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Tag Archive | "City Impact"

Cedar Springs WorkCamp now accepting applications for free home repairs

City Impact-Cedar Springs is now accepting applications for free home repairs for those most in need in the Cedar Springs area. City Impact was awarded a WorkCamp by Group Mission Trips (Group) (www.groupmissiontrips.com). The WorkCamp runs from June 27 through July 3. 

WorkCamp completes all manner of home repairs completed, including interior and exterior painting, weatherization, simple roof repairs, mobile home skirting and insulation, stair repairs and handicap ramps. Homes within 30 minutes of Cedar Springs are eligible for this WorkCamp. 

City Impact is leading the effort to bring over 200 campers from across the country to Cedar Springs to complete repairs on over 40 homes. The campers will be lodged at the Cedar Springs Middle School. Group and City Impact expressed thanks for the support and provided by Cedar Springs schools, especially Superintendent Smith, Principal Balding, and Operations Director Ken Simon. 

How can our community support this WorkCamp?

  • Help those in need apply for free home repairs
  • Youth group attendance 
  • Financially support the WorkCamp
  • Volunteer for WorkCamp

Applications now are available from City Impact (email: cityimpactcs@gmail.com) and on Facebook (WorkCamp-Cedar Springs). Selection of the homes for WorkCamp will be conducted in early April based on submitted applications. 

A primary responsibility of City Impact is to raise the local funding to pay for the building materials which is no small feat in the current Covid world. 

Donations can be sent to:  City Impact-2021 WorkCamp 288 North Main Street NE, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. Ensure that contributions are clearly marked WorkCamp 2021. Also as part of our fundraising there are sponsorship opportunities (please check out our Facebook page). 

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City Impact community turkey giveaway

This Thanksgiving “turkey” advertised the community turkey
giveaway Monday at City Impact of Cedar Springs.
Photo from City Impact Facebook page.

On Monday, November 24, City Impact gave out 163 turkey dinners with all the fixin’s to anyone who wanted one. They did it through donations of the community residents and businesses.

“We are blown away by the love, the support and the “let’s do this” together factor of Cedar Springs,” they posted on their Facebook page. “We cannot begin to express our thanks!” 

They are thankful to the countless people who strolled in with a grocery bag or a trunkful or an armful of groceries to be a part of this drive-thru Thanksgiving-GIVE. 

“We are so blessed and so thankful! Happy Happy Thanksgiving. 2020 sure has been different but today felt filled with love and hope, because of you, and you and you,” they said.

#bettertogether #loveactivated

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Pumpkin giveaway hits the mark

By Judy Reed

It may have looked a little different this year, but last Saturday’s Green Family & Friends pumpkin giveaway was just what the doctor ordered for families in Cedar Springs this fall. 

The event, a drive-thru trunk or treat and pumpkin giveaway put on by the Cordell Green family and supported by partners from City Impact, Rise Up Church, and more, estimates at least 1,000 people attended.

The event was held from 2-6 p.m. in the Cedar Trails drop off/pick up area. About 300 cars entered from Northland Drive and on to Holton Drive (by Green Acres) and took turns driving through the drop off area. The area was set up with regular masked volunteers, and costumed volunteers who decorated their car trunks and served kiddoes in each car with all kinds of candy treats as they made their way around the circle. Kids saw all kinds of costumed characters, including sharks, spiderman, a dinosaur, and a gorilla who sometimes stole their candy!

Cordell Green estimated 300 cars drove through, and they gave out 850-900 trick or treat bags. They also gave out over 1,000 hot dogs, chips waters, cotton candy, and cookies. At the very end, each child also got a pumpkin.

“I’d like to thank all the volunteers and co-hosts,” said Green. “Without them, it wouldn’t happen.”

Kelley Bergsma, with City Impact, was also excited on how well the event turned out. “The event was fabulous!” she said. “So many families commented that it was an amazing idea for the times we are in. There was joy! (There was) a sense of community and love, so many smiles and fun creative trunk or treat stations, so much yummy food and pumpkins! What a day of fun and it was bumper to bumper almost the whole time. Families said it was well worth the wait. Once again, Cordell Green’s event blessed this red flannel town! It was fun to partner with so many people.”

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Galle becomes fully commissioned in the Men of Honor

Cedar Springs High School Senior, Dominyk Galle became the first student in our area to become fully commissioned as an ambassador for the Men of Honor on Thursday, October 22 at City Impact in Cedar Springs.

Men and Ladies of Honor is an international after school biblical character-building program for 6th grade through high school students that meets weekly usually in the public schools. Due to COVID, we are meeting at City Impact on Main Street. There are 5 clubs in the greater Grand Rapids/northern Kent County area schools and 7 in Muskegon.

