Everybody Deserves a Chance at Life
By Shay Stanley
Imagine feeling so sad and lost that the only viable option that you can see to take that feeling away is taking your own life.
That is what most people feel before ending their lives.
Even for those who don’t act on these feelings, they become a large part of their lives. These feelings haunt you, day after day and night after night.
For some people, this gets too much and they feel the need to give in to them.
For some people, this is falling into melancholia, for others it is ending their own lives.
Suicide isn’t an abstract notion to me, I am all too familiar with it.
I have had these horrible, incomprehensible and unimaginable feelings.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death in people aged 10-34.
47,173 people died due to suicide in 2017 alone and approximately 1,400,000 suicide attempts.
I don’t know about you, but I have an issue with the vastness of those numbers.
I have honestly felt that being dead would be easier than getting out of bed in the morning.
I have even acted on these feelings.
I survived but that doesn’t always happen.
My mother was always the person to save me from these feelings and talk me out of taking action as she too dealt with these thoughts.
It breaks my heart to say that my mother fell into these feelings and was not caught.
I lost her to suicide on the September 12, 2019.
This affected my step-father so heavily that when he found her, he felt immense anger and sadness, so much so that he also took his own life.
If people had been more aware of the severity, there is a chance that they might still be here.
There was on average 127 suicides a day in 2017, that’s 127 families affected by the power of suicide DAILY.
I know what my family went through and to think about even one family going through what we went through is awful and gut-wrenching.
Suicide is a powerful act and we should be trying to prevent it at all costs.
I am personally devoting my life to raising awareness and this organization is something that is going to help me tremendously with resources and support.
Kiersten’s Ride was created as a fundraiser. It started in 2013 a year after Kiersten’s death and has been an annual occurrence ever since.
In 2015, Kiersten’s Ride became a 501(c)(3) organization meaning that they are a corporation that is exempt from federal income tax. The funds were first donated to other organizations such Community Mental Health. Funds donated now go towards conferences and meetings where they discuss what is needed in the community. Funds also go towards teaching suicide prevention classes to the community, these classes are free and open to anybody, there is however a limited capacity for these classes.
Kiersten’s Ride’s biggest funding is definitely the ride itself which is held on the 3rd Saturday of every August at Chandler Hill Campground.
There people can ride their horses, walk, or drive their ATV in memorial of Kiersten. Riders can be sponsored. They are given a sticker with a loved one’s name on it so that they can ride, run, or walk in their honor.
Kiersten’s Ride is always trying to be involved in the community in any way possible. They have had a speaker at every school in Charlevoix and Emmet County, except for Beaver Island. They put up a resource booth at the Fall Festival held in East Jordan to reach out to the youth in any way possible. Lisa Clavier (Mother of Kiersten and Founder of Kiersten’s Ride) is hard at work in the politics of mental health. She is always trying to get conferences together and talk about awareness. She is currently working on getting the State of Michigan more involved in suicide prevention and mental health as a whole. She encourages everybody to help her in her mission to prevent suicide. Kiersten’s Ride’s goal is never to harm but to help.
I think that this organization deserves this money because everybody deserves a chance at life, nobody should ever feel that they don’t.
I know that teaching these classes and raising awareness won’t bring my parents back. But if I can prevent this from happening to another child, I will be more than satisfied with the outcome. I know my mother would be, too.
Nobody should have to go through the feelings that I have. If given the opportunity, I would do anything in my power to stop anybody from feeling that way.
By Aaron Bess
If I could describe my sister in one word, it would be determined.
Determined to get whatever she needs, no matter how hard it is to get. Determined to win every argument she starts. Determined to be better than everyone. But above all, determined to overcome her dyslexia.
The Michigan Dyslexia Institute played a role in turning my sister into the person she is.
I believe that with the $100 they could help turn more kids into determined adults.
The Michigan Dyslexia Institute (MDI) has locations in Harbor Springs, Lansing, and Berkley.
