Help hold the hope: Be a part of the wellness movement – Herald Review

Capital campaign for Kiesler Wellness Center drawing to a close, faces funding gap

In just two weeks, earth will be moved on a ground-breaking center to help improve the mental health of the local community.

The Kiesler Wellness Center will be a place where people can find educational support on mental health recovery options, services and employment resources all in one location.

It will offer a centralized space accessible to all local social services and non-profits, promoting more efficiency among service providers and an increase in collaborative relationships – all with the common goal of helping people stop suffering losses due to mental illness symptoms and lost hope.

It’s been proven that when people know of a place where they can go if they feel in need of some extra support or guidance to put them on a path toward a healthier way of life, they most likely will access those services at the start of their issues rather than waiting and letting things aggravate. The goal for Kiesler Wellness Center is to be this place and offer assistance that is comfortable and nonjudgmental.

The center will be located in southeast Grand Rapids, behind Wal-Mart, on a pine-studded property donated by the Hawkinson Family with timber harvesting and processing donated by the Rajala Family.

With so many individuals and families touched by mental illness, the Kiesler Wellness Center project has gained considerable community support. Many people have donated to the cause or have expressed an interest in contributing. As Amanda Okech, Kiesler Director, explained, $265,000 of the nearly $4 million project total is still needed. So time is of the essence to provide a gift as any support – no matter the size or scope – is appreciated in making the center a reality.

“We are looking for the community help to get the final pledges in by August 1,” said Okech. “Help us to close this gap.”

According to Okech, people may make contributions on behalf of a friend, coworker or family member. These donations could be matched as well.

We have two matching grants that total $35,000 in need of matching donations – $30,000 from Rajala Mill Work and $5,000 in honor of a local community member who lost his life due to suicide after a battle of depression and alcohol. When making a donation, you can indicate if you want to put your donation to support either grant,” explained Okech.

In the months leading up to the groundbreaking, Kiesler members and Northland Counseling Center have found many ways to involve the community in this project. A few additional opportunities include:

• Leap for Life Skydiving event is Saturday, July 23 in Baldwin, Wis. Jump begins at 2:30 p.m. There are many local community members who are jumping who are still need of help reaching their $500 pledges. Those interested in sponsoring a local sky diver should specify “General Skydiving Pledge” on their donation. For more information on joining the event as a skydiver, visit www.kieslerwellnesscenter.org/communityevents to learn how to sign up. All are welcome to attend the event as spectators, free of charge.

• Grand Rapids GM has generously donated a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica that the Kiesler Wellness Center and will be selling raffle tickets July 22 – Oct. 1. Tickets are $10—with second prize being $500 cash and third prize being $100. Tickets can be purchased at Tovios (1212 NW Fourth Street, Grand Rapids), Northland Counseling Center (215 SE Second Avenue), Kiesler House (1313 NE Seventh Street) or contacting Taylor Jackson at 218-244-4717.

“Help us to hold the HOPE,” added Okech. “Be a part of the wellness movement.”

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