Men of Honor was birthed in Texas in 2003. Founder/Executive Director Tony Rorie was a middle school principal in Dallas. He started to meet and mentor once a week with four of his biggest troublemakers. He would teach them the basics of manners, common courtesies, character and biblical leadership. By the end of the year, his group of 4 grew into 50. Ladies of Honor was birthed shortly after. You can find MLOH clubs around the nation and in 11 countries.

Becoming fully commissioned in Men and Ladies of Honor is a high honor and is similar to the honor of becoming and Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. The student first has to become partially commissioned. To do that, they have to complete 3-Men of Honor or Ladies of Honor magazines that teach about integrity, honesty, purity and more. They must also memorize the MOH or LOH axioms, which is their creed. At this point they are rewarded a dagger. The dagger represents the Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.

To become fully commissioned, the student must now complete 6 more books with workbooks and memorize the Fellowship of the Unashamed. At this point, they are rewarded a Sword for the young men or a beautiful Shield of Faith for the ladies. The students are usually recognized at the end of the school year at a formal gathering with family, friends, and other community leaders at an Honor Gala. Due to COVID, this past year’s Gala had to be cancelled. 

Dom was honored after school with a small group of Men of Honor at City Impact. What makes Dom’s story so unique is that he started last September and has became fully commissioned within a year. This is truly remarkable. Way to go Dom!

Men and Ladies of Honor is meeting on Thursday after school from 2:45-4pm for high school student leaders and partners with En Gedi, an after school youth center. We are hoping to include the middle school students soon.

For more information about the MLOH program, become a volunteer leader or if you would like to make a donation, please contact West Michigan Regional Director Randy Badge at 616.799.5776 or email him at randy.badge55@gmail.com. You can also visit the MLOH website at www.honorchangeseverything.com.

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En Gedi Youth Center to open at City Impact in Cedar Springs

En Gedi, a local Cedar Springs Christ-centered non-profit organization established in 2009, has been providing a free after-school youth center for students in grades 6-8 for several years. It was previously housed at Red Hawk School but unable to open this fall due to the recent COVID guidelines for schools and outside organizations. 

The En Gedi Team recently met with City Impact Co-Directors Jonathan and Kelley Bergsma. With both organizations sharing in a common mission to serve our Cedar Springs Area, City Impact Board of Directors and En Gedi Board of Directors were eager to explore options for continuing the En Gedi after-school program at the City Impact facility located at 288 N. Main Street in downtown Cedar Springs. 

With both En Gedi and City Impact supported solely on local donations from area businesses and community members, they remain seated firmly in their faith this arrangement can work through the grace of God.  En Gedi’s annual fund-raising auction held each spring had to be cancelled in 2020 but is tentatively rescheduled for March of 2021. 

The Youth Center Executive Director Pastor Craig Owens will continue to oversee the program currently scheduled to begin on Monday, October 12 and run from 2:30 to 5 pm. However, students do not need to commit to the entire four days nor the entire time period. En Gedi is open to individual schedules that coincide with the youth center hours. All students in grades 6-8 from both Cedar Springs Public Schools (CSPS) and Creative Technologies Academy (CTA) as well as home-schooled and virtual learner students are welcome to attend. The Youth Center program doors are open Monday–Thursday when Cedar Springs Public Schools are in session. Strict standards following the recommended Kent County COVID guidelines, that coincide with CSPS and CTA rules, will be followed at the Youth Center.  More details can be found in the Youth Center Handbook available from Pastor Owens.

City Impact’s mini-bus/large van will be used for student transportation from both CSPS and CTA (if needed) to City Impact free of charge. Parents or guardians must pick up their students at City Impact no later than 5 pm. All parents or guardians must complete an application in advance to attend the youth center. This application can be found on the En Gedi website of EnGediYouthCenter.com or call Pastor Owens for more options. 

All youth center staff and volunteers are screened and supervised according to educational standards under the direct supervision of Pastor Owens. A van driver with a CDC license and one part-time staff are still needed. 

Daily schedules include indoor and outdoor physical activity, group discussions, board and computer games, as well as homework with monitored internet services available. It is hoped more opportunities will be provided as the recommended COVID guidelines change.  

“Building trusting relationships through mentoring and tutoring as well as having a lot of fun is our En Gedi objective,” said Pastor Owens. “As leaders within the youth center, we try to provide encouragement and safe options for this ‘after school time’ when students are often home alone due to working parents or guardians. Statistic show a high rate of drug use and bad choices occurring among middle school aged students during this unsupervised time at home,” he continued. 

“Now, with schools closing their buildings immediately after the last class, except for athletic practices, the youth center is a great option for our young people. En Gedi hopes to provide a safe and fun supervised place to hang out,” said Owens. 

Adult volunteers are needed at the Youth Center for any time slots they may have available to share.  If community members have a hobby or skill they are willing to share with the students please contact Pastor Owens.  Previous classes or demonstrations have included jewelry making, fire safety, guitar, and more. 

The Ladies and Men of Honor, a partner organization with En Gedi, will also conduct their meetings during Youth Center hours. This program promotes positive life leadership skills, community service, and Christian values. 

If you should have any questions surrounding the youth center please feel free to contact Pastor Owen by phone at 616.667.7773 or email at EnGediYouthCenter@gmail.com. Check out the En Gedi Facebook page and website of EnGediYouthCenter.com.  You can download the Youth Center Handbook and application on the website. 

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Community group gives hope to Metron residents and staff

By Judy Reed

Members of the City Impact Saturday night church showed love and encouragement to the residents and staff at Metron Wednesday. City Impact Facebook photo.

The Cedar Springs community got the news Tuesday that our local long-term nursing home, Metron of Cedar Springs, had 31 residents and five staff members test positive for COVID-19. It hit many people hard, knowing the virus was affecting some of the most vulnerable people we knew and in our own backyard.

On Wednesday, a group of people in the community reached out to show the residents and staff at Metron that they care about them and what they are going through.

City Impact, a local Christian outreach center, took a group there to pray, sing and show them they are loved with signs, balloons and more.

“Our City Impact Saturday night service prayer team reached out to Metron right when we heard the news story yesterday [Tuesday],” explained spokesperson Kelley Bergsma. “Our intentions at first were to do a park and pray in the parking lot, however Metron said that their residents could really use some hope right now and they wouldn’t be able to see us or hear us from our parked cars, so we were invited on the property by one of their staff who showed us which windows to go to. We had one of our worship leaders with a guitar and microphone singing, and we just moved around the building in prayer and worship.”

Bergsma said that despite some of the negative comments on Facebook, they did practice social distancing, and the people seen in groups were families. “We were very cautious,” she said.

 “We decided to do this because Metron is located right in the center of Cedar Springs. We care deeply about our city and the people here. We care about the staff, the residents, the families involved, and we know that prayer makes a difference!”

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Year in Review 2019

Top story for 2019: City Impact to the rescue

By Judy Reed

An ice storm in early 2019 left over 100,000 people without power or heat. Post photo by J. Reed.

There were a couple of big things that happened here in Cedar Springs in 2019, and one entity that had a big part to play in how they both turned out.

In the first week of February, the Cedar Springs community was hit hard by two back to back ice storms that hammered West Michigan, leaving a path of ice, snow, downed tree branches, and downed power lines in its wake. Many were without power on Wednesday, February 6, after the first ice storm, and on Thursday another one hit, causing widespread outages, including most of the Cedar Springs area. Over 100,000 people were without power.

Consumers first predicted Sunday evening to have everyone’s power restored, then changed it to Monday at 11:30 p.m. That was bad news for those without power, including the entire City of Cedar Springs, who lost power when a transmission line at the substation at Fifth and Church Street exploded. Schools remained closed, restaurants and gas stations had no power, and Meijer was on partial power. On top of that, the wind chill took a dive below zero on Friday. What could people do?

They pulled together, that’s what they did. And City Impact of Cedar Springs, a brand new outreach center that is a ministry of Resurrection Life Church in Rockford, played a major part in it.

They were slated to have a grand opening that Saturday, February 9, at 288 N. Main St. Instead, they opened their doors on Friday, February 8, as a warming center to serve people in our community. They were also without power, but someone bought them a 10,000 watt generator, and both businesses and citizens stepped up to donate supplies to help those in need. They received cots and blanket from the Red Cross; a woman in Grand Haven made 40 lbs of bbq to feed people; Lean on Me provided food; others donated snacks, fruit, donuts, bottled water, coffee, and more. 

“We had people coming in all night long to get warm and/or to sleep,” said Kelley Bergsma, who runs the center with her husband Jon. “And these weren’t the people we usually serve.” Instead, she said that a lot of the people they usually serve were in the center serving others. “It’s just amazing the way we came together as a community,” she said.

About 50 people spent the night that Friday at the center. But the volunteers didn’t wait for people to come to them. Several of them walked the dark streets of Cedar Springs Friday night, looking for any house that might have a candle or flicker of light in the window. That’s how they found a 100-year-old woman sitting in the dark, with only her four burners on the stove for warmth. They then brought her to the center. 

They closed the center on Sunday after most of the area’s power came back on.

Others in the area also showed compassion in various ways. As power slowly came back on, some posted on social media that their homes were open for those that needed to get warm or take a shower. One area hair salon offered free shampooing. 

At the time, Bergsma told the Post that she is still in awe of what happened in our community. “It was amazing seeing the entire community come together to help those in need,” she said.

This apartment fire at Red Flannel Acres left seven families homeless. Post photo by J. Reed.

Disaster struck again on August 13, when a fire at the Red Flannel Acres apartments on Oak Court in the City of Cedar Springs left seven families homeless. 

According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser, the call came in at 4:31 p.m. that there was smoke in the building, and the second tone said that there were flames showing through the roof. 

Cedar Springs, Sand Lake, and Solon Fire Departments were on scene, and they called for Sparta’s aerial truck to help douse the flames of the two-story building. Courtland was on standby to take any Cedar Springs calls while they were busy fighting the fire. It was later determined that a discarded cigarette had started the fire.

The Springs Church and City Impact stepped up to help families affected by the devastating event, by offering them dinner, a place to go and make phone calls, collect themselves, talk to a social worker, and even sleep. The Red Cross was also on scene. Lean on Me Outreach and North Kent Connect were on site at City Impact to help provide people with food and other essentials. City Impact then compiled a list of needs and has posted it on their Facebook page. They worked with the displaced residents to make sure all their needs were met.

Bergsma is happy with what City Impact accomplished this year. “This was our first year in operation with our completed building, and this building has helped us organize and focus our outreach into the community,” she explained. “We believe that a large impact was made through the many relationship building activities and programs that we offer through the center. We believe this is just the beginning, and we are going to continue to see the Cedar Springs community come together and be an example to other communities of what working together looks like. We welcome 2020 with open arms and we cannot say it enough—Cedar Springs you rock!”

We have many great resources in our community. A big thank you goes out to City Impact for the way they have become a catalyst and hub to help all of these organizations work together. They hold all kinds of events and programs for the public, including Celebrate Recovery!,exercise classes, community meals, and more. For more info check them out on Facebook. Just type in City Impact Cedar Springs.

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Community rallies to Breakthrough events

Many people here in Cedar Springs had never heard of the miraculous true story behind the movie Breakthrough, until last weekend. That’s when they not only got to see the movie, which is a Fox/Disney production now out on DVD—but they got to meet the real life characters as well.

L to R: Pastor Jason Noble, John Smith, and his mother, Joyce Smith shared their story with the audience at the Breakthrough events. Courtesy photos

The movie tells the story of the miraculous recovery of 14-year-old John Smith, who fell through the ice on a lake in St. Louis, Missouri in 2015. He was underwater for 15 minutes—and had no pulse for an hour. It was then that his mother prayed for Jesus to send his Holy Spirit and bring her boy back to life—and he did. But that was just the beginning of an amazing story.

A group of community leaders here in Cedar Springs wanted to give people the opportunity to see the movie and hear this inspirational story, so they created a weekend of events and brought the three main real life characters from the movie here to tell their story.

Last weekend’s Breakthrough events totaled almost 1,000 attendees. The events were coordinated by a Breakthrough Committee comprised of representatives from En Gedi, City Impact, Resurrection Life Church Rockford, and The Springs Church along with additional support from numerous community members, businesses, and organizations. 

The first of three events took place at the new community amphitheater located in the downtown Heart of Cedar Springs Park just west of the Community Library on Saturday evening. City Impact’s monthly worship service began at 5 p.m. A free roasted pig and hot dog dinner followed the service for the estimated 600 folks gathered. 

“It was a heart-warming site to witness the many community members and families sitting on blankets and lawn chairs surrounding the amphitheater and visiting with each other under perfect weather conditions,” said Sue Wolfe, and En Gedi representative working on the Breakthrough committee. “I believe this is exactly what was envisioned by all those who worked so hard on making the amphitheater a reality. Having this facility and working in partnership with existing organizations to provide free community-building events is part of En Gedi’s mission.” 

While waiting for the darkness to fall and the movie to begin, three of the real people featured in the movie Breakthrough spoke with the crowd and answered questions. A tapestry of miracles unfolded following John Smith’s accident, which were beautifully articulated by John, his mother Joyce Smith, and their then pastor, Jason Noble. John shared his story of struggling with being adopted, being rescued and brought back to life, and the loss of his opportunity to be a collegiate basketball player. Both his mother and pastor also shared their challenges and victories. 