They offer a wide range of tutoring for students with dyslexia.
I would like for the MDI to receive the $100 so that they can help more people like my sister. With this money, they could offer about an hour of tutoring to a student.
This money could also go toward finding new ways to help kids struggling with dyslexia. I hope that, regardless of if this wins or not, the MDI continues to be supported so that they can continue their work.
The Michigan Dyslexia Institute has helped our family and my sister in working with her dyslexia.
This help was mostly received through tutoring.
I can remember sitting in an unfamiliar building, my mom and I waiting for my sister to be finished with her lesson.
Fast forward a few years: now my sister is done with her tutor and is figuring things out a little better.
The MDI had presented her an opportunity to attend Camp Starlight at Mystic Lake. At this camp, she met many friends that she still talks to, to this day.
After speaking with my sister recently, she tells me that this camp was one of the best experiences of her life.
Jump forward another few years and she’s a sophomore in high school: classes are hard, bigger terms swarming in her confused brain.
I will always remember her coming home and needing my mom or me to read a section of a book to her.
Two years later: senior year, college coming soon. She maintains her good grades throughout her final year.
All of this work she put in from first grade up until this point adds up to be one of the best scholarships in her school: the presidential scholarship that awards the valedictorian 2 years of tuition paid for at North Central Michigan College.
It is at this college where she continues to work through her dyslexia and pursue her dream job. However, reading remains to be a slight mental detour in her life.
Nobody should ever have to deal with their dyslexia all by themselves.
I hope that the ones who are affected can find help, and getting that help through the MDI would be of great benefit to them.
Dyslexia is not a dead end; it can be worked with, but you must be determined.
And if other dyslexic people are anything like my sister, they should have no problem with that.
By Charlie Skop
Hospice is an organization that helps people who are sick.
Hospice has nurses who work with people who are sick or need help with daily life activities.
Hospice care is for people who are terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less.
Hospice is medical care who helps someone with a terminal illness live as well as possible for as long as possible.
Hospice care is given wherever the patient lives at home, retirement homes, long term care, and hospitals. Hospice care includes a team of professionals who address physical, and spiritual needs of both the dying person and their entire family.
Hospice care helps with patient pain and other symptoms, helps coordinate services, helps with communicating and making decisions, helps to set goals, and helps with quality of life. Hospice care involves more than 1.3 million patients and 4,000 agencies each year. The average hospice service in 2016 was 71 days or about 2 1/2 months. Many people now survive hospice services though.
My uncle was in hospice because he couldn’t eat or drink for a while. He didn’t even have the strength to stand. He was in the hospital for a couple of months. When he had hospice he was in bed almost every day and he didn’t move much which didn’t help him when he stood up to walk because he was weak. While my uncle had hospice, my grandma and grandpa came and visited him almost every day. Most people die at the end of hospice care, but my uncle was one of the people who lived. When he had hospice services he was able to eat and drink. He got therapy and got stronger. Finally, he got to go home. One hundred dollars donated to Hospice would help other people in need. It would help pay for a nurse or therapy. I would donate one hundred dollars to Hospice of Northern Michigan so maybe other sick people can get better too.
By Kaitlyn Hammerle
Imagine being trapped inside your mind, slowly forgetting your loved ones like you never knew them. Imagine being confused all the time, forgetting who you are, not knowing the faces of those who say “I love you”. Imagine what it feels like to the one forgotten by a loved one. Imagine living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that is caused by brain cells and their connections degenerating causing memory loss and confusion. If I had all the money in the world I would donate it to the Grandvue Medical Care Facility, and here’s why. Grandvue Medical Care Facility is just one organization that is helping elders and their families cope with this devastating disease by letting the elderly live out their last days being happy. Grandvue has been doing so for over 120 years.
With good, full-time care physicians always on staff, all people get the attention that they need to live a full life.
The primary goal is to make elders suffering from Alzheimer’s as happy and as comfortable as possible.
Grandvue is taking it a step further by offering meaningful and interactive activities to meet the social, physical, and mental needs of each individual.
Services that are offered include the Namaste Room, which provides a spa-like environment and purposeful activities for elders with advanced dementia; two full time licensed social workers to assist families and seniors; and a support group for families to help them understand what exactly will happen to their loved one at each stage of the disease.
A support system is essential in a grieving family. When you think of family, what do you think of?
Maybe it’s sitting at a dinner table full of food surrounded by the people you love.
Maybe it’s going to the park on a bright summer afternoon with your siblings and parents, or maybe it’s simply sitting on the couch with your loved ones, watching movies with a big bowl of popcorn.
For me, family is Thanksgiving Day in downtown Detroit.
When I was a little kid, every year we would go to the Thanksgiving Parade; my siblings and I would pile into a car at 6:00 AM and meet our extended family on the road.
The person who was always there with 10 hot chocolates to make all of us happy was my Grandpa Faulknor.
He was one of my favorite people.
When I looked at him, my first thought was “family”, but something changed after a while, this person who would make us happy and treat us every year and who remembered our names by heart started to mix us up.
It wasn’t alarming, there are a lot of us, six to be exact, but it had never happened before. What I thought was a simple mistake soon turned to an alarming spiral of loss and heartbreak.
Year after year he would be around less and less.
Soon enough, he just stopped coming, and that’s when we figured out that he had Alzheimer’s.
He was going to pass away, and there was nothing we could do.
The word “family” wasn’t right if he wasn’t around to hear it. He had to be sent away to a long term care facility, away from the city, away from my family, and away from me.
If an organization like Grandvue was around, we would have had a chance to say goodbye to my grandfather on his deathbed.
Maybe we could have had support around us when we needed it most.
Maybe we would’ve known he wasn’t coming back before it tore us apart.
Places like Grandvue are what people look for in a good, long term care facility. You may not be trapped inside of your mind, you may not be confused all the time, and you may not be forgotten by a loved one, however, Alzheimer’s is an invisible threat that creeps up on people like a lion waiting to pounce, and when it’s done feeding, there’s nothing left.
The names are forgotten, the times get shorter, and the memories begin to vanish completely.
If I could donate to any nonprofit organization, I would have chosen the Grandvue Medical Care Facility, not only for its immaculate staff, healthy activities, and a superb support system, but also for their genuine care, I think that we all know that a little bit of care can go a long way.
Boyne City Food Pantry
By Maricka Drennan
Imagine you are 8-years old and can’t wait to get to school so you can have a hot breakfast, which is the only place you get to have one.
Then you are excited for lunch and try to stock up on as much food as you can, including putting anything that’s in packaging in your pockets so you can surprise your younger brother and sister with a snack later.
How about when there is a snow day, and everyone else you know is super excited to be able to have a day off, but all you can think about is how you are going to feed your siblings and yourself?
It may be hard for you to comprehend, but this is the sad reality for many young people, including some here in northern Michigan.
Thankfully, we have places like the Good Neighbors Food Pantry in Boyne City.
According to their website, in 2015 GNFP began with a mission to assist the 13% of the community and 25% that earn more than the poverty level but less than the cost of living for the county.
People are in serious trouble finding housing in our area, which has led to skyrocketing housing costs.
This has created a desperate situation for many families.
This includes access to healthy food to stave off food insecurity.
I am one of the fortunate students who have never had to worry about food insecurity. That being said, I have a few friends who stress over where their next meal will come from. My family and I invite them over on holidays and weekends when times are extra tough for them. I can’t imagine having to be concerned for your basic needs being met on top of schoolwork, social anxiety, or any other issues. Seeing your parents or your caregivers having to skip meals or act bravely in the face of food insecurity would have to affect a child for the rest of their life.
That’s why places like the Good Neighbors Food Pantry are so important.
