks to be brought to the Johnson’s cancer center on Purple Fridays, volunteering at Bluebird cancer retreats, helping to coordinate their annual Purple Caroling event, volunteering to help at the BUCS Pride store, volunteering to help at Purple sporting events, volunteering to be a school liaison for one of the 9 district schools, being an annual sponsor, or helping to coordinate a Purple sporting event.

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GIVE Project – Gracious Grounds – July 2016

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Gracious Grounds – July 2016

There is a new non-profit organization in the area! During the month of June, we had the opportunity to meet Sandy Baker, the Executive Director of Gracious Grounds. She was kind enough to show us around the first property acquired by the organization and tell us about the work they are doing.

Gracious Grounds is a faith based community offering housing opportunities to people with unique abilities. Their mission is to look beyond limitations to create an environment that is affordable, friendly and resident centered. Gracious Grounds works to emphasize life enriching activities and togetherness by promoting community involvement inclusion, employability skills, daily living skills, academic learning and spirituality.

Safety and security are some of the most important aspects that families look for in housing for their family members with disabilities. The property that Gracious Grounds has acquired from Love In the Name of Christ, meets these needs perfectly. The building was previously used as a hospice care facility when it was originally built, so each room is private and individually secured. Each resident has their own bedroom and bathroom, much like a hotel suite! They have personalized their rooms with colors and themes that make them feel at home. In addition, there will be a Resident Assistant in the house, on a part time basis, merely just to check on the residents to see if they need anything, much like a caring, compassionate neighbor.

Sandy informed us that another goal of Gracious Grounds is to connect the residents to opportunities in the community and to the businesses in the area. “Just as you prepare your own children for their journey into young adulthood – sending them off to college, off to a dorm room, into their first apartment – and preparing them for their first career…..I, too, help to prepare young people, with unique gifts and talents for those same goals, dreams and endeavors. The only difference, as I see it, is the amount of support needed for people with unique challenges to gain successful employment, live on their own, or with a roommate, and carry on successful, fulfilling lives with a purpose! I have always believed that people with different abilities have something to teach us – all of us!!! If you have ever had the opportunity to work side by side with a person with a disability, or have welcomed someone into your social circle and into your life with unique gifts and talents – then, you know the benefits you have received!

Many, but not all, of the residents have part time jobs in local businesses.   There are several residents that desire that opportunity. I believe when the residents offer to assist or volunteer in local businesses, many business leaders witness the gifts, talents and skills that have been instilled in each of these individuals, which may lead to a paid position in the future. Realizing the determination, tenacity and drive that these individuals possess is inspiring, as well as witnessing the benefits that others receive when they work side by side with a person with a disability. These opportunities can shift paradigms in our community. Several local businesses have received the benefits from hiring a person from Gracious Grounds. Leppinks, Orchard Market, The Holiday Inn, Michigan Shippers and The Spring Lake Country Club presently employ several residents from Gracious Grounds.”

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Our friends of gracious grounds at their annual fundraiser (left), and bagging coffee beans (right).

As we continued talking to Sandy about the work of Gracious Grounds, we were overwhelmed by her passion and commitment. She shared how having a son (Eric) with Down Syndrome, as well as serving students with unique abilities as a Special Education Teacher and past Principal, have been the catalyst for the development of the organization. Housing for people with disabilities is an unmet need in many communities. There is a waiting list for this property already! I am receiving phone calls from other communities desiring Gracious Grounds to come into their neighborhoods! Gracious Grounds is also hopeful to obtain an apartment building in the area soon. Several applicants desire to have their own one bedroom, one bath apartment and/or live in a two bedroom/two bath apartment with a roommate.

When we asked Sandy what her biggest struggle has been to date, she expressed the fact that she has been frustrated, at times, by the length of time it has taken to get the organization to the point it is today. “My patience has been tested over and over again. But, I know there was a reason for every delay!! With every delay another opportunity would open up – most of the time even better than the previous opportunity!”

Gracious Grounds is a newer non-profit and any success that they have achieved has been directly related to the level of financial support the community provides. They are actively looking for volunteers and resident assistants to join their team. If you would like to share your gifts and talents with Gracious Grounds, consider contacting Sandy Baker at sandrajbaker63@gmail.com or if you would like to donate directly, you many send your contribution to Gracious Grounds at PO Box 393, Spring Lake, Michigan 49456.

