“I am a happy and whole woman. I have choices and the confidence and tools to make them wisely. The freedom and peace I live with now is utterly priceless to me.”
~ WRCNM client and survivor
Nearly four decades ago a group of nine women took action to create an organization that would fill a void in social services needs in northern Lower Michigan for women and children. From those roots grew an organization that has continued to expand and today offers a wide array of services to clients in a five-county region.
In 2017 the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) celebrates 40 years of providing essential and unique services to women, children and individuals in northern Lower Michigan. Most of the services that were instituted in 1977 are still being offered and utilized today.
Over the years, the organization has grown in response to community need and currently provides programs in five counties including Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego. The wide variety of services offered are designed to nurture health and well-being, advocate for positive solutions in crisis situations, promote individual empowerment, facilitate personal growth and life-long learning and link individuals to community resources.
Outside of its staff, many community members are also actively involved with WRCNM as volunteers and donors.
Some of the many services WRCNM offers include:
• The Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program provides survivor services such as a 24/7 crisis and information line, counseling, support groups and advocacy including medical, legal, financial and housing needs. These services are confidential and provided to survivors at no charge.
• Educational and Employment Services (EES) helps people with job search assistance, career guidance and advising, GED information, financial assistance, advocacy and referrals. The Working Wardrobe program helps provide professional clothing for individuals to interview proudly or start a new job with confidence.
• The organization offers free community playgroups to parents and their children ages birth to 5 years; an opportunity for parents to participate in fun activities with their children and network with other parents. A group facilitator provides parents with support and resources on topics that include child development, discipline, age-appropriate toys and parenting skills. Playgroups are held weekly in Alanson, Boyne City, Central Lake, East Jordan and Petoskey.
• Children’s Learning Center provides area families with a fully-licensed child care facility offering quality educational programming for children ages 2½ to 10 years. The center offers year around programming for both preschool and school-age children, as well as a summer program for school-age children. Project FREE preschool is a state-funded school readiness program for four-year-olds. Certified teachers focus on building students’ social and academic skills for a smooth transition into kindergarten.
• Gold Mine Resale Shop on Emmet Street in Petoskey was opened in 1981 to help support WRCNM programming; a second Petoskey store was established on US-31 North in 2008. The stores provide community members with gently-used, affordable goods, while the proceeds from the sale of those goods help support the organization. The Gold Mine stores also provide thousands of dollars in vouchers every year to survivors of domestic abuse and to those who have had house fires or have just found themselves needing a hand up.
• The organization conducts violence prevention training programs for law enforcement, schools, emergency responders, medical professionals, organizations and businesses based on awareness, education and prevention.
• The 100 Men Campaign, launched several years ago, invites men to become more involved in the movement to end violence against women and children.
WRCNM is currently working collaboratively with other community partners to establish a Children’s Advocacy Center in the future to meet the needs of child abuse and child sexual assault survivors in an environment that is child-sensitive, supportive and safe.
WRCNM Executive Director, Gail Kloss, said the organization is proud of its history and poised for the future, “As the community has embraced the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan over the years, we embrace the journey ahead.”
For more information, call the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan’s main office at (231) 347-0067 or visit www.wrcnm.org. The 24-hour crisis and information line may be reached at 231-347-0082 or 1-800-275-1995.
Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan: timeline
- Feb. 23 – A public meeting chaired by Martha Drake was attended by almost 100 women at North Central Michigan College.
- Nancy Stewart was named as the WRCNM’s first full-time, paid director. A CETA grant enabled the WRCNM to hire a staff of three.
- Jan Mancinelli, was hired as WRCNM Executive Director to replace Nancy Stewart who resigned.
- 24-hour crisis line established.
- WRCNM received its first grant from the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
- January – “shelter home” opened in a rental property.
- Displaced Homemaker Program initiated to assist women returning to the workforce after an extended absence.
- July – WRCNM/NCMC partner providing tuition assistance to single parents and displaced homemakers.
- August – Gold Mine Resale Shop opened in a rental storefront in response to constant demand for “shelter home” operating capitol. The store becomes “financial backbone” of the “shelter home.”
- July –Safe Home property and building was purchased for cash from Gold Mine Resale reveune and a private foundation donation -- no mortgage was taken.
- October – Rape/Sexual Assault Services begin.
- Children’s Learning Center (CLC) started with funds from Child Care Grant.
- June – “Gold nuggets” were sold to raise funds to purchase WRCNM Gold Mine building on Emmet Street, Petoskey.
- WRCNM’s Safe House was the eighth busiest domestic violence shelter in the state of Michigan.
- Safe Home Harvest Food and Supply Drive brought in more than $8,000 in donations.
- Funding reductions from the state resulted in the trimming of Sexual Assault services and the loss of one counselor.
- Volunteers were crucial and almost totally staffed the Gold Mine; helped provide child care at CLC; were the backbone at Safe House; worked at administrative offices; ran personal growth groups; cut, chopped and stacked wood; planted and tended the garden and performed maintenance.
- July – WRCNM was awarded first Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant.
- Porter Street building waspurchased to house CLC and counseling services. A house and 26 acres in Charlevoix County were donated to the WRCNM. The property was sold and the mortgage on the Porter Street building was paid off within 3 months.
- January – WRCNM received first Project FREE preschool grant.
- May – WRCNM helped establish a local chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in Petoskey.
- May – Nancy Stewart, a WRCNM founder, retired and Chris Krajewski was hired as Domestic Abuse Program Director.
- March – WRCNM opened office in Cheboygan.
- April – WRCNM helped sponsor the first Non-Traditional Career Day for high school girls.
