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Tag Archive | "volunteers"

The Light of Christmas


By Tom Noreen


Victoria Merlington, (owner of The Barn Vintage Décor and Consignment shop), and 35 volunteers brought “The Light of Christmas” to the residents of Cedar Springs Mobile Estates on December 14. Hundreds turned out as the group treated the community to a live nativity, a chili bar with macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and cookies galore. Teachers led the singing of Christmas Carols. Care packages of food were passed out to the elderly that couldn’t make the event and gifts were given to all of the kids.

N-Christmas-CS-Mobile-estates2-webBoth community members and businesses offered donations of money, food, gifts, and volunteers and time to make this 1st annual Light of Christmas possible. Over 450 gifts were collected.

With the success of this event, that of putting a smile on a child’s face and showing them the love of Christ, Victoria is planning an Easter event as well and some summer events as well. She said, “Our plan is to continue loving on this neighborhood.”


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Help protect habitat at state parks

Volunteers needed to remove garlic mustard


Residents are invited to enjoy spring weather, flower blooms and the outdoors at Michigan state parks, and do some good at the same time.

The Department of Natural Resources recently announced the schedule of May volunteer steward activities at state parks in southwest Michigan. Volunteers are needed to help remove garlic mustard, an invasive, non-native plant that grows in the forest understory. This invasive weed crowds out native wildflower populations, like trillium and bloodroot, and can spread rapidly if not kept under control. Removal is similar to weeding a garden and it’s an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors.

Dates, times and locations (counties) of group workdays are:

Saturday, May 3; P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon), noon to 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 4;  Holland State Park (Ottawa County), 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 10; Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday, May 17; Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday, May 18; Ludington State Park (Mason County), 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 31; Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County),10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work (including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes) and are asked to bring gloves and drinking water.

Volunteers are also able to work on an individual basis pulling, mapping and locating garlic mustard populations. Large groups are asked to register using the forms available on the DNR website. Please contact Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360 or freih@michigan.gov for registration or questions about the volunteer steward workdays.



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Volunteers needed for Resurrection Celebration

ENT-ResurrectionCelebration-logo-2Resurrection Celebration, a Cedar Springs community production celebrating the good news of the Easter story, is back for 2014 and is still in need of volunteers. We would love to have you join us! There are many positions to fill, including men, women and families to be part of the Biblical crowd scenes, ushers, childcare workers and food coordinators. The shows will be April 19 at 2 and 7 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School. If you would like to help out in some way, meet at The Springs Church, 135 N. Grant Street, this Sunday, March 30, from 2-4 p.m. or contact Cherryl and Jan at resurrectioncelebration@outlook.com.


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Volunteers needed for Resurrection Celebration


Resurrection Celebration, a community production celebrating the good news of the Easter story, is back for 2014 and is still in need of volunteers. We would love to have you join us! There are many positions to fill, including stage parts, singers, back stage help, costumes, ticket takers, and many other areas. We have just the spot for you! Join us this Sunday, March 16, at 2 p.m. for a meeting at the Springs Church, 135 N. Grant Street. Come and help us tell the Easter story! For more information, contact Cherryl Rosenberger at cherrylbear@hotmail.com.


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A Royal Salute—Celebrating 75 years of volunteers

N-Red-flannel-75-webThe 75th diamond anniversary Red Flannel Festival presents new 2014 events

The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors recently revealed a slate of new and exciting events to celebrate the 75th Red Flannel Festival, taking place October 4, 2014.

The theme this year is “A Royal Salute! Celebrating 75 Years of Volunteers!” “We’re so grateful to have this beautiful logo designed by local artist, Doris Vinton, winner of last year’s RFF Art Review,” said Brynadette Powell, Festival Trustee.

One thing the board plans to do is have additional events throughout the year.

“The board has added many events in the last few years and boasts over 4,500 fans on our Facebook page,” said President Michele Tracy-Andres. “This board is extremely dedicated to ensuring the Red Flannel Festival is the biggest and best ever! Our goal is to have Red Flannel Town events monthly leading up to Red Flannel Day, Oct. 4, 2014. We’re proud of all of the volunteers over the past 75 years who have made this a nationally recognized, quality event.”

The Festival continues to expand its advertising portfolio with the addition of billboards to advertise this year’s events. Again this year, the Festival has partnered with WLAV, 96.9 FM in Grand Rapids, for radio commercials; and an expanded number of television commercials will begin on FOX 17 in September. The beautiful, 32-page full color “Official Red Flannel Press” will be distributed in August, thanks to Festival Business Patron Sponsors and “Friends of the Festival,” a donor program designed exclusively for individuals.

New this year, the Festival will debut the Scottville Clown Band in the Grand Parade, with a concert after the Parade in the Grand Lodge. “This is a fantastic, entertaining group we’ve been trying for years to have come to the Festival,” said Andres. A large volunteer picnic, to celebrate all Festival volunteers past and present will be held in August.

The Festival is excited and proud to have partnered with Rob Bliss, from Rob Bliss Creative in Grand Rapids, to film a “Red Flannel Town Lip Dub” during the 2014 Grand Parade. “Rob is nationally known for his creativity and we’re thrilled he’s part of the 75th Anniversary celebration,” said Andres.

Bliss did the Grand Rapids Lip Dub a few years ago, which got over five million views on youtube and brought a lot of positive attention to Grand Rapids. He most recently did the homeless veteran time lapse for a non-profit organization, and that received over 16 million views, and raised $60,000 for his client.

A Red Flannel Town House Decorating Contest with cash prizes, is also new for 2014, as well as a Spaghetti dinner. A Princess for a Day event will be held as a fundraiser for the Queen Scholarship Fund.

Back by popular demand are The Lumberjacks! After a 2 year hiatus, The American Lumberjack Show will again make an appearance for an interactive show for the 75th Anniversary!

Due to last years’ success, The Red Flannel Wine and Microbrew Tasting event, Art Review, Firefighter Parade, and Trolley to provide transportation to Festival-goers will also return.

“Of course, the traditional events are still in place,” said Andres. “The Car & Tractor Shows, Museum Open House, Rotary Chicken BBQ, Lion’s Lumberjack Supper, Queen Scholarship Pageant, Bed Races and Grand Parade are wonderful traditions.” For a full schedule of events, or to download event applications, visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

The Festival was granted 501c3 non-profit status and all donations are tax deductible. The Festival is an independent, all volunteer organization with volunteer openings for individuals, families and groups to be involved. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information on how to donate, volunteer or get involved with the Red Flannel Festival, call 616-696-2662 or visit www.redflannelfestival.org.



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No one dies alone


Hospice of Michigan volunteers sit vigil during patient’s final moments

After caring for her sick mother for months, doctors tell Stacey that her mother’s death is approaching.  Stacey’s focus has shifted from finding a cure for her mother to making sure she’s comfortable and that she doesn’t die alone. Stacey finds herself overwhelmed. Her grieving process has already begun and while she spends countless hours at her mother’s bedside, she fears she might not be there during the final moments.

“When it’s apparent that a patient has reached the end of life, it becomes very important to family and friends that the patient has support through the dying process,” says Kathy Julien, volunteer services manager at Hospice of Michigan. “It is our goal that a patient never dies alone. To achieve this, we have an incredibly compassionate and dedicated team of volunteers who go anywhere a patient is and ‘sit vigil’ during the final days and hours.”

HOM typically sends vigil volunteers for a two- to four-hour time frame. Volunteers play music, read inspirational readings or scripture, light candles, hold the patient’s hand, pray with the patient or just talk about the day. Julien says that in addition to sitting vigil with the dying when their family can’t be there, volunteers often sit alongside loved ones to offer comfort, reassurance and a shoulder to cry on.

“This isn’t a new concept,” Julien explains. “People have been sitting vigil with the dying for centuries. Traditionally, family, friends and clergymen would gather around the dying person to offer comfort and support to the patient and to each other.”