From the minute you walk in the door on any Tuesday from 10:00-12:00 PM or 2:00-5:30 PM, you are treated with respect and dignity. There are choices that are healthy and filling, and they will make sure you get enough protein, which is the number one issue for people who are food insecure.
There is a general feeling of warmth and compassion from the volunteers who assist you. Speaking of volunteers—they need many! My mom’s company is helping stuff nutrition education bags she donated with foods for families to be able to have Thanksgiving, and I am helping as well. It’s the least I can do to help give back to my community.
But places like this have financial needs too: for every $10 that is donated to the pantry, they can purchase $100 worth of food to line their shelves for people who need it.
That means with the $100 from the Kiwanis Club, they would be able to purchase $1000 worth of food!
There would be so many families that would benefit from this, and I can’t think of a more worthy charity to receive this honor than the Good Neighbors Food Pantry of Boyne City.
By Mikhala Pung
If I had $100 to give to any local charity, I would give it to Joppa House Ministries. Joppa House is a transitional home located in Charlevoix that helps homeless women and children.
The house is a safe place where women learn the life skills they need to maintain independent living.
Since opening, Joppa House has been home to more than 100 women and children.
Because each family has unique needs, the length of their stays and the focus of their learning is different.
The director, Ginger Stevens, helps each resident create a plan and work through the steps of building a better future.
Joppa House was founded in 2011. The property was donated by a local resident, and the house, a former convent, was donated by St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
The basement was constructed as a gift by Manthei Inc. Once ready, the house was moved by trucks and cranes and lowered onto the basement foundation. Then extensive renovations began, lasting 3 years.
Upon completion, the house has three levels. The main level has the kitchen, dining room, living room, the innkeepers bedroom and a handicap accessible bathroom.
The upstairs consists of four full bedrooms and a bathroom. The basement is used for the Life Skills Class and has a children’s play area, laundry, and an office.
The life skills training includes budgeting, parenting, cooking, nutrition, as well as how to have healthy relationships and how to heal from past trauma, etc.
As one former resident, who now maintains employment and a home for herself and her two children, said: “I’m very content and at peace with my life today.
I still attend AA/NA meetings, as well as counseling and trauma therapy sessions. I believe without those things I would not be successful.
Today, I am committed to the work and the dedication it takes for me to be successful.
And without my brief times at Joppa, there is no way I would be where I am today.
Without Ginger’s help to see my addiction and lack of control over it, and the fact that there was no shame in it, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would still be lying to myself. I would not have even attempted treatment otherwise.
And that’s clearly what I needed to gain stable ground to actually do the work necessary to maintain sobriety.
So, in essence, Joppa saved my life. And I am forever grateful.”
Residents typically stay 6 to 18 months. While living at the house, they are required to have a job and participate in programming, which includes weekly chores. Joppa House can hold a maximum of 15 residents, including an innkeeper.
The house is a refuge for women and children who have come from situations like poverty and domestic challenges.
Many of them lack the education and work experience they need to make enough money to support their families.
While at the house, they take job training and some even enroll in college classes.
With $100, Joppa House would like to purchase new curriculum.
When they first opened, most of their women were homeless because of lack of support, but they are getting more and more women coming out of treatment centers.
Because of this, they need more curriculum to help with life skills and sobriety support.
The new curriculum offers both. This will benefit the residents by better meeting their needs.
I chose this charity because it’s more than just a charity to me.
I have been involved with Joppa since the beginning. I have volunteered with my mom countless times and I have met the women and children who live there.
I have seen the transformation from when they first come to Joppa to when they move out. Last year, I did a presentation about domestic violence for the women, which they could relate to. It was good to hear that I was making a difference in someone’s life.
In conclusion, Joppa should get a $100 because it helps local women and children transition into a better life. Without this program, many women and children would still be homeless, or worse.
