TLC--Most of us know this stands for "Tender Loving Care" and usually think it's relevant to helping other people who are in need of loving attention. This is the case for Our Hope's TLC Fund, but pertains to helping us give our Main Residence, Carriage House and grounds the care they need to maintain the dignified, home-like environment the women we serve find so important to their recovery. In fact, beyond the personalized treatment each woman receives at Our Hope, we know that they find the comfort, safety and beauty of our environment to be one of the keys to helping them stay in the program. Therefore, it's critical that this environment be kept in a gracious state...that's where the TLC Fund comes in. For an overview of this fund and some of its most pressing projects, please clickhere. However, read on if you'd like to learn more about our historic property and our 40th Anniversary "House of Hope" projects.The Roots of Our Hope's Historic Home
Our Hope resides in an Italianate Victorian house which has the distinction of having sheltered three distinguished Grand Rapids families. It was built in 1880 by John Doornick, one of the founders and partner in Doornick and Steketee, which later developed into one of the most successful family-owned department stores in the Midwest, Paul Steketee & Sons. One of Mr. Doornick's daughters married Henry Idema, a Grand Rapids banker, and lived in the home, then known as Idema Place, from 1895 until 1905. In approximately 1904, Mr. Idema loaned Isaac Wagemaker $5,000 to found the Wagemaker Company and sold him his house, after which time it became known as the Wagemaker House. Mr. Wagemaker went on to make major contributions to the styling and technology of modern office furniture.
The house changed hands several times until it was rented by two women in recovery who couldn't find any place else to live that would support their recovery. They began renting out rooms to other women in recovery and turned it into a halfway house. These women were smart enough to know that they were onto something, but needed help with the business side of things to ensure that this halfway house would survive into the future. In 1972, with significant help from a descendant of one of the house's original owners, Bonnie Idema Welch (later Bryant), Our Hope's Board of Directors was formed and the home was purchased by the new non-profit Our Hope Association. Today, the Main Residence has enough bedrooms to accommodate treatment for 11 women. Two additional women can be accommodated in the handicap-accessible Carriage House, which also houses the Group Therapy Room, laundry facilities and the Clinical Offices.The "House of Hope" Initiative
As you can imagine, it takes a lot to maintain a home built over 130 years ago. Generous donations have helped with this over the last 40 years, but it became more and more difficult to divert scarce funds to household maintenance, not to mention improvement projects over the last few years. Therefore, with initial contributions provided by the Visions of Hope Volunteer Committee (Interested in joining? Click here to let us know!), the TLC Fund was established in 2010.
It became clear that we should do a thorough inventory of the many maintenance and improvement needs that merit funding and the "House of Hope" was introduced to those who attended our "A Gust of Hope" 40th anniversary celebration in October. While a few of the projects received funding as a result of this celebration, there are still many that could benefit from someone willing to provide some "tender loving care". Please take a look at the list of major projects available for funding here. Our most critical need is insulation of the third floor of the Main Residence--$3,000 would cover this and would not only warm up the Arts & Crafts Room for the women, but would help to significantly reduce our overall heating/cooling bills. Another critical project can be seen when you pull into our driveway--it is literally crumbling! $7,200 would enable us to repave the driveway and parking lot, thereby not only making it easier to navigate, but helping us to make a better impression for women who arrive for the first time...you never get a second chance to make a first impression! These are just two of many, many important projects. We sincerely appreciate any help you might be able to provide!