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Old Newsletters:
August 2004
March 2004
October 2003
August 2003
March 2003
October 2002

Newsletter March 2005



Scholarship Fund Offers New Donation Option

Dear Friends,

Education opens doors to employment. At the Open Door & Next Door we encourage guests to complete high school or obtain the GED. In addition, we encourage vocational training leading to specific careers as a step-up from minimum-wage jobs.

A number of our guests have completed certified nurse aide training, cosmetology courses, and short-term certificate programs at local community colleges, such as welding, plastics, and construction trades.

This training has led to better-paying jobs. However, it can be difficult for our guests who are saving money for housing costs to also come up with money for tuition and education expenses.

Therefore the Board of Directors has created a Scholarship Fund to assist guests with tuition, textbooks, and related educational expenses. Donations are needed to establish this fund.

If you would like to help get this fund started to enable guests to prepare themselves for better jobs, please send your contribution to the Open Door and Next Door Shelters with a note that it is for the Scholarship Fund. Thank you for your generosity.

- Jari Foster Pulford
President, Board of Directors

Churches & groups adopt rooms,
Some rooms still available for adoption

New Building Will Offer Apartments
for Residence Program for Workers

Last year we launched our new residence program for working people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Many churches and civic groups prepared the rooms in two houses for the new program.

Thanks to a generous anonymous gift we have been able to buy a third building for this program: a 4– unit apartment building at 419 S. Park. All 4 units are one-bedroom apartments with wood floors.

In April we hope to get the apartments cleaned, fixed up, painted, and furnished. We hope to move Residence Program participants into the building in May.

Six churches have adopted rooms so far. We still have bathrooms and kitchens available for adoption.

Douglas & Sons is donating paint for these rooms and West Michigan Plumbing & Heating is donating and installing new toilets, sinks, and plumbing fixtures throughout the building.

Churches or groups interested in an April project of painting, cleaning and furnishing a room to help low-wage workers in our community have good places to live are invited to contact us.

Jari Foster Pulford, our Board President ((269) 731-4258, jaripulford@aol.com.)

Mike Childress, Open Door and Residence Program director ((269) 343-6064, odshelter@charterinternet.com).

Housing Veteran Mike Childress Joins Staff
to Lead the Open Door & Residence Program for Workers

Mike grew up in Chicago and went to college on a football scholarship at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he graduated with a degree in Special Education. He has a certificate in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling from Harold Washington College in Chicago.

After teaching and managing group homes, Mike served for six years as Director of Administration at the LA Family Housing Corporation Valley Shelter in North Hollywood, California. He has worked as an outreach worker and supervisor in programs for chronically mentally ill adults and for young sex offenders. Mike came to Kalamazoo to support his aging parents who have now passed away, and to care for a brother with special needs. Since coming to Kalamazoo, Mike has managed the Supportive and Transitional Housing Programs and the Family Shelter of Housing Resources, Inc. Most recently Mike has been with Goodwill Industries as a job developer for “welfare to work” program participants.

Mike will serve on our staff as the Director of the Open Door, our shelter for young men. He will also be our property manager and will direct our new Residence Program for Working People.

We Welcome Barb Patterson as New Business Manager

Barb Patterson has come on board to handle the business and financial tasks of our ministry. She graduated from WMU with a Bachelor of Business Administration. She served as the Manager of Accounting for a local printing company for 19 years before joining the staff at Haven Reformed Church in Kalamazoo where she supervises the office and custodial staff, food service, volunteers and general administration. She also serves as Treasurer for the Classis of Southwest Michigan. The classis is a regional body of 25 Reformed Churches.

Kevin Holley Elected to Board;
Wayne Conner, Louise Jameson Retire

Rev. Kevin Holley, Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, was elected to the Board of Directors at the board’s January meeting. We are grateful for Kevin’s willingness to serve. We are also grateful for four years of faithful service from our retiring members Rev. Wayne Conner, Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo and Treasurer Louise Jameson, Office Manager of Ullrey & Co. and member of Westwood United Methodist Church.

Giving Thanks for Guest Successes
and Adequate Financial Support for 2004

We give thanks for success in the lives of several guests. One young woman has advanced to a wage of $12.03 per hour in fulltime work. She has taken care of some financial problems from the past, stayed drug-free, and is now ready to move into her own place. Other guests have played leadership roles in the recent annual convention of Narcotics Anonymous. A previous guest at the Open Door and a house leader in our Residence Program has moved up to a new job on the staff of Ministry with Community and was elected first President of the Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network, a group of homeless people and friends who work on issues of concern to homeless people in Kalamazoo.

We also give thanks for the hundreds of individuals, 40 churches, the Dorothy U. Dalton, Irving S. Gilmore, Gary Sisters, and Kalamazoo Community Foundations, and grant programs of the City of Kalamazoo, the State of Michigan, and the US government for making it possible to pay all but $2,000 of our costs in 2004. Sincere thanks to all who made this possible. Thanks to you we provided 3,800 nights of shelter, over 10,000 meals, and countless hours of support that our guests turned into real and important progress in their own lives.

Open Door & Next Door Approved
for “Donor Choice” Option
in 2005 United Way Campaign

The Open Door and Next Door Shelters has been determined to be eligible for Participant Agency status in the United Way campaign in Kalamazoo this fall.

In organizations that choose to conduct an expanded Donor Choice campaign, Open Door & Next Door Shelters will be listed in campaign materials. We are eligible to receive
donor contributions made through the designation process.

In the most recent United Way campaign we received $3,312 through donor designations. Questions? Contact Rick Stravers at (269) 343-6064 or shelter@mei.net.

Don’t forget to cut your Michigan income taxes by claiming your contributions to the Open Door & Next Door Shelters under the Homeless Shelter/Food Bank credit (MI-1040, Line 22). Claim your gifts to our endowment fund at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation under the community foundation credit (MI-1040, Line 22).

Need temporary shelter & help to get on your feet?
You can contact us seven days a week between 3 pm and 9:30 pm.
Young men: call the Open Door at (269) 345-1431.
Young women: call the Next Door at (269) 349-2119.

Are you working but still find it hard to get or keep a place to live?
Contact us at (269) 345-1431 or (269) 343-6064 to learn about our Residence Program for Working People.


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