By Paxton Giem
Imagine a world without conservation, or clean rivers, or beautiful and healthy ecosystems.
This is what my organization, Trout Unlimited, chooses to protect and, by doing that, they’re pretty much saving the human race in the long run.
I think Trout Unlimited is a worthy organization to receive the $100 from Kiwanis because they help get kids into the outdoors and teach them about river ecosystems and how conservation is important to future generations.
Trout Unlimited helps get kids off their electronics and video games and into the outdoors. This is the first step to getting people interested in watershed conservation.
One of the many ways they do this is through fly fishing clinics.
They have single day clinics where kids learn about fly fishing, river ecosystems and fish, stream etiquette, and gear.
They also host 4-5 day camps where you learn the same stuff but on a much deeper level.
I personally have been to both clinics; this past summer I did the week long camp down in Grayling and had an absolute blast.
I learned so much and had such a great time that I might go back next year as a Junior Counselor.
Our local Trout Unlimited chapter is called Miller-Van-Winkle and they have made a huge impact on my life in a very positive way.
They introduced me to fly fishing and I’ve been hooked ever since.
At the first clinic I went to in the spring of 2015, we got assigned mentors who are giving up their time to teach us about the things they are passionate about, like river conservation and fly fishing.
My mentor was Don “Buzz” Lockman, and we’ve kept in touch ever since the clinic.
We tie flies together in the winter at City Park Grill, which is yet another event that Trout Unlimited puts on for the public.
Along with getting kids off their electronics, Trout Unlimited also makes kids healthier by getting them outside and getting them more involved with the outdoors.
You could argue that they could get sunburned or bit by mosquitoes but that’s just part of the experience. Plus when kids go to these camps and clinics, they learn the life-long skills of fishing and how to protect our environment.
Then they would rather go fishing than play video games.
An example of a way that Trout Unlimited could use 100 dollars is that they could put it towards a camp or get another prize for one of the kids.
Also it could help them with their stream conservation and help them build better fish structure, like a fish crib or better underbanks.
Another way they could use the money is to sponsor a kid to go to one of the camps like they did for me.
Lots of kids would love the opportunity to go fishing for a week, while learning about conservation. In conclusion, Trout Unlimited is very important to the future of our streams, watersheds, and ecosystems.
It helps get kids into the outdoors and teaches them about fishing, as well as giving them knowledge about how to help their local watersheds.
It will definitely help the world and kids in the long run. Who knows? Maybe the $100 could be enough to get a kid involved, and inspire them to change the world.
By Phillip banner
The Alzheimer’s Association, located in Traverse City, deserves the one hundred dollar donation because they work hard everyday to research a cure for Alzheimer’s, care for those with it, and provide help for their families.
As of now, Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, which is why researchers from the Alzheimer’s Association are trying to find a cure for the disease, prevent it, and find better treatment everyday.
The association is so determined to end the disease that they have funded researchers locally, and from around the world $167,000,000. They’ve also formed the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act.
This ensures that U.S Congress hears from the Nation Institute of Health scientists about funding needed to prevent the disease by 2025, which is the Alzheimer’s Association’s main goal.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be very difficult itself. Alzheimer’s is a disease that attacks the brain causing its victim’s memory to fade away, making even the simplest tasks near impossible.
The Alzheimer’s Association has an entire section on their website devoted to helping families get the care they need for their family member with the disease.
Which is very useful for families that will have to care for their family members themselves.
My grandpa suffered from Alzheimer’s, so I’ve seen how the disease affects people in real time with my own eyes. When Grandpa’s Alzheimer’s got really bad, we moved him into a nursing home.
My Grandma would go and visit him everyday, so Grandpa thought he was at home the entire time.
We’d go and visit him every once in a while; sometimes he’d remember who we were, sometimes he wouldn’t. My best memory of Grandpa Banner is when we’d bring him to our house for Christmas.
He’d always sit in the same chair, watching me and my sister open our presents.
