“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
More than 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. Most of the services that were instituted in 1977 are still being offered and utilized today.
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 that position, but stayed with the organization.
- 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 capital. 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 was purchased 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.
- June 1 – One million dollars for the WRCNM was permanently endowed in the Petoskey/Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation.
- October – funding for Transitional Supportive Housing program begins.
- December – AOD program earned designation as “Women’s Specialty Provider” from Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services (NMSAS).
- 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.
- 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.
- WRCNM’s Children’s Advocacy Center was established as a place of hope, healing, and justice for children and families impacted by sexual abuse, physical abuse, and violence. A specially trained forensic interviewer talks to the child about what happened, focused on minimizing trauma and coordinating a response that best meets the needs of the child and family. Family assistance for counseling, advocacy and support services is provided throughout the process.
- A once in a century pandemic threatened the health and well-being of staff, volunteers, clients, and customers and required creativity, innovation, action, and resilience to continue to provide essential services for adult and child survivors of abuse and assault. During this time of challenge and uncertainty, the agency continued the 24-Hour Help and Information Line and Safe Home services without interruption, both critically important during a time of social isolation. Gold Mine Resale stores that help fund our services were temporarily closed. It became concerning as we canceled one, then two, then five major fundraisers that raise dollars to support life-saving and life-changing counseling, advocacy, and therapy services. Adjustments in how services/programs are funded and supporting survivors changed, and for the first time in our history, survivors connected to services virtually.
- WRCNM Assistant Director Deb Smith, after having delayed her retirement to help the agency through the pandemic, retired after 41 years. Smith was fully immersed in the building blocks of the nonprofit: fine-tuning policies, procedures, and safety documentation. She worked collaboratively to support and administer payroll, benefit plans, and team member training/professional development to meet legal and regulatory compliance and grant funding requirements. She helped establish a solid foundation for the agency to continue to meet the changing needs of our northern Michigan community; a wonderful legacy, indeed.
- Andrea Koch is named WRCNM Assistant Director.
- Community Connections group is established providing an opportunity for men to gather and discuss their role in preventing gender-based violence and building safe and thriving communities.
- Haley Schneider was promoted to the new position of Housing and Advocacy Program Director, overseeing Transitional Supportive Housing, Safe Home, and advocacy services.
- WRCNM’s Violence Prevention Program launched the Respect 101 Toolkit for educators to build primary violence prevention tactics in their classrooms.
- WRCNM purchased a 14,356 square foot building in Petoskey as part of an overall plan to create an accessible, efficient and cohesive space with improved trauma-informed services while promoting healing, well-being, and empowerment.
- WRCNM Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program Director Chris Krajewski received a lifetime achievement award from domesticabuseshelters.org
- Ward and Eis Gallery in Petoskey reached a 35-year total of $104,500 donated to WRCNM.
- The Joint Endeavor for Women in Education and Leadership (JEWEL) program and scholarship was established by former WRCNM Board Member Julie Fasone Holder and John Holder to promote education as a resource for empowerment and leadership by providing improved access to resources that address barriers disproportionately faced by women. Participating students attend JEWEL events, complete a student development course, connect monthly with a mentor, and meet regularly with an academic advisor and student success coordinator.
- Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program Director Chris Krajewski retired after 36 years with the agency.