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Guest Blogger: Erika Purcell-Williams, Programs Director

It seems like there’s a new story on the news each evening about someone being in need, some family losing out on an opportunity, or some group struggling to stay in business. Sometimes, it may seem as if we encounter even more people around the holidays that have pretty significant needs or simply need a helping hand. Considering that there are so many organizations throughout our city that seem to help others, the possibility that the economy may have had a larger effect on someone’s wellbeing larger than what we believe, the growing number of people that seem to be in need of something, all the changes that are taking place throughout our neighborhoods…the list could go on… Sometimes, it’s easy to ask the question: “What can I do?”

If you ever find yourself asking that question, just know that there is an actual, solid, proven answer that can bring results every single time, regardless of the length of time that has passed, the type of issue that exists, who is affected by the issue, or the magnitude of the situation.

What is this incredible answer to the long-standing question of “What can I do?”

Simple: volunteer your time.

That’s right; your willingness to give of your time, your skill, and your talents can make a huge impact all throughout Steepletown, throughout the families within our community, and across the city of Grand Rapids. No, you don’t have to open a special boarding school, you don’t have to raise $1,000,000,000 to benefit a charity, you don’t have to conduct ground-breaking research, and you don’t have to go on TV every night to speak about your cause. While all those methods are appreciated, your willingness to simply spend a small amount of time to help out with the programs offered here at Steepletown can open up a world full of possibilities for a person. Maybe you enjoy reading stories to young children, or maybe you rather work one-on-one with a student to help them understand how to solve a math problem. Maybe you’re very good at organizing files and want to get into an office setting…or maybe you rather work in the great outdoors, helping seniors within the community maintain clean yards. Whatever your desire may be, we can create an opportunity for you to invest into the families of Steepletown and help to make this community a better place. Here are a few examples of projects that volunteers have taken on in the past:

– Cleaned up preschool classrooms and helped teachers prepare for the school year by setting up classroom spaces
– Helped with cleaning out storage spaces and getting rid of old files
– Set up a new GED lab through moving computers, furniture, and electrical equipment into a new space
– Tutored students in a variety of subjects (math, science, reading, etc.)
– Met with neighbors and shared information about available programs

Whether spending a full day on Steepletown’s campus or walking around the neighborhood for an hour, the volunteers that gave their time to complete the projects listed above surely made an impact on our community and helped to strengthen the bonds that exist within this area. Their time was valuable and truly made a difference in the lives of others. You have the ability and power to make a difference as well! Consider giving your time and volunteering with Steepletown today.

If you are interested, please contact Erika Purcell-Williams, Program Director, at (616) 451-4215 ext. 116 or via email at One hour of your time may extend a lifetime of possibilities for another person.


Exec. Directors Note:  If your time is limited, you can also get involved by helping donate something on our WISH LISTS from our prior blog “Giving Thanks and Reflections”.  Check it out and see if there is something that catches your eye.