Then every so often he’d ask: “How many lights are on that Christmas tree?” Nobody ever really knew how many lights there were so we’d give him our best guess and he’d always reply with: “Oh, that’s a lot of lights.”`
It’s a horrible disease, and I don’t know how my Grandma would have been able to live her life without the amazing people who cared for him.
Some people would argue that the need to cure Alzheimer’s isn’t as urgent as a cure for cancer, but I can assure you that it is just as important.
As the population grows older, more and more people are going to be at risk to the disease and we need a way to prevent it now so that grandparents can make new memories with the grandchildren instead of forgetting them.
I know that the Alzheimer’s Association didn’t directly help my grandfather.
But organizations just like it did based on the research that they’ve found.
So I would really like to help fund this organization to help them meet their goal of curing Alzheimer’s by 2025.
By Thomas Sommerfeldt
About eleven years ago, there was a restaurant that closed and the owner went into a downward spiral with alcohol abuse for three years.
Eight years ago, the past owner’s wife would kick him out if he didn’t go get treatment.
So he left to get treatment.
This is a true story and I know them personally.
My charity I chose was Alcoholics Anonymous because this program has affected many people around me and some close to me.
If this program wasn’t around, then some of my family wouldn’t be here.
I am very grateful for this program and what they do for their recipients and for our community.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a faith-based group that helps addicts become sober and live better lives.
If I had to guess how they would use the one hundred dollars, it would be on either coffee or pop for people at their meetings.
Why this organization would need these things is because a good way to help drinkers to be sober is with a different liquid like coffee or pop.
Alcoholics Anonymous is not only for alcohol addicts; they help people who are addicted to anything.
I want everyone who is affected by this disease (addiction) to find a cure one way or
Alcoholics Anonymous is a great way to find that cure.
This a very good cause and I hope you choose my essay so that this program can keep helping people with their struggle with addiction.
By Cameron Follette
Could you imagine being a child diagnosed with cancer?
Just think how different your life would be compared to your classmates. I believe Camp Quality deserves the $100 donation because they are providing kids with cancer the chance to just be kids again.
I have had the chance to attend some of the events that Camp Quality provides to these children and to see the difference they are making.
Attending summer camp is something all children enjoy and look forward to but when you are a child going through cancer treatment, it becomes difficult to have that camp experience.
Camp Quality provides summer camps that allow children to still have that same summer camp memory while still receiving treatments from the medical staff.
Each camper is assigned a volunteer companion who is with them for the week to make sure their needs are being met.
Along with helping to give kids the same experiences as healthy children Camp Quality helps build friendships with other kids who understand what each other has or is going through, and offers hope and support.
This support not only helps the child but the entire family.
Having a child diagnosed with cancer affects every member of the family and all need support and understanding.
In Camp Quality’s efforts to provide hope and inspiration to children and families affected by cancer they continue to add services and events to the program. For example, each year they offer a Tiger Game Day event for up to 150 people to enjoy a day at the ballpark.
They also have 2 overnight weekend events for 25 families to just enjoy a weekend getaway and focus on being together away from the stress of the hospital and appointments.
In 2019 Camp Quality held its first ever Sibling Camp.
This camp is just for siblings of a child with cancer in hopes of offering support to siblings by building friendships with other kids who can understand what they are going through.
All of these events and programs are all provided at no charge to the family.
Camp Quality relies on donations from individuals, service organizations, fundraisers and grants to raise the money needed to run their programs.
There are so many more kids who would enjoy the experience, and friendships made by going to a Camp Quality program.
By donating you would be giving more kids the chance to live the best life they can with the time they may or may not have left.
To quote a Camp Quality Volunteer, “We can’t do anything about the quantity of time a child has but we can certainly do something about the quality of that time”.
Although there are many other deserving non-profits in our area, I feel that Camp Quality is making a big difference in the lives of children with cancer which is why they are a great choice to receive the $100.