The Tribune is featuring one local nonprofit's story, Extended Grace, in hopes of generating “wish lists” from other local such organizations (see below).
Extended Grace was launched in 2015 with a mission to create a stigma-free community. It operates The Momentum Center at 714 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven, which offers social and recreational opportunities for people with mental illness, addiction and disabilities.
“You don't need a referral or clinical diagnosis,” Extended Grace Executive Director Barbara Lee VanHorssen said. “You can just be going through a rough time.”
The Momentum Center offers multiple support groups for disabilities and addictions, yoga, meditation, exercise, baking classes, a pool table, air hockey, and Wii games.
“We take outings at least once a week to a movie, grocery shopping or bowling,” VanHorssen said. “At least once a month, we go someplace farther, like to an orchard, Frederik Meijer Gardens or the zoo.”
In August, Extended Grace added a teen program.
Extended Grace also operates the Just Goods Gifts and Cafe inside The Momentum Center. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and 12-3 p.m. Sundays. The gift shop features fair trade items from around the world, as well as items made by people with disabilities and inmates connected to Humanity for Prisoners.
“We have cookies and coffee, and all cafe items are $1,” VanHorssen said. “There aren't many places where you can get a coffee for a buck. It's a space for social integration. Anything we raise there goes to support The Momentum Center.”
Extended Grace also hosts “community conversations” throughout the year on topics such as mental illness, social justice and human rights. The last Friday of every month, the center hosts a free dinner and movie night for anyone who wants to show up.
“We also lead cultural immersion experiences around the world,” VanHorssen said. “They're not vacation trips or mission trips, but an opportunity to learn about different people, cultures and customs. Our hope is this becomes an income stream for greater stability.”
In other words, you can help Extended Grace by experiencing the world.
“Anybody who is open-minded and wants to experience a new culture and take the time and cost out of their lives is welcome,” she said. “We've been to China, Tibet, Egypt, Kenya and Honduras.”
VanHorssen said the holidays typically bring more people to The Momentum Center, creating a greater need in all areas.
“We're getting another influx of people right now, I think because of the loneliness the holidays can bring,” she said.
Want to help this holiday season? Call 616-414-9111 or send a check or money order to (or drop off items at) Extended Grace, 714 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.
Here's the Extended Grace “wish list”:
— Travelers to join future cultural immersion trips
— Volunteers at The Momentum Center
— Class leaders (teach about your hobby or interests)
— Committee members
— Copy paper, envelopes and stamps
— Toilet paper, paper towels, tissues and napkins
— AA and AAA batteries
— A gardener
— Baking supplies
— Storage totes
— Jewelry display stands
— New doors
— Gift cards for gas, groceries and printing services
— Another set of Wii remotes
If you represent a local nonprofit, please email your holiday needs to [email protected] no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. We will publish the list in an upcoming edition of the Tribune. Include your organization's full name, address, mission, holiday needs and instructions for people to donate.