“Our community is so fortunate to actually have three of the real people from this top ranked movie here to share their personal testimony. John is in his first year of college; Joyce has had some health issues; and Pastor Jason now lives in Oregon. Yet, they coordinated their schedules with a commitment to be here and share their walk of faith,” said Julie Wheeler, who was instrumental in making this connection and part of the Breakthrough Committee. 

Once it became dark enough and just prior to the start of the movie, the crowd paused, stood, and applauded in recognition and thanks for our local fire, rescue, and police officers. The movie features a heroic rescue by the St. Louis area fire, rescue, and police departments that set the stage to be reminded of the men and women who serve our community each and every day. 

The movie was then played on the 22-foot inflatable movie screen, donated by City Manager Michael Womack and his wife, Glenna. 

Sunday’s journey began with two worship services at Resurrection Life Church Rockford featuring Pastor Noble and the Smiths. After that, events took place at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Cedar Springs High School Auditorium, which included showing the movie, personal presentations, and the opportunity to ask questions. Ladies and Men of Honor, a partner with En Gedi, were on hand to share information about their faith-based program of developing honorable ladies and men. 

City Impact co-directors, Kelley Jo and Jonathan Bergsma, along with Sally Hart, Resurrection Life Church Rockford member, and Pastor Craig Owens, Executive Director for En Gedi’s free after-school youth center, were all instrumental with their leadership on the Breakthrough Team as well as securing funding and resources. 

“It was definitely a team effort to bring these events to Cedar Springs, which is what City Impact is all about,” explained Kelley Jo. “City Impact is an outreach organization for our community. I am grateful for all the businesses, organizations, and people who jumped in to help over the past weekend.” 

The Springs Church provided movie-goers with popcorn and had offered their fellowship hall as a back-up in the case of inclement weather on Saturday. Cherryl Rosenberger, The Springs Church office manager, also served on the Breakthrough Committee. 

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Outreach center holds ribbon cutting

City Impact of Cedar Springs held their ribbon cutting last weekend. Photo from City Impact facebook page.

City Impact of Cedar Springs held their ribbon cutting and building dedication last Saturday, February 16, at 288 N. Main Street.

The event was originally scheduled for February 9 but was rescheduled due to the power outages from the winter storm. Instead, City Impact served as a warming station last weekend for many residents in the area who did not have power.

The building, located next to Dollar General, has been completely renovated. Someone who liked what Jonathan and Kelley Bergsma and their team have been doing here in Cedar Springs bought the building for City Impact in 2017.

City Impact, which is affiliated with Resurrection Life Church in Rockford, has been working in the area for three years. “We work with Lean on Me Outreach Center to meet the needs of the community through delivering groceries to neighbors who are shut in or in tough circumstances that leave them without transportation,” explained Kelley. “We desire to build relationships and meet felt needs within the community through community dinners, engaging kids and families through Super Saturdays, grilling out, playing games and more.”

For more information, contact City Impact at 616-843-2438 and follow City Impact of Cedar Springs on Facebook.

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Community Outreach Center opens doors

By Judy Reed

City Impact, a newer community outreach program in Cedar Springs, is celebrating the opening of its new center at 288 N. Main Street with a dedication and ribbon cutting this Saturday, February 9, at 4:30 p.m.

Owners Jonathan and Kelley Bergsma have been serving the City of Cedar Springs for three years. 

“We work with Lean on Me Outreach Center to meet the needs of the community through delivering groceries to neighbors who are shut in or in tough circumstances that leave them without transportation,” explained Kelley. “We desire to build relationships and meet felt needs within the community through community dinners, engaging kids and families through Super Saturdays, grilling out, playing games and more.”

As the Bergsmas served the community and their outreach grew and became more focused, they realized they needed a meeting space.

“This Community Center will be a space to learn and grow together,” said Kelley. “We will hold a variety of classes. As of right now we offer Celebrate Recovery Meetings, Bible study, and this will be a safe place for youth to come in for a game or a listening ear. We have loved getting the community involved in serving as this building project has been a huge undertaking—taking a building and re-building it to make it useful to the community as a welcome center, a place to grow and enrich each others lives! We hope to have some after school programs in place too.”

City Impact is affiliated with Resurrection Life Church in Rockford. They also partner with other churches, Cedar Springs Schools, and other community resource partners. “Our goal and desire is to work alongside every resource in this town to make a bigger impact,” noted Kelley.

 For more information, contact City Impact at 616-843-2438.

See their ribbon cutting ad on page 6.

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