One good deed inspires another, as nonprofits and volunteers meet everyone’s needs


Today, as I write this, the weather is gloomy and rainy. Yet inside, I feel full of warmth and incredible gratitude after seeing months of planning and organization come to fruition.

Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect and improve the quality of life for children and families, desperately needed a new deck. The old decks had already had several nails replaced in hopes of holding the boards in place, and their weathered appearance left much to be desired. Getting a small grant of $5,500 was just what the agency needed to finally repair or replace the old deck. Yet our hopes quickly dwindled when we received offers well outside of our price range.

Running out of ideas, our facilities board chair hit on the idea of ​​contacting Jennifer Chappel at Midland County Habitat for Humanity to see if they could lend us some of their volunteers to help us rebuild the bridge ourselves. We had no idea that one phone call would have such a huge impact on us; it was beyond anything we had imagined.

Jennifer not only offered to help find volunteers, she offered her entire agency. She put us in touch with Erich Ostrander, their construction manager, and the terrace project took off! It soon became clear to me that we necessary Erich and his expertise and we definitely needed his team of volunteers! Once we started, it only took two days to build two new composite decks, but nothing could have prepared us for the relationships that would come of these two days.

Bob Broekhuizen, one of the Helping Hearts & Hands volunteers at Memorial Presbyterian Church, approached Erich and me with an idea. Bob acknowledged the struggle I had, as executive director of a small non-profit organization, to maintain the upkeep of a 1950s house-turned-office while trying to focus on what mattered. really for the agency. His care and concern for others spurred him to action and he came up with a pilot program called Help the Helpers. This faith-based program would use volunteers with building skills to identify facility needs, enabling an agency to proactively manage, fund, and implement improvements to further enable that agency’s mission. Volunteers would help with cost analysis and either work on the tasks themselves or arrange to have the work done by a professional contractor.

A few meetings later, we were joined by a kind, soft-spoken volunteer named Bill Brown. Bob and Bill seemed to take the initiative to organize us, help identify priorities, make the right contacts and everything else. In this process, it was identified that the immediate issue for the Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center was our water management system and the overall impact it was having on our building. If we didn’t solve the problems now, our building would face costly repairs in the near future. Overcoming these compounded structural challenges has allowed those of us who work at the Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center to continue to focus on serving children in our community.

Bob and Bill made things happen. Through their contacts, we have had the support, whether at a greatly reduced cost or entirely in the form of a donation, from the following entrepreneurs and individuals:

  • Electric Valley, Jay Brown
  • Plumbing and Heating Wilds, Shane Wilson
  • Midland County Habitat for Humanity
  • Northwoods Concrete, Dave Beck
  • Fisher Concrete
  • Midland City Sewer, Josh Miller
  • Lowes, Gary Pillow
  • Home Depot, Hallie Shauge and Trent L.
  • Town of Midland
  • Premium Grade Seamless Gutter, Brent Johns
  • Don Boyer, Linda Kenna, Dave Molzahn, Bill Schramm

Everyone involved with Help the Helpers sharedfocused and believed in the mission of Safe & Sound.

I am often motivated by quotes. I find that the words of others have an impact when I convey the power of a message. Now comes to mind Robert Ingersoll’s “We Lift Up by Uplifting Others”. Our agency used to be the one providing the services to others, but lately we have had some of the most generous and generous people and companies.

The kindness shared with others is priceless, now more than ever. The impact of the gift of kindness from Bob, Bill, volunteers and all entrepreneurs cannot be adequately expressed; however, we strive to share that kindness by continuing to dedicate our time, care, and service to all who walk through the doors of the Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center. Thank you all for lifting us up.

Michelle Waskevich is executive director of the Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center in Midland.


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