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GIVE Project – TCM Counseling – June 2016

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June 2016 – TCM Counseling 

     For our Klingel Homes GIVE Project this month, we had the opportunity to meet with Sarah Lewakowski, the executive director of TCM Counseling, and got a tour of their Grand Haven facility.

     TCM Counseling is one of the best places in the tri-cities to be able to access professional counseling. As of this year, they have been in the community for 39 years. TCM’s commitment to the community is that no one is ever turned away. If anyone lives, works, worships, or attends school in the tri-cities, they will never be denied the counseling they need. TCM works with 30 professional, licensed therapists from private practices. So not only will a client never be turned away, but this allows clients to see their therapist very soon after their intake.

     When we heard how many therapists TCM works with, we were surprised by the high demand for counseling in our area. We asked Sarah how many clients TCM typically has at a time, to which she answered: “About 12 years ago when I started, we saw about 5-10 new clients a month. Now we see anywhere from 80-150 new clients per month.”

     They also can help some clients access needed psychiatric care, and are extremely passionate about suicide prevention. TCM even offers a suicide prevention training program called QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer. They provide QPR training for area churches, businesses, or groups that would like to receive it. Recently, this issue has come to the forefront of local issues, as the rate of death by suicide (especially in youth) for Ottawa County has been up dramatically.

According to the 2015 Ottawa County Community Needs Assessment:
“After 6 years of declining numbers, youth reporting they had attempted suicide within the past year increased 50% in 2013.”

 

     In addition to individual and group counseling, TCM is committed to offering other programs relating to mental health. They even have a school outreach program and are providing therapy on location at local schools for some of our community’s most vulnerable: students whose families cannot afford, or provide transportation to a therapist’s office. Right now TCM counselors are seeing students in 10 area schools and are hoping to expand that even more.

After hearing more about their services and opportunities, we asked Sarah a few specific questions.

     “What is the greatest struggle that TCM faces?”

“We see TCM as helping to keep our community healthy and happy by providing hope and healing for all. But one struggle has been fundraising for something that is not tangible. If people can’t see it, or touch it, or if it hasn’t affected them or someone they know, it’s hard to communicate that need and receive funding.

     And also sometimes the stigma of mental health, and the process of getting help can be a struggle. The sooner people get help the better, but there are still those who don’t believe in it, don’t think it’s important, and may not know where to get it. So that can be a struggle too.”

   TCM has a very unique model, which enabled them (in 2015) to provide the community over $900,000 worth of mental health services, on a budget of $327,000. So $1 donated to TCM can provide $3 worth of mental health services for the community.

     “So how do all 30 therapists get paid on such a small budget?”
“They lower their rates to TCM, by half or more of what they normally charge. So the client will pay their therapist an arranged copay, and then the therapist will bill TCM the remainder less the copay. When a new client comes in, we just sit and chat about what brought them in to TCM. It might take 20 minutes, or maybe 3 hours. And I’m good with that, however long they need to tell me their story. It is not uncommon for us to do an intake, at least once daily, of someone who is suicidal. But we want to give them hope, and get them to their therapist that day. That’s why we spend so long on intake meetings, to know they’re safe.

     So, through our conversation, I figure out what copay they can afford, based on their employment, family, etc. TCM never wants finances to prohibit a person from receiving the care they need. I’ll also determine what therapist they will fit best with, based on what they have told me. It is so important that we refer clients to the right therapist, someone they will fit well with. Among our 30 therapists, we have people with various areas of expertise and specialties. If the new client has insurance, that’s awesome! Or, maybe they have insurance, but have a $4,000+ deductible. We call that “underinsured” and they need financial assistance to be able to see a therapist. So whether someone has no insurance, or a high deductible, we’re going to figure out something they can afford.

     “What are some of your favorite memories of your time at TCM?”
“My greatest memories are talking to people coming in for intake meetings. So many clients we see have been turned down at other agencies and believe that they will not be able to access the help that they need. The relief and hope that occurs at TCM on a daily basis is amazing.  

     A judge once sent a man here for anger management, so I set him up with an individual counselor, as well as our anger management group. About a year later, he walked in our door with a woman and a baby and said: ‘This is my fiancé, and we need some help with our relationship. I knew we could come here because you were so nice.’
Another man came from one of the businesses in town, and after about an hour into the intake, he said, ‘I need you to know something… I’m an atheist.’ So I said to him, ‘I need you to know something… I don’t care!’ and I just saw him completely relax. My favorite moments are when you can see on someone’s face they’re surprised you’re not turning them away. I truly cannot imagine being anywhere else. The one thing that people should know about TCM is that we want to care about everybody. And we do, we care about every single individual.”
 

TCM Counseling has been providing the Tri-Cities with professional counseling for 39 years.  Utilizing a very unique model of very low overhead and a panel of 30 therapists, their commitment to the community is that no one is turned away.  In addition to individual counseling, TCM provides support groups, a School Outreach Program to our local schools, an Employee Assistance Program to our local businesses, and also provides QPR Suicide Prevention Training (free) to area groups.  TCM Counseling is proud to provide Hope and Healing for All.

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GIVE Project – Love INC – May 2016

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May 2016 – Love INC. Tri-Cities

     We had the pleasure of meeting with Katie Appold, the Executive Director of Love INC Tri-Cities. She was gracious enough to show us around their Free Health & Dental Clinic, the building for which was given to them in 2014 by a local dentist, Dr. Riopelle.

     Love INC provides twenty-seven individual ministries through area churches.  Each ministry is made possible by donations of funding, volunteer hours, and other resources by their network of churches and the Tri-Cities Community.

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     As we talked with Katie about all the different ministries Love INC provides, we had the chance to ask her some specific questions.

     “What is the greatest struggle that Love INC faces?”

“Funding! People come in and they see this beautiful office and the artwork on the walls, and they don’t think we need the funds. But the building, the artwork, the furniture, it was all a gift! We’re not paying for it out of pocket. 76% of our money goes to programs. We are truly about meeting needs and not administrative costs. Our marketing expenditures are around 3%, which is unheard of. [The average advertising allocation usually ranges between 9-12% of an annual budget.*] We do a lot through social media and with our e-news letter. We do one print newsletter every 2months, and that is it.”

       We expressed our surprise at the size and reach of the organization, to which Katie replied: “It’s funny how many people support Love INC but they think we’re just a food pantry! If they just knew the enormity of everything that was happening…”

     Not only does Love INC have a phenomenal food pantry, which feeds 10 local food pantries, but they also have amazing housing ministries, including the Hope House Women’s Shelter, and the Harbor House Men’s Shelter. The Love INC Sheltered Housing programs are designed to serve the whole individual, not just give them a place to stay.  They do this by fostering growth in the areas of life that support sustainability such as Money Management, Life Skills (nutrition, conflict management, communication, scheduling), Biblical Knowledge, Volunteerism, and Job Placement Assistance. While explaining the magnitude of their housing programs, Katie said: “People are always shocked that we have homeless people in this area, but we have full houses with waiting lists!”

“What are the best moments with Love INC?”

“The best moments by far, are when it’s undeniable that God is in control of the ministry. It’s just GOD, showing up and meeting the need, helping us to do what we do. And it happens all the time!”

     Katie also told us about their newest housing project, Providence Place. Providence Place is a barrier-free, low cost housing opportunity for mentally able, but physically disabled people. Love INC. seeks to meet the need of physically disabled people to have a place to call home, freedom to move about the community, and be in a location with others who relate to the unique challenges of their lives. The Providence Place campaign is currently seeking $850,000 in community philanthropy to fund its ministry goals.

     Love INC believes in the potential and purpose of each person. They aim to care for neighbors in need and help give them a hand up through programs focused on basic needs like shelter, food, health/dental care, life skills, and household sustainability. Learn how you can begin offering help, hope and Love In the Name of Christ at www.lovecinctricities.org

Klingel Homes Give Project

*https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/cost-of-marketing-what-is-the-average-budget/

Klingel Homes GIVE PROJECT

Klingel Homes Give Project
     At Klingel Homes, our desire is to do everything to the best of our abilities, and with great purpose. We desire to be intentional, self-reflective, and conscious of the impact of our actions. As we reflect on years past, we find ourselves donating funds without forethought or investment of heart, so we decided to change how we give to our community.

As we are turning over this new leaf, we decided to give this project a name. The GIVE PROJECT is a movement created to bring awareness to the ministries that Klingel Homes partners with. When we give funds to those ministries, we will know where those funds are going to be used, and have assurance that we are being good stewards of the blessings that we have been given. Our goal is to meet with one ministry each month, learn about it, donate funds, and use our connections to bring awareness to the ministry and its needs.
Check back in May to learn about our first ministry partner!