Julien explains that when people begin actively dying, their sense of sound is the last sense to go. While they may be unresponsive or appear unconscious, it’s very possible the patient can still hear what’s happening around them. In addition to creating a peaceful and comforting surrounding, sitting vigil is also the time to reassure patients that they are not alone, it’s okay to go and that their family will learn to cope with their passing.

“Hospice of Michigan vigil volunteers are very special and important people,” Julien says. “Most volunteers feel it’s a privilege to be with someone during the final moments in life. There is a love they have for their patients and this shows in the way they care for them and interact with their families.”

All prospective HOM volunteers go through a 12-hour training course where they learn more about HOM, the principles of hospice, the grieving process and how to help patients, families and staff. There’s an optional three-hour grief support session that, while not required, is recommended.  Julien explains that vigil volunteers also receive direction on:

Recognizing the signs that a patient is actively dying

Talking with the patient to provide comfort

When and when not to comfort patients through the physical touch of hand holding, rubbing their arms, etc.

Comforting family and friends and sharing details and stories from time spent with the patient

“When someone accepts that their loved one will die, their fear of the loved one dying is often replaced by a fear that they will die alone,” adds Julien. “It’s our job to help ease these fears and provide comfort, support and reassurance to patients and their families.”

If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities for Hospice of Michigan or sign up as a volunteer, contact Kathy Julien at 888.247.5701 or kjulien@hom.org.  For those who have experienced a loss, HOM encourages a waiting period of one year before becoming a volunteer in order to allow for processing grief.


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Volunteers clean up city

Eco Club member with her prizes from the creek.

Part of the group that helped clean up the area.

About 50 people turned out Saturday to help clean up Cedar Creek and the surrounding area during the 4th annual Cedar Springs Earth Day celebration.

“All that reported back said that there wasn’t nearly as much trash this year as in previous years,” said City Manager Christine Burns. “I remember the first year we did this (2008), the dumpster was overflowing and we had trash stacked all around it. This year, the dumpster was about ¾ full…I’m glad we are making progress.”

Besides the cleanup, the city also did a drug take back, an e-waste collection, and held a city surplus auction.

Jeff Edwards (back) from SME, the city’s environmental firm, with Bill Burns (front) and a member of the Eco Club (left) working in the creek.

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Annual sturgeon guarding program seeks volunteers

Sturgeon for Tomorrow is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division, to help protect sturgeon from poaching.
Each spring, mature lake sturgeon—a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States—become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake in Cheboygan County for spawning sites in the Black River. Hundreds of volunteers stand guard at these sites during the spawning season, from late April through late May, to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this prized fish.
“For over a decade, the Sturgeon Guarding Program has proven that citizens who watch over the river have greatly reduced poaching and helped ensure the protection and growth of the species,” said Ann Feldhauser, a Department of Natural Resources retiree and the program’s volunteer coordinator. “It’s a unique and rewarding experience – to witness the spectacular sight of these majestic fish, which can live up to 100 years and weigh over 200 pounds, swimming up into the Black River and to take part in safeguarding one of Michigan’s most valuable natural resources.”
When spawning begins, sturgeon guards are assigned to sites along the river in shifts. The volunteers stand watch and, if necessary, use cellular phones provided by Sturgeon for Tomorrow (SFT), to contact DNR conservation officers who are actively patrolling the area in support of the SFT effort.
Various shifts are available for those who wish to get involved, and coordinators will be on-site to assist and answer questions. In addition to guarding the fish, volunteers can also play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see.
Individuals or groups interested in volunteering should contact Ann Feldhauser at 906-201-2484 or register online at www.sturgeonfortomorrow.org.
For those traveling from outside the local area, several hotels, restaurants and Onaway State Park, located on Black Lake, are very close to the critical guarding locations. Volunteers also are encouraged to set up their rustic camp along the banks of the Black River.
Lake sturgeon rehabilitation in the Cheboygan River watershed is a cooperative effort involving the Black Lake Chapter of SFT, the DNR, Michigan State University and Tower-Kleber Limited Partnership. In addition to the guarding program, this effort includes activities such as tagging sturgeon adults and raising young fish for stocking.

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