- November – Jan Mancinelli re-elected president of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV).
- June – Safe Home received a “special tribute” from Governor James Blanchard in honor of its 10th birthday.
- October –Petoskey’s Business and Professional Women’s organization named Jan Mancinelli “Woman of the Year.”
- November – WRCNM literally burned the mortgage of the now paid-for Gold Mine South building.
- July – WRCNM won Liberty Bell Award from the Emmet-Charlevoix County Bar Association.
- September – WRCNM administrative offices relocated from North Central Michigan College to renovated Porter Street Office. Capital drive funded $225,000 of the $320,000 cost.
- October 31 – Emmet County’s Domestic Violence Policy went into effect.
- February – WRCNM began to offer substance abuse counseling and Substance Abuse Program started in April.
- May – WRCNM opened Gaylord Office.
- October – Toll-free number established for crisis calls.
- December – WRCNM received Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Mission Award.
- Violence Against Women Act passed, marking the first Federal legislation to direct funding to domestic abuse programs, nationwide.
- December – WRCNM toll-free number connected to the national hotline for victims of sexual assault. Calls within our service area made to 1-800-656-HOPE were routed to our crisis line.
- WRCNM Domestic Abuse Handbook was published, written by counselors Michelle Juntunen, Suzann Binkley and Dana Stempky. The handbook was selected by the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board to use as the official book on the State’s web site.
- Jan Mancinelli, WRCNM Executive Director, won the Athena Award from the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce.
- WRCNM received first Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities designation.
- M.E.R.I.T. (Motivation, Esteem & Respect in Teens) program started with cooperation from area schools, designed for girls ages 11-15.
- WRCNM Domestic Abuse Handbook was published, written by counselors Michelle Juntunen, Suzann Binkley and Dana Stempky.
- Families First Project contract awarded to the WRCNM from the State of Michigan.
- January – WRCNM opened office at the Mancelona Family Resource Center.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP grant allowed WRCNM to expand services.
- May – WRCNM awarded designation as an exemplary program by Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board (MDVPTB).
- October – WRCNM expanded Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) program.
- December – Just The Facts, a sexual assault prevention program for high school students, was initiated.
- Chris Krajewski won Apple Blossom Award from Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV).
- November – Jan Mancinelli elected president of the MCADSV.
- First annual Women Can/Women Do Luncheon raised $15,000 for WRCNM programs and services.
- May – Nancy Stewart, first WRCNM executive director, received Unsung Heroine Award from The Michigan Women’s Commission.
- Domestic Abuse counselor, Brooke Oliver, won local Crime Victims Award from the Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office.
- July – Jan Mancinelli won Apple Blossom Award from MCADSV.
- November – Jamie Winters won Shera Award from MCADSV.
- February – A $50,000 grant from the state kicked off a capital campaign to raise $350,000 to make additions and renovations to Safe Home.
- April – Brooke Oliver won state Outstanding Advocate Award from the Crime Victims Foundation.
- December – AOD program earned designation as “Women’s Specialty Provider” from Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services (NMSAS).
- June 1 – One million dollars for the WRCNM was permanently endowed in the Petoskey/Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation.
- June – Chris Krajewski won the Crime Victim Service Award.
- November - WRCNM established second Gold Mine Resale Shop, north of Petoskey in a rented building.
- WRCNM reached out to men in the community to provide them with a way to engage in the movement to end violence against women and girls in the first 100 Men Campaign. In response to the campaign, 125 men pledged to take a public stand and donated $100 each to fund local awareness, educational and prevention initiatives.
- April - WRCNM purchased Gold Mine North building at 1878 US-31 North, Petoskey.
- February - WRCNM celebrated 35 years of providing critical, quality programs and services to women, children and families in the five counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego.
- June - WRCNM Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program Director, Chris Krajewski, received the 2013 Award for Outstanding Advocacy and Community Work in Ending Violence Against Women by the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
- November - Website pages dedicated to sharing information and resources via the 100 Men Campaign were launched at http://www.wrcnm.org/100-men-campaign.
- February - WRCNM Executive Director, Jan Mancinelli, recieved a State of Michigan Special Tribute to recognize her commitment and service to the community.
- May - Gold Mine Boutique, an online store for a variety of vintage, antique, collectible and unique items was launched with assistance from marketing students at North Central Michigan College.
- June - At the annual Char-Em United Way celebration/allocations breakfast, WRCNM Executive Director, Jan Mancinelli, was awarded the John Newton Award for her work and actions which have significantly enhanced health and human services in Emmet and Charlevoix counties.
- November - WRCNM hosted the first annual Tribute! Awards to celebrate outstanding women, young women and men in the community. The fundraiser was held at Stafford's Perry Hotel with support from title sponor, The Bank of Northern Michigan, and other local businesses and individuals.
- May - Jan Mancinelli retired as WRCNM executive director.
- May - Gail Kloss was named WRCNM executive director.
- June - Leadership Star Award was presented to Jan Mancinelli for her professional and community contributions. The award is part of Leadership Little Traverse, a program of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Children's Learning Center and Project FREE preschool earned a top, Five Star Quality Rating through Great Start to Quality.
- WRCNM observed 40 years of continuous, uninterrupted services in northern Lower Michigan.
- May/June-more than $40,000 was raised in 40 days to help build the WRCNM’s Endowment Fund; a permanent legacy that ultimately benefits those seeking and needing WRCNM services by providing a solid financial base in a world of uncertain revenue streams.
- August-Women Can/Women Do-Otsego County was added as the fourth luncheon fundraiser location; other WCWD fundraisers are held in Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties.