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Granting Wishes for 35 Years At Your Service:

PAWS With A Cause Womenʼs Resource Center New Beginnings for Felons

Charisse Mitchell CEO of the YWCA West Central Michigan

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


November 2019 Edition #260



8 Her Legacy

26 Jocelyn Dettloff

FEATURES 18 Transforming Lives, One Paw at a Time 20 She’s Got the Spark: Metallica Scholars Graduate Pursues Her Dreams in Face of Adversity 21 One Family at a Time: Nonprofit Supports Families Experiencing Homelessness

EXECUTIVE PUBLISHING CONSULTANT Carole Valade EDITOR Elyse Wild editor@womenslifestyle.com

22 Granting Wishes for 35 Years



COLUMNISTS Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council GROW Kate Sage, DO Kelsey Emmanuel Steve R. Lasater, M.D


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anu Teodorescu Autumn Lau Devin DuMond Elyse Wild Kayla Sosa Megan Sarnaki Michelle Jokisch Polo


22 Make-A-Wish Michigan



12 Ask the Doctor: Is Cholesterol Testing Enough? 13 How To Avoid Overeating During The Holidays 14 Healthcare Disparities Among Men and Women FOOD

PHOTOGRAPHY Elyse Wild Two Eagles Marcus SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Terrie Lynema sales@womenslifestyle.com (616) 951-5422

24 Women’s Resource Center Offers New Beginnings for Felons 26 Nothing Stops Her: Jocelyn Dettloff, Mary Free Bed Foundation Annual Fund Director


13 Cocktails for Autumn Entertaining

18 PAWS With A Cause


13 Autumn Cocktails

& DO

6 Behind Every Successful Woman is Another Successful Woman: The Importance of Mentorship

CALL (616) 458-2121

8 Her Legacy: Emily Chamberlin, Municipal Housekeeper

EMAIL info@womenslifestyle.com

9 Reader’s Lounge

MAIL 3500 3 Mile Rd NW, Ste A Grand Rapids, MI 49534

11 A Season of Gratitude

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT IN MEMORIAM Victoria Ann Upton Founder 1955 - 2018

20 She’s Got the Spark

To extend an uplifting, inclusive and vibrant invitation to enjoy life, every day, in our community.



Charisse Mitchell | photo by Two Eagles Marcus Charisse Mitchell is the CEO of the YWCA West Central Michigan. On Nov. 13, the organization is celebrating the 42nd Tribute Awards to honor exceptional women leaders in our community. Turn to page 34 to read more.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

28 Artist Profile: Calli Woodruff 32 March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction 34 Let Them Sing: Girls Choral Academy Annual Benefit 35 Tribute Awards 36 We’re Out There




Meet live reindeer, Santa Claus, Anna & Elsa Children's book authors Crystal Bowman & Glenys Nellist Christmas wreaths and ornaments decorating Giveaways, raffles, coupons, and exclusive deals Free food and drinks Family fun

Friday, Nov 15th (9am-7pm) Saturday, Nov 16th (8am-4pm) Grand Rapids

Grand Haven Holland 616-949-2200 www.easternfloral.com

Admission is completely free! Bring your family and friends. Follow our social media to see Santa, Anna, Elsa, and children's book authors schedules and locations


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From the Editor


This month, we are celebrating an idea that runs deep in the foundation of West Michigan: charity. According to governing. com, more than 950 nonprofits were operating in Grand Rapids and Wyoming alone in 2018. In this edition, we aim to introduce you to those you may not have heard of and bring you a greater perspective on those you have.

Artists Creating Together WE ARE ALL Auction on November 7


On page 18, meet Ron and Linda Baker, just two of thousands of individuals whose lives have been transformed by PAWS With A Cause. For 40 years, PAWS has provided custom trained service dogs, free of cost, to those with mobility issues, autism, hearing loss and seizure disorders. Today, they rank in the top 13 percent of nonprofits in the nation.

We have too much great content to fit it in all in the print edition every month. Please visit womenslifestyle.com for exclusive online content featuring:

On page 22, read about the work of Make-a-Wish Michigan, which is celebrating 35 years of easing the emotional and psychological burden of critical illness by providing families with unforgettable experiences, free of cost. The Women’s Resource Center’s New Beginnings Program offers support to those among us who are often denied it: felons. To date, the program has helped 340 formerly incarcerated women secure employment. Learn more and meet one of their recent participants on page 24. In “She’s Got the Spark,” we introduce you to Uniqua Sparks, a recent graduate of the Metallica Scholars Program, an eight-week introduction to welding course funded entirely by a grant from the legendary heavy metal band (20). As a young mother experiencing housing-instability, Sparks aims to use her newfound welding skills to create a brighter future for her family. Featured on our cover is Charisse Mitchell, CEO of the YWCA West Central Michigan. The organization is celebrating the 42nd annual Tribute Awards, honoring women leaders in our community and awarding scholarships to help select students achieve their goals of higher education (34). On Nov. 11, join March of Dimes for their premiere fundraising event: The Signature Chefs Auction (32). On Nov. 12, Girls Choral Academy invites you to join them for the “Let Their Voice Be Heard” Benefit, proceeds of which go toward scholarships for low-income girls joining the chorus (35). These are the stories of benevolence at its best, but they are not the only ones. Each time we recognize someone else’s needs, whenever we donate our time, treasures or talents, we are forging a connection with our humanity. I hope these stories allow you to recognize your capacity to give, however great or small. I hope they inspire you to reach beyond yourself, for there are few more profound acts than helping another.

Celebrate Dégagé Ministries on November 22

Community Legends Project Honors Grand Rapids Women Who Created Whooping Cough Vaccine

DO YOU LIKE TO WIN THINGS? Enter contests and win prizes from our business and community partners at:

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Happy Reading!

-Elyse Wild, Editor Women’s LifeStyle is a dynamic multi-media platform designed to make beneficial connections in our community. The positive, upbeat, award winning and popular locally owned publication is supported by a dynamic mobile friendly online presence and an interactive website (including an events calendar, embedded video), as well as friendly, helpful and consistent social media interaction with the community. With 490+ distribution locations, Women’s LifeStyle is favored by an active, engaged and progressive audience. You are now looking at the 260th edition. All content ©Women’s LifeStyle, Inc. 2019.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


Behind Every Successful Woman is Another Successful Woman:

The Importance of Mentorship COURTESY OF GROW


f we asked you what you are most thankful for at work, what would you say? Many of us would say “the people,” right? There are arguably few things more critical to business success than our relationships at work. Our bosses, co-workers, and employees combine to make our work world an energizing culture or a daily drudge that eventually drives us away. There’s one relationship in particular that is especially important for women in business: The Mentor. Here’s why. If you’re a woman in business, you’ve probably heard the quote, “If you can see it, you can be it.” Articles from Inc. reference it, an initiative in Grand Rapids bears the name, and in 2018 the Governor of New York created a day with this title. Why? All reference an effort to mentor and enhance leadership skills and opportunities for women and girls. “Mentorship is especially important to women, people of color, and other underserved individuals as they often do not have seats at the tables that allow them access to growth,” Bonnie Nawara, CEO of GROW, shared. “Being aware of that need and providing access to those seats as a mentor is invaluable.” People need to see others like them to help them visualize what they may become and for inspiration and guidance. Whether you are an employee or a small business owner, connecting with a mentor is a powerful tool for business and personal development. According to a study by KPMG: 

• Realize you need a mentor. Women may not be aware of mentoring as an effective option to enhance their career, or may feel reluctant to contact successful women in their workplace. If you feel your career has plateaued or you’re just “stuck,” a mentor will give you guidance and candid feedback on how to get back on track. • Be proactive and ask someone you respect to be a mentor. It’s more than likely they’ll say yes. It’s fine to have more than one, depending on your interests.   • Have a game plan. Think through what you want to know. If you aren’t sure, your mentor can help you come up with a plan.    • Have a structure. Some mentorships are formal, some are informal. Regardless, have some structure around what interests you have, how you’ll explore them, and when you will check in with each other. Nawara adds, “Mentorship can be one-on-one, and many women find small groups are a great way to connect with others. Finding your tribe or a mastermind group is another way to establish mentor relationships where you can all teach and support each other.”  There are also warning signs to watch out for.

Not everyone clicks and the foundation of an effective mentorship is the underlying relationship. According to Sianta, signs that it’s not working include: - You just don’t feel comfortable around the other person; you don’t have strong rapport. - You don’t feel you’re being listened to. - Your mentor comes to your meetings unprepared or doesn’t meet commitments they’ve made. If it’s not working, don’t take it personally. It just wasn’t a good fit. Appreciate what you got out of it and move on.

MENTORING IS THE ULTIMATE WAY OF SAYING THANKS Knowing you’re not facing business challenges alone feels good. The best way you can thank someone who has mentored you is to share that feeling. If you have worked with a mentor who has helped shape your career and your life, thank them. Even better, mentor someone else. Pay it forward.

• 67% of women reported they’d learned the most important lessons about leadership from other women. • 82% of professional working women thought access to networking with female leaders would help advance their careers. A small study by Lean Cuisine and New York University psychology professor Emily Balcetis found: • 89% of women set more ambitious life goals in the presence of other women they admired than they did when contemplating them alone.  Talking with someone face-to-face seems almost quaint when everyone is connected to a device now. “Just Google it” or “there’s an app for that,” might be fine for finding the closest restaurant or tracking steps; but there’s no replacing empathy and sound business counsel over a shared meal or a cup of coffee. Tracy Sianta, President and Owner of TLS Technologies and Innovations, has experienced mentorship from both sides, as a mentor and mentee. We sat down recently, and she shared some insights critical to a successful mentoring relationship.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

Spotlight on Community Initiatives

Join In

Sponsored by Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Justice for Our Neighbors West Michigan Give your skills and time this month to Justice for Our Neighbors West Michigan. The statewide nonprofit provides legal representation, assists with family reunification, and other services to assist with citizenship, detention visitation, green cards and more. Volunteers are an essential piece of the organization, as they welcome clients to the clinic and help with paperwork, translation, office assistance, phone calls and event organization. To sign up, visit jfonmi.org/volunteer.

“I started coming here for help with homework in seventh grade. Now I’m a Teen Leader and I mentor the younger girls. We sit together and have fun doing our homework, visiting, and just being there for each other.” — Na’tice, Cook Library Center student in the Teen Leaders program

Slow Food Michigan Slow Food West Michigan supports a “good, clean, fair and local” food system both for-profit and nonprofit. You can support the mission by volunteering with the organization through a variety of tasks such as blog writing, grant writing, event volunteering, social media support and serving on the board. To see more volunteer options and sign up, visit slowfoodwestmichigan.org/volunteer.

Moms Bloom Inc. Support mothers in West Michigan by volunteering with Momsbloom Inc. At Momsbloom, support is provided to women in the postpartum stage of motherhood. By providing support to mothers, the nonprofit hopes to reduce the negative side effects postpartum. Volunteers have the opportunity to make a 6-12 week commitment to a family for a few hours a week. No experience is required, just a willingness to help and lend a listening ear. To sign up, visit momsbloom.org/volunteer.

Beer City Dog Biscuits Support the “brew bakers” at Beer City Dog Biscuits by volunteering for this local nonprofit that employs disabled adults as bakers and biscuit makers. By using nonalcoholic spent beer grains from Founders Brewing Company, biscuits are baked and packaged into nutritious dog treats. Find out more at beercitydogbiscuits.org.



Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities operates the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center. The Cook Arts Center offers classes in visual arts, pottery, dance, music, theatre, fabric arts, cooking, gardening, and more. The Cook Library Center is a thriving neighborhood hub of activity that encourages reading as a foundation of lifelong learning, and provides tutoring and academic support to neighborhood children. The organization also offers a teen leaders program and middle school STEAM programming that take place at both locations.

Philanthropy isn’t just about donations and volunteering for Eva Aguirre Cooper – it’s how she lives her life. She champions diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, serves on nonprofit boards and committees, and leverages her resources to help everyone in West Michigan thrive. Grand Rapids Community Foundation is proud to honor Eva with the 2019 Jack Chaille Community Philanthropy Award. G R F O U N D AT I O N . O R G

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019



MOTHER OF THE RETAIL MARKET IDEA Chamberlin’s partner in the 1916 farmers market fi ght became our fi rst female state senator, so historians rediscovered Eva McCall Hamilton fi rst. In accounts of a well-publicized city meeting, where she “whipped fi ve aldermen” fi ghting against farmers markets, the Grand Rapids Herald called her the “Mother of the Retail Market Idea.” The name was useful in her 1920 campaign. While Hamilton earned that tag, Emily Chamberlin was the main force behind the early market movement. For decades, she sat on city advisory boards and, when grocers petitioned to close the Fulton Street Market in the 1920s and 1930s, Chamberlin counterattacked and won. But it took the work of Grand Rapids women Christine Helms-Maletic and Melissa Harrington in 2012 to enact Chamberlin’s desire for a roof!


orn in 1866 Grand Rapids, Emily Mohl Chamberlin was of a generation of women who stepped firmly into the public realm and made their voices heard. From the time she was widowed in 1908 until her death in 1947, Chamberlin was known in Grand Rapids as a “municipal housekeeper.” She mobilized colleagues to improve the well-being of working families in poor living conditions and fought the male establishment to enforce ordinances meant to regulate emissions from coal-burning furnaces and keep bicyclists off city sidewalks. She also lobbied for universal meat inspection and for the right of women to vote on Sunday store openings. Initially brushed off as “busybodies,” clubwomen like Chamberlain quickly gained respect by backing up their requests with extensive research and sharing their findings with local newspapers. In 1937 when Chamberlin directed her efforts toward quality drinking water in Grand Rapids, the city balked at accusations of pollution. So, Chamberlin and the local chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs conducted an independent test and publicized the discovery of dead animals and a baby buggy in the city reservoir. Their investigations became a driving force behind the construction of our current pipeline from Lake Michigan. For thirty years most of Chamberlin’s work was undertaken with the local Federation, and she led efforts to clean up a dirty city by working with and fighting against local politicians and business leaders. As chair of the Federation’s Civic Relations Committee, she persistently encouraged women to identify municipal “irregularities” to take up with the men in charge. Looking back from 1934, a colleague commented that “women did not have the vote at that time and the only way we accomplished anything was to pester the life out of the men until we got it.” Later in life, Chamberlin answered a question about her greatest achievement: “Without doubt the establishment of City Markets.” In 1916, as Federation president and chair of its Home Economics department, Emily Chamberlin had worked with future state senator Eva McCall Hamilton to expose a conspiracy between the city’s grocers and city aldermen. Farmers were being barred from selling directly to the public in order to preserve grocers’ monopoly on food retailing. The women were appointed by the mayor to the High

ILLUSTRATIONS BY LIBBY VANDERPLOEG Cost of Living Commission, and two aldermen resigned before a city-owned farmers market opened on Leonard Street on July 4th, 1917. Chamberlin went on to chair food projects during WWI for the local branch of the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, and women flooded the city with petitions for more farmers markets. One opened in the southern part of the city in 1918, and the Fulton Street Farmers Market opened in 1922. Chamberlin’s interest in civic well-being extended to the Grand Rapids Art Institute, which opened its first permanent home in 1924 under her direction, and the rest of her life continued a whirlwind of activity. Chamberlin and her early-20th-century cohort wrote an important chapter in the civic history of Grand Rapids and its women’s activism. They also underwrote many of the public services we take for granted today.

The Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council is dedicated to educating the community and celebrating the legacies of local women, preserving knowledge of their past and inspiring visions for their future. For more information or to get involved, visit ggrwhc.org.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


Fix-it and Forget-it Healthy 5-ingredient Cookbook: 150 Easy and Nutritious Slow Cooker Recipes By Hope Comerford I use my Slow Cooker about once a week. I love the convenience of putting ingredients in the cooker in the morning and having dinner ready for my family at night. The recipes in this book are quick and easy! I tried the North Carolina Barbecue, and my family loved it! I also like that all the nutritional information is right on the recipe page.

Cali’ Flour Kitchen: 125 Caulifl owerBased Recipes for the Carbs You Crave By Amy Lacey It seems that cauliflower is the new “it” food. You can even buy frozen pizza with a cauliflower crust. The Cauliflower Steak with roasted cauliflower leaves was quick and simple to make. The downside to this cookbook was that the only nutritional information for the recipes is a list letting you know which recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, Keto, etc.

5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food By Jamie Oliver If you are looking for something a little different but still simple, this could be the cookbook for you. Jamie Oliver is a British chef who believes in fresh, simple food. I tried his Sausage & Apple Bake recipe, and it was really good. The nutritional information is nicely displayed at the bottom of the page, and each recipe has a beautiful picture.

Taste of Home Instant Pot Cookbook By Taste of Home I just recently jumped on the bandwagon and bought an Instant Pot. I needed a trusty book to help me figure out what to do with it. To the rescue came Taste of Home Instant Pot Cookbook, with beautiful pictures and simple recipes. The Apple Balsamic Chicken was excellent! In fact, this was the first really good meal that came out of my instant pot besides macaroni and cheese. Michelle Toren is a librarian at the Walker Branch of the Kent District Library and a mother of three children, three dogs, one bunny and a cat.




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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019






A Season of Gratitude BY VONNIE WOODRICK

It doesn’t matter how big or how small you give, know that giving to others can bring a great sense of joy and belonging to someone.


s the holidays approach, and we are faced with the fear of missing our loved ones with an empty space at family events, especially the dinner table, what can we do that will help us get through this? When I lost my husband in the month of November, the loss brought instant devastation, depths of grief, and thoughts of what does“happy” mean in regard to Thanksgiving and Christmas? Even the “good” days were filled with pain and sorrow. How do we move forward with accepting that life moves on even when we are not ready? Although it took a while, acceptance was the key to our loss. If we don’t accept that our loved ones are not coming back, we get stuck and can quickly turn to self-medicating to ease the pain of our heartache. We can push down the grief and not deal with it, which could result in falling into a deep depression. My family made some changes that first year; rather than having a sit-down family-style meal, we had a buffet, and family and guests could sit wherever they wanted. This made it a bit easier as the empty chair wasn’t left for us to stare at and trigger thoughts of tremendous loss. We enjoyed cooking my husband’s favorite meal, baking his favorite chocolate chip cookies and cheering a toast with his favorite beverage.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

We also became very grateful — grateful that we had so many memories to share, and we relished in the memories others shared with us, as truly they are the best gift anyone could give us. We are grateful for those who let us continue to grieve all these years later; we have learned that love never dies. Expressing love and sharing stories of our missing loved one helps us heal. We are grateful for our friends that have become family. Surrounding yourself with people who allow you to do what you need to when you need to is healing. There is no timeline for grief, and being allowed to cry or miss your loved one is OK, no matter how long they have been gone.

How about making ornaments together for giving or making baked goods for a holiday bake sale? A financial gift in memory of a loved one to their favorite charity is always welcome and thoughtful. A gift that keeps on giving to those who are in need or struggling can put you into the holiday spirit. The holidays are a time filled with love and family, which many don’t experience due to financial constraints. The homeless population is forever growing, and keeping items in your car such as socks, hats and gloves, would be much appreciated by those who are struggling to stay warm this season.

We are grateful we had them as long as we did. We don’t move on, but we move forward; and we do so by living life the way our loved one would want us to by laughing out loud, loving others for who they are and celebrating the journey of life, all with their love still in our hearts.

Another thoughtful idea is to turn your holiday into a food drive for local pantries and shelters. It’s easy to have guests bring a canned good or two. This small gesture could go a long way to support the areas of need during this busy and hectic time of year.

November also brings us to the wonderful time of year of giving. For those who haven’t had a devastating loss, remember those who have by thinking of a way you could honor someone else’s loss. It doesn’t matter how big or how small you give, know that giving to others can bring a great sense of joy and belonging to someone.

As you enjoy your holidays, be mindful of gratitude. Be grateful for all the beautiful times and people you will be enjoying this season. Keep in mind the little things you can do to help others who may be missing their loved ones or simply don’t have the means to celebrate and enjoy the holidays the way they are meant to.

The best gifts this time of year are those that cannot be seen but felt. What do you give the person who has everything or someone who may not have so much? Perhaps it’s a gift of time. A gift of time could be lunch or coffee, helping someone with shopping or gift-wrapping.



Is Cholesterol Testing Enough? Why You — and Your Family — Should Care


A READER WRITES: r. Lasater, I’m a 55-year-old woman who has enjoyed fairly good health my entire life. My tennis partner, a woman who is my age, recently had a heart attack. She feels quite fortunate to have survived and is now getting back to her usual activity level, but she and her family are still concerned – and quite puzzled – that this happened to her. She has never smoked, there has never been any history of heart problems in her family, her blood pressure has never been a problem, and even though she is slightly overweight, she has always been fairly active physically. She had seen her doctor just a month before and was told that her cholesterol was “fine.” I know that having our cholesterol checked is important, but are there any additional tests that could be performed to see whether someone is at risk for having a heart attack or a stroke? — Samantha T.


DEAR SAMANTHA, ou, as well as your friend and her family, are right to be concerned. One in two people die from cardiovascular disease every year; this is more than the next seven causes of death combined, including cancer. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in American women – yes, women!


One of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease is high cholesterol and it is also the most treatable. Yet traditional cholesterol testing fails to identify up to 40-50% of the population at risk for cardiovascular disease and death. There are a number of additional tests that can be quite useful to determine whether one is at significant risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Arguably the most important of these is to have one’s Particle Test performed.

Another test that is important, especially if there is a history of heart disease without high cholesterol in one’s family, is for Lipoprotein (a). The “LP little a,” as it is called, is a form of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) in which another protein, called Apo(a), is attached to each LDL particle as it carries cholesterol around in the body. Having elevated blood levels of Lipoprotein (a) raises a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke beyond what is normally seen from elevated LDL cholesterol alone. This is believed to be due to the Apo(a) protein, which may reduce the body’s ability to break down clots. The typical lipid/cholesterol test will not reveal if this bad boy is present in increased numbers, so it must be ordered specifically. Elevated Lipoprotein (a) is usually

inherited from one parent. About 1 in 4 people in the population are believed to have elevated blood levels of Lipoprotein (a). African-Americans may have higher levels. Besides genetics, Lipoprotein (a) levels may result from increased intake of some types of fats, and some medical conditions. One more test that is worth consideration is highsensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a measure of inflammation in the body. When inflammation is present, the plaque in our arteries becomes unstable and is thus more likely to rupture, causing a heart attack or stroke. One major published study, the JUPITER Study, found that treating elevated CRP is even more beneficial in preventing cardiovascular events than is treating high LDL cholesterol. You should ask your doctor to consider ordering these additional tests, as they are relatively inexpensive, can help further stratify one’s cardiovascular risk, and if elevated can be treated. Steve R. Lasater MD practices Age Management Medicine, Hormone Replacement, and Clinical Lipidology at Optimal Wellness Medical Group, 5070 Cascade Road SE, Suite 210, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. See his website at OptimalWellnessMedical.com

Most physicians order what many experts consider the wrong test to gauge heart disease risk: a standard cholesterol panel, which shows the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and non-high density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol. What they should request instead (or in addition) is an inexpensive assay for a blood protein known as apolipoprotein B (apoB), which indicates the number of “bad cholesterol”-laden particles circulating in the blood — a truer indicator of the threat to our arteries than absolute cholesterol levels, some researchers believe. The use of routine apoB tests, which are now relatively inexpensive, would identify millions more patients who could benefit from cholesterol-cutting therapies and would spare many others from unnecessary treatment. Across the United States, patients who have the highest apoB readings will suffer nearly 3 million more heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events in the next 15 years than will people with the lowest levels. As lipidologist Dr. Daniel Rader of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine puts it, the question of whether LDL cholesterol is the best measure of cardiovascular risk now has a clear answer: “No.” In women after menopause, testing for elevated apolipoprotein B is especially important because the drop in hormone levels at menopause results in more apoB being produced by the liver, a risk increase which usually “flies under the radar” of the usual cholesterol/lipid tests.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

How to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays


ftentimes, the holiday season calls for stuffing ourselves with delicious homemade foods and overindulging in our favorite sweet treats. During the holidays, the struggle to stay on track with your diet is real. You mentally torment whether you should dig into the apple pie or go in for seconds at Thanksgiving. On top of your diet dilemmas, you have never-ending to-do lists and prep work for all of the holiday parties and family gatherings you have this year. The holidays can be stressful, but here’s the good news: You will be fine if you don’t follow your macros for a couple of days. You won’t throw your metabolism out the window, and you won’t gain 10+ lbs of fat out of nowhere. There are ways to deal with the stresses of overeating during the holidays.

Place Nothing Off Limits

Making certain foods “off limits” can actually hurt you more than help you. You make promises to yourself to restrict unhealthy eating and drinking during the holidays because you want to stay on track with your diet. But what ends up happening is if you do end up eating those foods and guilt is involved, then the mentality of, “I’ve already taken a bite and screwed everything up” kicks in. Instead of adding more stress to your life by trying to eat perfectly, cut yourself some slack and eat the unhealthy foods. It’s important to give yourself permission to get pleasure from food every

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

BY KELSEY EMMANUEL once in a while. Failing your food rules can easily open up the door for negative feelings to flood in, such as disappointment, guilt and shame. These negative emotions can lead to overeating and thinking that you might as well just eat the entire party.

Know Physical Hunger Cues

Some physical hunger cues are lack of energy, empty stomach, stomach growling, light-headedness and headaches. When deciding to go for seconds, try to gauge how you physically feel. How full do you feel? Do you feel satisfied or are you on the verge of feeling stuffed? It is important to be fully present when you are eating. Take time to eat your food and fully enjoy it. Taking longer amounts of time to eat and chew your food aids in digestion, and it also gives your stomach a chance to alert your brain that you are full. If you do overindulge, then forgive yourself. There’s no point in beating yourself up over something that has already happened. Learn from your experience and take the knowledge as a reminder to be more mindful for next time.

Start A Food Journal

By writing down your food intake on a daily basis, you will see what you are regularly putting in your body and recognize eating patterns. This might seem like a lot of work, but it’s beneficial in several ways.

It can help connect the dots between your diet and your mood. If you were feeling sluggish for a couple days and noticed that you were consuming a lot of sweets and only one meal per day, then you can start making a conscious effort to eat more whole, nutrient-dense meals and lower your sugar intake. In your food journal, you can log around what times you start getting hungry and need a snack. This will help you prepare and pack accordingly, so you don’t feel starved by the end of the work day and give in to your cravings. Finally, it’s not a bad idea to leave some room in your food journal to express your thoughts. Journaling has been proven as an effective, inexpensive form of stress relief. Oftentimes when we record our thoughts, it gives us an opportunity to assess them and let them go. When you give yourself the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, it may help with overcoming battles that you face with stress eating.

Kelsey Emmanuel is a certified CrossFit Level 1 trainer. Follow along with her workout tips and tutorials on Instagram @kelsey. emmanuel and on Facebook at Kelsey’s Health Journey.


Healthcare Disparities AMONG MEN AND WOMEN


hould your sex or gender affect the quality of healthcare you receive? No. But does it? Unfortunately, on occasion, yes, it may. The question is a tricky one; many in the medical community recognize that a patient’s sex and gender influence the quality of care that a patient receives. Studies have shown that men who complain of pain are taken more seriously than women who complain of pain. Men are given more medications and are sent to specialists more often than women with the same concern. Many pharmaceutical trials are done on men, and the dosages are calculated for a man’s body.  The good news, is that in recent years, this disparity has become better known to physicians. Some medical diagnoses such as fibromyalgia or autoimmune diseases are more common in women, and physicians have recognized the need to diagnose and treat these diseases appropriately. Back in 1985, the U.S. Task Force on Women’s Health made a recommendation that more research should be done on diseases unique to women or more prevalent in women. Since that time, diseases that primarily affect women have been better studied, women have been involved in more pharmaceutical trials, and physicians have become better aware of the gender gap in healthcare.  It’s important to note that differences in healthcare do not necessarily lead to disparities in healthcare. Most doctors recognize that there are differences in the health of men versus women. A heart attack, for example, presents most commonly in both men and women as chest pain. However, women are more likely than men to feel fatigue, nausea, and shortness of breath when having a heart attack. Having a variance in symptoms is one thing; the inability for a physician to recognize the differences in symptoms and treat them appropriately is a disparity. Fortunately, in the past several years, there has been a push from the medical community to recognize these disparities and correct them.  Because of the recent research on gender disparities, the inequalities are becoming better known in the medical community, and the healthcare industry in general is responding. One recent example of a positive response to sex disparities is the change in dosing of the sleep aid Ambien. After complaints of impaired driving after taking Ambien, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted laboratory tests and driving tests on men and women the morning after taking Ambien. They learned that women do not metabolize the drug as


Men are given more medications and are sent to specialists more often than women with the same concern. BY KATE SAGE, D.O.

quickly as men. Because of this, the FDA released a statement with new dosing guidelines for Ambien, recommending that women take a dose half that of a man’s dose. Physicians are now dosing the medication appropriately for both sexes. Part of the reason that situations like improper Ambien dosing arise is because of a law passed in 1977 that restricted women of childbearing age from participating in trials. The 1977 law was passed because of an incident in Europe where pregnant women were given an anti-nausea medication, called Thalidomide, which led to significant birth defects. After that, the FDA banned women of “childbearing age” from participating in clinical trials, and going forward women were not included in studies researching disease, pharmaceuticals, or treatments. This was partially reversed in 1983, and then more fully reversed in 1985, when thoughtful recommendations regarding the study of women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, were released. Although there have been some great strides in this area, and more women than ever before are represented in clinical trials, women are still underrepresented in medical research.  What does this mean for you and your health? Be aware that as a woman the medical problems, medications, and the treatments may not have been studied on other women. Keep in mind that some diseases affect women differently and that women may not get appropriate treatment as quickly as a man might. Be cognizant that some diseases affect women more than men, and because of that, may not be as well studied as other diseases. Discuss this with your doctor. Advocate for yourself. And have faith that the medical community, the FDA and the National Institute of Health (NIH) are all actively working the resolve the sex disparity. For more information on the women’s initiative at the NIH, and for information on what health initiatives they are specifically studying at this time, visit orwh.od.nih.gov  Dr. Katherine Sage is an Orthopaedic surgeon. She likes to write about medicine, science, and women’s place in the universe.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019





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esides the ubiquitous “pumpkin spice,” nothing says “autumn” more than tart cranberries. Cranberries are a major component of Thanksgiving feasts, turning up alongside and atop turkey as well as in quick breads and desserts. Cranberries are loaded with health benefits, which include reducing the risk for ulcers and preventing gum disease. Also, just eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail contains 137 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Cranberries can even be used to craft great cocktails. Move over mulled ciders, this crisp “Cranberry Margarita” from The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association makes a great autumn-inspired beverage.

Cranberry Margarita Serves 1 1 1⁄2 1 1⁄4 1⁄2 10

shots of tequila shot of cranberry juice cocktail cup of whole berry cranberry sauce shot of triple sec ice cubes Sweetened dried cranberries, for garnish Lime, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and frosty. Serve garnished with dried cranberries and a lime wheel.

Cocktails for Autumn Entertaining COURTESY OF MCC


assail is a hot, mulled cider that was traditionally consumed while wassailing, a ritual of Medieval English Christmas and Twelfth Night celebrations. Wassail can be made in many different ways, depending on one’s tastes. But cider is an integral ingredient in most wassail recipes. Home cocktail creators can use this basic recipe and modify as they see fit.

Wassail Serves 8 to 10 1⁄2 2 1⁄4 8 4 1

gallon apple cider cups orange juice or pineapple juice cup lemon juice whole cloves cinnamon sticks cup orange juice Whiskey, if desired

Add all ingredients to a large pot over medium heat. Allow to boil. Reduce and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain out the cloves and cinnamon sticks. For an alcoholic drink, add whiskey to desired taste. Wassail is traditionally served out of a communal punch bowl, but can also be presented in individual mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


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At Your Service:



hen Ron and Linda Baker met Sawyer five years ago, they didn’t know just how much their lives would change.

“It is so dramatically different before Sawyer compared to after his arrival,” Ron expressed. Sawyer is a golden retriever who came into the Baker’s lives via PAWS With A Cause, a nonprofit based in Wayland that custom trains service dogs for people with physical disabilities, seizure response dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs for children with autism.

“Out in public, he is a marvelous icebreaker. A lot of people are hesitant and don’t know what to say to someone in a wheelchair. Sawyer is a conversation in and of itself.” — LINDA BAKER


PAWS provides its services at no cost to its clients. For the fifth year in a row, the organization received a fourstar rating from Charity Navigator, a charity assessment tool created to assist donors in making informed giving decisions. Ratings are allocated based on financials and transparency; PAWS ranks in the top 13 percent of charities nationally for demonstrating strength in these areas. In its 40 year span, the nonprofit has impacted thousands of families just like the Bakers. Today, Linda and Sawyer are one of 420 active PAWS teams — the term for an individual and their service dog — across the nation. Linda was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 36 years ago. She has spent 17 of those years in a wheelchair, as what she describes as “totally disabled.” Before Sawyer, Linda improvised to perform simple tasks — such as closing a door — around her physical limitations.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

PAWS With A Cause “I truly believe that every single person brings something to the world and has something to offer. Our responsibility as a society is to make sure they can offer that by removing barriers.” —MICHELE SUCHOVSKY, CEO OF PAWS WITH A CAUSE

“I could open a door, but not close it,” she said. “I would take a stretchy belt in my mouth, tie it to the door, and once I went outside, it would fling shut behind me. In an emergency, that wouldn’t work.” In addition to the physical tasks Sawyer performs, such as opening and closing doors and retrieving objects, his presence in public acts as a point of connection between Linda and curious strangers. “Out in public, he is a marvelous icebreaker,” Linda expressed. “A lot of people are hesitant and don’t know what to say to someone in a wheelchair. Sawyer is a conversation in and of itself.” Michele Suchovsky was appointed CEO of Paws With A Cause in November of 2018. She has an extensive background in nonprofit management and was long familiar with the organization; in college, one of her closest friends had a PAWS dog. “That was my first introduction to PAWS,” Suchovsky expressed. “I really got to see the difference a service dog can make.” PAWS dogs are bred, raised and trained to focus on the needs of one person. From birth, puppies are provided with a supportive environment and, at just 1-2 weeks, engage in enrichment activities with volunteers. At 8-weeks old, they are placed with a foster family who raises them for 12-14 months. From there, the dog enters the PAWS Prison Partners Program, in which they are paired with a qualifying inmate to undergo an established training curriculum. At 18-20 months, dogs are evaluated for physical health and temperament to determine if they are suited for a life of service. “To be an assistance dog, they have to be totally focused on their person,” Suchovsky noted. “It is like a switch is flipped. They are still a dog — they still like to play — but when you need that dog, that dog is right there for you. They will drop everything to be there for you.” Indeed, as the Bakers were interviewed for this article in their home, Sawyer remained at Linda’s side, glancing up at her every so often as if to see if she needed anything. “They have a flexible but unbreakable bond,” Ron said. “He always puts her first.” PAWS employs eight trainers, each responsible for anywhere from 4-10 dogs a day. During training, the dogs engage in enrichment activities, which can include anything from playing in the yard to practicing quiet behavior while other dogs train. Outside of basic obedience, all PAWS dogs are trained to perform five core tasks: retrieving, tugging, touching (touching something with their nose), paw behavior (touching something with their paw), and resisting pressure. Those commands translate to the variety of tasks the dogs perform for their human.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

Shari Murdock is a PAWS senior trainer and has been with the organization for 14 years.

began verbally engaging the dog to play fetch with him, and he had never spoken before.”

“I love working with the dogs when they have an ‘a-ha’ moment — when you’ve been teaching them this core behavior and extend it into what they are going to do to help someone, and the dog goes, ‘Oh! That’s what you wanted me to do!’” Murdock said.

While the Bakers waited four years for Sawyer, PAWS now implements an open enrollment period, which has cut the wait time down to 1-2 years.

The PAWS campus is complete with a kennel that shelters up to 50 dogs, a training floor and a mock apartment in which they practice tasks such as turning light switches on and off, opening refrigerator doors and retrieving objects off countertops. Trainers also take dogs into public areas their human may need to visit often, including grocery stores, doctor’s offices, parks and even city buses. The dog’s final months of training are tailored to the individual they will be placed with; as Suchovsky points out, the needs of a 65-year-old retiree are much different than that of a younger client who may be spending a lot of time at work or school. “We take into account the person’s schedule — if they are working or at home for eight hours a day, if they have children, if they are going to a lot of kid’s sporting events — it’s very thorough,” Murdock explained. Suchovsky says the impact of a PAWs dog is often immediate. “Usually, within 24 hours, we hear back from people about how wonderful it is,” Suchovsky said. “We hear dramatic differences from families with children with autism. It can transform a family’s life so fast.” Although Linda’s physical limitations are extreme, the Bakers hesitated to look into getting a service dog. “You always think there is someone out there who will need it more than you will,” Linda said. “I didn’t want to take a dog away from someone who really needed it.” After going to a PAWS open house and witnessing the dogs in action, they signed up for the waiting list. For three consecutive years, they received a call updating them on where Linda was on the waiting list. Then, in the fourth year, they received their annual call, expecting to be told again that it still wasn’t quite time. “It was a different call,” Ron smiled. “They said they thought they had a dog for Linda. It was so exciting and nerve-wracking — it felt like we were going to bring a baby home from the hospital.” Murdock says that the moment a client meets their dog is often an extraordinary one to witness. “The ultimate is when the dog and the client meet, and they connect, and they know there is going to be a difference in their life,” she said. “One boy immediately

As Linda’s caretaker, Ron is deeply impacted by Sawyer’s presence in their lives. “What he has done is taken this humdrum, mundane and repetitious day-to-day and makes it brighter,” Ron said. “He always has a smile. He brings a color to the house we haven’t had in years.” The peace of mind that Linda is safe with Sawyer by her side brings with it the gift of autonomy — something the Baker’s lives were greatly lacking. “It has allowed me the ability to leave the house and get involved in some things on my own,” Ron expressed. “It’s been wonderful. I can go to the bank or the grocery store — I even volunteered somewhere for a while — and not worry. Linda added, “I strongly suggest getting a dog if it will benefit you. It is wonderful. It makes you feel safe.” After a dog and person are paired, PAWS continues to support the team by providing one-on-one training to help them pass their certification test. They continue to check in with the team annually and help with any additional tasks a dog may need to perform for their human as their disability progresses. The Bakers say this level of commitment to their clients is what makes PAWS a stand-out organization. “They are very caring people,” Ron said. “We want to be apart of that. The organization is always so responsive, and they really care — it shines through in everything they do, and that is why they get that four-star rating.” Both Murdock and Suchovsky say that the feeling of impacting lives is an immeasurable reward for the work they do. “I truly believe that every single person brings something to the world and has something to offer,” Suchovsky expressed. “Our responsibility as a society is to make sure they can offer that by removing barriers.” To learn more or get involved, visit pawswithacause.org. When she is not editing for WLM, Elyse enjoys traveling to far off lands, taking photos, listening to live music and spinning records.




hen Uniqua Sparks first learned about welding, she was working as a housekeeper at a local hotel and looking for higher-paying job opportunities.

“It was early January, and we had just lost our home because I couldn’t keep up with the rent,” Sparks said. The mother of three had just been forced out of her home and was staying at a shelter with her children. “Someone from the Women’s Resource Center reached out to me and told me about a free introduction to welding program at Grand Rapids Community College,” Sparks said.

of 10 community colleges in the nation to receive the grant from a partnership between Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges. “I really didn’t know anything about welding until I got into the program, and now I don’t want to leave,” she said. “I am fighting for it.”  She adds that she wants to attain a certification in the welding trade. 



As a Metallica Scholars graduate, Sparks earned a certification in Occupational Safety and Health

October semester, but I am definitely going back to school so that I can succeed in my career.” Sparks currently works at a local grocery store making minimum wage and has to live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. “I am not able to work for a good pay to be able to raise my children, to be able to keep a stable home,” she expressed. “Rent has been raised in Grand Rapids so much that it’s hard to find anything where you are able to live in while working minimum wage.”  Sparks’ experience matches local data According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), an individual must make at least $20.98 per hour working a full-time job to afford a three-bedroom apartment at market rate in the Grand Rapids area — far more than Michigan’s $9.45 minimum wage.

“Being able to know that I have the power to put things together through welding makes me feel powerful.” — Uniqua Sparks Soon after that, Sparks enrolled in the first cohort of Metallica Scholars Introduction to Welding at Grand Rapids Community College. Welding is the process of joining pieces of metal by fusing them together. “The table and chair you are sitting at were most likely put together through welding,” Sparks explained. “Being able to know that I have the power to put things together through welding makes me feel powerful.”  The 8-week course was funded by a $100,000 grant from the heavy metal band Metallica, and Sparks was not required to pay anything to enroll. GRCC was one


Administration, which prepares her for entry-level welding jobs. Although entry-level welding jobs pay between $14 to $18 dollars per hour, she says she’s had a hard time finding employment. “Most employers want a certified welder with experience reading blueprints and a list of other things that we weren’t taught in the program,” Sparks expressed. But despite her current financial hardships, Sparks says she hasn’t given up on becoming a welder. “I have to pay GRCC $1,400, and I am working toward that,” she said. “I want to enroll in the one year welding certificate program, and I might not be able to take the

“Its a constant battle for women to get the same wages as men, and its harder to be a black woman because we don’t get paid as well as anyone else does,” Sparks explained. Today, Sparks says she dreams of becoming a construction welder.  “I know I will succeed and become a welder who gets to weld small pieces on buildings to make a structure. For any women or anyone struggling, I want them to remember that nothing lasts forever.” 

Michelle Jokisch Polo is a Grand Rapidian transplant from El Salvador & Ecuador. She is passionate about creating spaces where intersectionality is encouraged and marginalized voices are elevated.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019



Nonprofit Supports Families Experiencing Homelessness BY MEGAN SARNACKI


n recent years, Grand Rapids’ population has been booming; according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Kent County ranked number one among the 83 counties in Michigan for population gains between 2017 and 2018. The Grand Rapids metro area also grew 9,079 from 2017.

“We can’t ask each family to go through the same exact steps,” O’Keefe said. “Whatever that families identifies as their need or the things they want to work on, we’re going to help them with that.”

But with population growth comes higher housing costs.

While other organizations have split up families based on gender in the past, keeping families intact is a vital aspect to Family Promise of Grand Rapids.

“Families are getting priced out of the market,” Kate O’Keefe, Family Promise of Grand Rapids’ director of development and community engagement, said. “Families who’ve lived here for years can no longer afford to live here.”

“We know that when families are experiencing homelessness, it’s already a very traumatic time,” she expressed. “Having to split up a family is just unthinkable — I can’t tell you how important that is to the family. Keeping them together is really part of the solution.”

While the average rent in Kent County is $1,100 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to O’Keefe, some families cannot make it work, despite having parents working multiple jobs.

According to Family Promise, 90% of families they serve find a new home and 85% of those remain housed two years later. But O’Keefe wants families to know the organization does not just walk away after rehousing services are complete. It also provides the option of inhome case management services to families, where the organization helps problem solve and connect them with the necessary resources.

“We don’t have enough affordable housing in our community,” O’Keefe said. “Even if a family finds an apartment that’s for rent, there’s a list of 50 people ahead of them. We’ve seen the number of families who are falling into homelessness on the rise every year.” Based on the average family that O’Keefe sees, consisting of a single mother with two kids, the hourly rate that a parent must earn to support their family is $28.56, according to the Living Wage Calculation for Kent County, Michigan. That total cost, however, is more than three times the rate of Michigan’s minimum wage. “People don’t realize just how many homeless families there are in our community,” O’Keefe said. O’Keefe says she often sees stereotypes associated with being homeless. Because of this, not everyone is educated on what homelessness looks like in West Michigan. “Many times, when people think of homelessness and our community, they don’t think about children,” she expressed. “But children are the new face of homelessness.” Intending on being the first entry point for families in need, Family Promise of Grand Rapids provides more than 100 families with emergency shelter. Because every family has different needs, the organization also aids in rehousing services and basic needs assistance, such as finding better employment, transportation, school supplies and appointments with local physicians.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

“The best part of our experience was the human touch — the listening and spending time with us,” a West Michigan mother who received assistance from Family Promise of Grand Rapids said. Getting to know these resilient families has also inspired O’Keefe to inform the community about how housing instability can affect everyone. “All of us are one step away from a crisis,” O’Keefe said. “These families are just like you and me. They’re hardworking moms and dads who love their kiddos, but simply can’t afford the cost of living right now. It doesn’t matter what your family makeup is, that’s what we’re here for.” To learn more, visit familypromisegr.org. Megan Sarnacki is a Grand Rapids writer who enjoys crafting stories through multimedia platforms and learning about leaders making a difference in the community.

“Having to split up a family is just unthinkable — I can’t tell you how important that is to the family. Keeping them together is really part of the solution.” —KATE O’KEEFE, Family Promise of Grand Rapids’ director of development and community engagement





or 35 years, Make-a-Wish Michigan has been supporting families of children battling critical illness by granting wishes. While families figure out how to adjust and manage during this chaotic, dark and lonely time, Make-a-Wish Michigan steps in to bring joy. Make-a-Wish Michigan granted its first wish in 1984 to Joshua, an 11-year-old from Tecumseh who wanted to go to Walt Disney World. There were 14 more wishes granted that year, and the numbers only grew as time went on. President and CEO of Make-a-Wish Michigan Karen Davis said more than 900 wishes have been granted in the last two years alone, with the 10,000th wish taking place earlier this year. “It’s definitely an exciting time for us,” Davis said, who has been with MAWM for 27 years. “It’s a time of great reflection looking back over 35 years.” There are 60 Make-a-Wish chapters nationally, and each is a separate nonprofit that doesn’t receive federal or state funding. All donations made come from the community and stay in the community. “Any donations that are made to Make-aWish Michigan, stay in Michigan and are used to grant the wishes of our Michigan kids,” Davis said. “It’s our local kids that their contributions are helping and making a change in these children’s lives.”


One of those very kids, Ellie Andrus Wilcox, now works for MAWM as the senior director of leadership giving. Andrus Wilcox was born and raised in Grand Rapids. When she was 17, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She immediately started testing and chemotherapy at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “I was in the midst of planning my college plans, and then it got put to the wayside to figure out what my next steps were going to be,” Andrus Wilcox said. “It was all about survival.” She went on to do three years of chemotherapy, and, after some time, she qualified to get a wish. She said she thought long and hard about what she wanted to do, and finally decided on spending a week in Hawaii with her family. “A cancer diagnosis doesn’t just affect the patient; it affected my siblings; it affected my parents,” Andrus Wilcox said. “The memories that we were creating as a family weren’t the ones I was hoping … instead, our memories were a little more focused on the hospital, and I wanted something that I could give back to my family.” Andrus Wilcox was cured of leukemia after her chemotherapy ended, and she eventually went to Grand Rapids Community College and then Western


Michigan University, where she got a bachelor’s in family studies and child development. Later, she got her master’s degree from WMU in family studies and communications. Using her own personal experience and wanting to give back, Andrus Wilcox reunited with Make-aWish Michigan, this time as an employee. “I just really enjoyed the feeling of giving back to an organization that gave me so much hope,” Andrus Wilcox said. “The wish provided me with such an amazing outlook and was that tool that I needed to keep battling through treatment and know that I have this amazing strength and the hope that once I got through these treatments, I could go on this amazing trip.”

One 6-year-old boy, Stephen Junior — or S.J. — recently got to go on his wish trip after a lifelong battle with ten different heart defects. S.J. has had three open-heart surgeries and will eventually need a heart transplant. His mother, Danielle Awwad, said S.J.’s hearts and organs are flipped to the opposite side in his body, with his heart only pumping off of one ventricle instead of two. “We just kind of have been in survival mode,” Awwad said. “Honestly, everybody always says, ‘You’re so strong as parents, I don’t know how you do it,’ but I would hope that any parent would do the same for their child.”

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

“The wish provided me with such an amazing outlook and was that tool that I needed to keep battling through treatment and know that I have this amazing strength and the hope that once I got through these treatments, I could go on this amazing trip.”



The past few years have been a lot for the family of five - Mom, Dad, S.J., 7-yearold Allison and 4-year-old Jacob. S.J.’s wish was to go on a trip to Disney World with his whole family. “It’s just been such a beautiful distraction,” Awwad said. “This wish was more than just a trip. It has really allowed us to get excited about something together as a family without some of the daily worries we have ... It really has helped S.J. get through all the pokes and appointments.” Awwad said S.J. is a “typical kid” who loves Disney, superheroes (he calls his surgical scars his “superhero scars”), baseball, horseback riding, and, after being recently cleared to play by his

doctors, soccer. The family surprised S.J. with the chance to play baseball with Mickey while down in Disney World. But first, S.J. chose to hand out snacks with the flight attendants to the other passengers on the plane. Awwad said he had his heart set on it from the beginning. “I think it’s so cute, because here as an adult, you think of you’re one wish, I don’t think many adults would think of that,” Awwad said. “To me, it was just so pure hearted.” Davis said she hopes people of the community know that anyone can have an impact on these kids by volunteering time, giving financial donations or even in-kind donations. Many wishes are

made possible by donations of time and resources by organizations in the area. “Volunteers are absolutely the backbone of this organization,” Davis said, adding that more than 1,000 volunteers contribute annually to the work of the Michigan chapter. “All donations large and small make a big difference.”

about the trips the kids take or the new, furry puppies, or meeting a really cool celebrity, and we always try to exceed expectations when we deliver those wishes, but the true impact of a wish and the true power of a wish is so much more. It’s from the time a family is referred to us … it’s the anticipation and allowing a child to dream about possibilities.”

“I have learned so much through the years,” Davis said. “A lot of people talk Kayla Sosa is a multimedia journalism student at GVSU. She’s a local freelance writer and enjoys spending time with her husband, her kitty and her family. When she’s not writing, she likes to go on nature walks, do yoga and paint.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019




Women’s Resource Center Offers

New Beginnings for Felons


ast year Teresa Collins spent six months at the Kent County Correctional Facility, becoming one of the hundreds of thousands of people serving a sentence in a Michigan jail for committing a nonviolent crime. Even though arrests across the state have decreased, particularly among young people, tens of thousands of people are still arrested for nonviolent offenses like failure to appear in court, marijuana possession and shoplifting. When Collins went into Kent County, she says she went into her sentence focused on completing her time. “I wanted to get in and get out,” she expressed.  But the more time she spent in jail getting acquainted with the resources and opportunities offered, she says she realized she needed to reinvent herself.  “Who I was and what I was doing wasn’t working,” she said. It was then that Collins went out of her way to get got connected with Julie Harper Shears, the program director with New Beginnings. “She didn’t judge me,” Collins said. “She told me about the program and gave me the opportunity to learn.” New Beginnings is a program of the Women’s Resource Center that serves women at Kent County Jail by providing


one-on-one mentoring, individualized employment plans and professional and life skill development.

More than 400 women have benefitted from the program, of who have secured employment, according to the latest data provided by the Women’s Resource Center.



The program began seven years ago when the organization was selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to pilot a program for women transitioning to life after incarceration. Since then, more than 400 women have benefitted from the program, 85% percent of who have secured employment, according to the latest data provided by the Women’s Resource Center. “We work on soft skills, too, because those are really important to employees,” Harper-Shears, explained.  Harper-Shears says the idea is to help women stay connected and receive support after they leave jail, so they can find employment, access housing or go back to school. “When you go to jail, you are no longer a person,” Collins shared. “You are no longer a human being. You are just a number. All the luxuries that you had, like being able to change your underwear, or your bra, or socks — you no longer have that because you are in jail.” Since Collins has been released, she and Harper-Shears have been working on interview and self-advocacy skills. Although Collins hasn’t found employment yet, she says she feels hopeful that something will come through. “I know it will take time, but at this point

I will take whatever comes my way,” Collins explained. When asked to describe herself in five words, Collins answers with: friendly, ambitious, hardworking, reliable and loyal — the words she says she hopes employers focus on instead of on the mistakes she has made.  Collins’ experience matches national data that says job applicants with criminal records are much less likely to obtain a job in the formal economy. Six months after release, 50 to 80% of formerly incarcerated people are not employed in the legitimate labor market, according to recent data from Justice Quarterly. 

prisons each year, finding a job isn’t easy, especially with a gap in employment history and a criminal record. “Just because you have a history, or you are titled a felon doesn’t make you a monster or malicious or are we negative or are we pissed off at the world,” Collins explained. “We are not – that’s just something that happened. I am trying to move forward. Help us move forward.”  To learn more about the New Beginnings Program and the Women’s Resource Center, visit the grwrc.org.

For those like Collins, on probation or parole, obtaining employment is a condition for staying out of jail or prison, but for many who are leaving jail and

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

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You may have periods of slowing down or have to get accustomed to certain things, but life does not stop and neither do you.” — JOCELYN DETTLOFF

Nothing Stops Her Jocelyn Dettloff Pursues Adventure and Advocates for Mobility Equity BY MEGAN SARNACKI PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELYSE WILD


ocelyn Dettloff loves to travel — Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Sub-Saharan Africa — almost as much as she loves an adrenaline rush. But after injuring her spinal cord while sledding down a sand dune in Namibia, Africa, Dettloff was hospitalized for three weeks until her family lined up a spot for her at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. “I hit this mound of dirt,” Dettloff said. “It stopped me in my tracks and threw me flying into the air. In seconds, that literally changed my life immensely.” The accident did not prevent Dettloff from living her life; rather, it showed her that everyone faces obstacles. “Everybody has their version of a mound,” she expressed. “It looks different for all people, but we’re all more alike than we are different.” Whether it is working as the annual fund director for Mary Free Bed Foundation, serving on various nonprofit boards throughout the community or sharing her story through speaking engagements and her own book, It Rained in the Desert, Dettloff has made a prominent impact on those she encounters. “Watching Jocelyn in action, whether it’s at work or at play — she is a great tennis player — is an inspiration to both the disabled and able-bodied,” Carol Springer, president of the Mary Free Bed Foundation, said. “She has been a great example of how to face the challenging and life-changing events we may face in life with grace and determination.” Helping people move forward in life drives Dettloff’s advocacy work. After facing an unwanted hurdle, journeying through acceptance helped Dettloff restore not only her strength, but also her mental tenacity. “You can’t change what happened,” Dettloff said. “You have to keep looking ahead. Ruminating on it or wishing things were different is not going to change the situation. I could sit here and wish all day that I could walk again, but that would not have helped me learn how to get dressed again or learn how to move from the chair to the bed.”


According to Dettloff, an issue that remains to be addressed throughout society is the perception and treatment of individuals living with a disability. “I was 26 years old when my accident happened, so I spent a lot of time on this earth as a walking person,” she commented. “The thing that makes me still so angry is how different people who use wheelchairs are treated as opposed to people who can walk. There’s a huge assumption that we need help. But most of the time, we don’t.” Because of this, Dettloff encourages the community to gain a better understanding of disability. “We just want the same things in life that other people want,” Dettloff said. “But the environment still is not step up ideally for people who use wheelchairs or have some other sort of mobility device that they use.” One way to help achieve greater mobility equity is the implementation of user-friendly accessibility. Dettloff often finds ramps and elevators located far from the main entrances of a building; or thick, plush carpeting in hallways, making it more difficult for those with disabilities to get around. Even visiting other people’s homes can introduce mobility challenges since many residential areas only have steps leading up to houses.

But steps do not need to create a division among people. When remodeling or constructing, Dettloff hopes people consider going beyond just the basic accessibility features. “We need to go a step further and focus on design that is more inclusive for all,” Dettloff said Though she never set out to be an advocate, she says by bringing awareness to issues allows communities to have meaningful discussions and create actionable steps for change. In spite of her spinal cord injury, Dettloff continues to chase that high-velocity life. From zip-lining and tandem skydiving to driving a racecar around the Berlin Raceway track, she still enjoys the rush of adrenaline coursing through her veins. She explains that no matter what hurdle you are experiencing, you still can do the things you love. “You may have periods of slowing down or have to get accustomed to certain things, but life does not stop and neither do you.” Megan Sarnacki is a Grand Rapids writer who enjoys crafting stories through multimedia platforms and learning about leaders making a difference in the community.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019




“I never plan; I never sketch it out. You have to really be present because you never know what you’re going to get.” — CALLI WOODRUFF


or artist Calli Woodruff, art is more than just a hobby or even a career — it is a way of life.

“Art should be a lifestyle, and it should be for everyone,” she says confidently. “Practicing innovation makes you a better problem solver … who couldn’t benefit from that?!” Art has always been part of Woodruff’s life. “It’s just who I am,” she said. Her parents are both creative professionals, as well as her two sisters. She grew up flipping through her father’s sketchbooks and observing her mother teach architecture classes. Even so, her shift into making art her profession only happened just recently. After studying graphic art in college, she tried out a vast array of jobs — including working in the Vegas gaming industry for many years — before returning to her roots. “I realized there’s a lot more options, and you have to find opportunities for yourself. I went on every venture to realize I wanted to be a creative” Woodruff moved from Las Vegas to Grand Rapids due to her husband’s job. Initially, she wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of relocating to the Midwest, but, after a visit during ArtPrize, had a change of heart. “This is an art town, I need to move here!” she decided.


Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

And when looking at her recent art, it’s hard to believe that she’s not a Michigan native. Her work evokes the cool waters of Lake Superior, the intricate patterns of Petosky stones, and the moody overcast skies of the Great Lakes State. However, she attributes her inspiration less to her new surroundings and more to the creative process itself. “My biggest inspiration is expressing myself in different creative ways; trying new things every day, big or small,” Woodruff said. “This has helped me access my creativity,” And this personal expression is reflected throughout everything she does. Her Instagram feed features not just her paintings but also insights on fashion, travel, and home life. Woodruff sees her role as an artist is to promote creative living, and each of these components are tied into her philosophy on how art is truly a lifestyle. “I wish people felt like they could explore or express themselves more,” she said. “I want to inspire them to create in any way shape or form — that anything is possible.” Although art has always been a part of her life, Woodruff’s current art practice is relatively new. She made the leap to working as a full-time artist earlier this year and has been booked solid for six months using Instagram as her only channel for marketing commissions. Woodruff modestly describes her overnight success as a stroke of luck, but it is evident why her art is in such high demand — using a combination of fluid acrylics, watercolor, ink, opaque markers and gold leaf, each piece is stunningly original. From forms reminiscent of geodes and multi-faceted stones to fields of abstract gold lines and pools of color, one can easily get lost in the

pattern, texture and rhythm of her work. She describes her creative process as being highly intuitive and all about finding the beauty in chaos. “I never plan; I never sketch it out. You have to really be present because you never know what you’re going to get.” Although her approach to art-making may be freespirited, her work ethic is anything but. She has dedicated studio time each day and recognizes the challenges in being a working artist. “You can do anything you want after being a professional artist because you have to do everything,” she laughed. “You are your own business.” And it is with deeply felt gratitude and passion for creativity that her motivation as a working artist is fueled. “I’m living the American Dream,” she said humbly. “If you put in the hard work, anything is possible. Innovation is not dead. Original thinking is not dead” For more about Calli Woodruff, her art, and her positive vibes, follow her on Instagram at @callmecalli Devin DuMond is a Grand Rapids artist, entrepreneur, and professor who is passionate about cultivating community and empowering women. Find her online at hatchgr.com and grwomenwho.com.

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


November Events Tuesdays and Fridays

Nature Buds. Each Nature Buds program will feature a story, outdoor discovery, and a hands on activity. Blandford Nature Center. 9:3010:30am. Blandfordnaturecenter.org


Local Spins Wednesday. SpeakEZ Lounge. 8pm. speakezlounge.com/events

Wednesdays and Saturdays

Holland Farmers Market. Holland Farmers Market. dowtownholland.com

Fridays and Saturdays

Beer Hunting Season: A Sketch Comedy Show. The Comedy Project. 8-9:30pm. thecomedyproject.com


Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. meijergardens.org

Nov 1

2019 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit. Learn best practices from top companies in our region receiving recognition for their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. JW Marriott Grand Rapids. 7:30-11:30am. grandrapids.org Anjelah Johnson: Technically Not Stalking. Johnson, who has been lauded as “one of the funniest and freshest voices in comedy right now” and whose live performances were described as “filled with almost nonstop laughter” by Time Out Chicago, will embark on her highly-anticipated tour playing to diehard fans. DeVos Performance Hall. 7:30pm. devosperformancehall.com

David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling. David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling presents a colorful survey of the career of one of the most highly acclaimed book illustrators in the world. Grand Rapids Art Museum. artmuseumgr.org

Prehispanic Chef Dinner Series - Dia de los Muertos. Chef Oscar has prepared a delicious and unique 5-course Prehispanic menu and learn about the food and history of this great Mexican holiday. MeXo. 7-9:30pm. mexogr.com

SPECTRA. An interdisciplinary group exhibition that explores theories of abstract art through multiple mediums. Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. uica.org

Nov 1-3

Bodies Revealed. This exhibition features real, whole and partial body specimens that have been preserved through an innovative process, giving visitors the opportunity to view the complexity of their own organs and systems like never before. Grand Rapids Public Museum. grpm.org Rebecca Louise Law: The Womb. This exhibition of new work explores the intimate relationship between humankind and nature.

Día de los Muertos: Honoring Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that honors family and friends who have passed on. Main Library. grpl.org Macabre: Ghosts of Paddock. A new take on the Halloween experience as guests enter a multi-room show spread throughout all three floors of the Paddock Place, a 19th century mansion located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids. Paddock Place. facebook.com/ paddockplacegr

Nov 1-9

LowellArts Theater: Playbytes by

Compiled by editorial staff. We do our best to ensure the accuracy of each listing. Time, date and location of events are subject to change.

Playwrights. A competition and production of 10-minute plays. LowellArts. Friday and Saturday 7pm and Sunday 2pm. lowellartsmi.org

Nov 3

Nov 2

Nov 6

2019 Holiday Gift Show. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Members and the public alike are welcome.This highly anticipated annual event attracts shoppers regionally, so shop early for the best selection. free gift-wrapping included. 9am-5pm. Meijergardens.org River City Improv. Our shows weave skits, games and songs with audience suggestions to create unique entertainment experiences for each show. Peter Wege Auditorium. 7:30pm. Grcmc.org Handworks — a Show of Arts and Crafts. Art Prize award winning Roger MacNaughton will provide live music while shoppers enjoy browsing photography, jewelry, pottery, textiles and more. Forest Hills Presbyterian Church. 9-5pm.handworksada.com Harriet Movie Premiere and Fundraiser. Tickets may also be purchased for $25 directly from GRAAMA by calling George Bayard at 616.540.2943. Celebration! Cinema South. 7-10pm. celebrationcinema.com A Chair Affair. A live auction for one of a kind hand painted chairs by professional artists and a silent auction with dozens of incredible packages of products and services, all donated by local businesses and artists conducted in a lovely gallery setting. LaFontsee Galleries. 6pm. lonfontsee.us 2019 Holiday Gift Show. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. 9am-5pm. Meijergardens.org

Chelsea Handler’s Stand-Up Comedy Tour. 20 Monroe Live. 9pm. 20monroelive.com Culinary Conversations: Bootstrap your Business. Join us for a panel discussion with food business veterans. Start Garden. 5:30-7pm. downtownmarketgr.com Small Sharks in the Big Lake – 2nd Annual. The WISE audience and corporate panel will be introduced to community non-profits who will “pitch the tank” for funding consideration. Rockford Construction. 5:30pm7:30pm. wiseconnections.org Gin Club - Navy-Strength & Sloe Gins. Zoko 822. 6-7pm. zoko822.com/gin-club

Nov 7

We ARE ALL Auction. The event includes live performances from students, interactive art, silent auction, live auction, and a raffle. Goei Center. 6-9:30pm. Artistscreatingtogether.org GR Symphony Presents Symphonie Fantastique With Itzhak Perlman. Itzhak Perlman is joined by Sphinx competition winner Randall Goosby for Bach’s breathtaking Concerto for Two Violins. DeVos Performance Hall. 7:30pm. devosperformancehall.com 11th Annual Jay & Betty Van Andel Legacy Awards Gala. Honoring outstanding leaders who have inspired others by their personal and professional investments in the Grand Rapids and West Michigan community past, present and future. Grand Rapids Public Museum. 5:30pm. Grpm.org Experientials Art Group: Stepping Into the Collage. Lions and Rabbits. 7-9pm. Lionsandrabbits.com

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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

Creativity Uncorked: Tunnel Book Creations. Grand Rapids Art Museum. 6:45-9pm.artmuseumgr.org

Chamber at a pre-show reception with hors d’oeuvres, drinks, networking, and fun as we welcome Disney’s the Lion King to Grand Rapids for the first time ever on opening night. Grand Rapids Chambers. 5:30-7pm. grandrapids.org

Nov 8-10

Nov 20 - Dec 1

Nov 8

Shop ‘Til You Drop. Downtown Holland. 7-10pm. downtownholland.com

GR Symphony Presents Broadway Showstoppers - West Side Story To Wicked. DeVos Performance Hall. Friday and Saturday 7:30pm / Sunday 3pm. devosperformancehall.com

Nov 12

Dear Mom, I’m Gay! “Dear Mom, I’m Gay” is an original musical about a young guy coming out to his religious mother. Dog Story Theater. 7:30-9:30p. Eventbrite.com

Nov 14

A Cabaret Unleashed: An Evening with Chrissy Amon and Robert Byrens. Betty Van Andel Opera Center. 7:309:30pm. operagr.org

Broadway Grand Rapids Presents The Lion King. DeVos Performance Hall. broadwaygrandrapidsl.com

Nov 21

Live at TCP: Queens of Comedy. Beauty Beyond Drag brings some of their funniest queens to the TCP stage for a night full of music, mayhem, and comedy! The Comedy Project. 8 pm. thecomedyproject.com Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center - Great Innovators. St. Cecilia Music Center. 7:30-9:15pm. scmc-online.org

Nov 21-23

Granger Smith. The Intersection. 6:30pm. sectionlive.com

FHN Presents The Little Mermaid. Forest Hills Fine Arts Center. fhfineartscenter.com

Nov 16

Nov 22

Holiday Open House. Stroll the decorated and brightly lit streets filled with holiday carolers, shop for one-of-a-kind gifts while enjoying complimentary refreshments and even sample roasted chestnuts. Downtown Holland. 5-8pm. Downtownholland.com

Nov 17

Michigan Bridal & Wedding Expo. DeltaPlex. 12pm. Deltaplex.com Family Yoga with Well - Bean. Lions and Rabbits. 2-3pm. lionsandrabbits.com

Nov 19

ATHENA Leadership Forum. The ATHENA Leadership Forum fosters and supports the development of strong female leaders in our community. Embassy Suites. 11:30am-1pm. grandrapids.org

Nov 20

Raise The Woof – A Night In Hollywoof. The event will feature a cash bar, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, live music, raffle and silent auction, and an opportunity for attendees to meet some of the rescue dogs Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue is working to save. The Stache. 6:30pm. sectionlive.com

Nov 22-23

Classic Melodies Organ Concert. Hear classic melodies on the GRPM’s 1928 Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ. Grand Rapids Public Museum. 7-9pm. grpm.org

Nov 22-Dec. 22

Lion King at Broadway Grand Rapids. Come celebrate with the Grand Rapids

Elf, The Musical. A modern-day classic about the importance of identity,


different meanings of the word family, and the magical charm of the holiday season. Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. grct.org

cast of incomparable cirque artists and theatrical talent to wow audiences nationwide. Forest Hills Fine Art Center. 6-8pm. fhfineartscenter.com

Nov 23

Nov 26-27

Pioneer Thanksgiving. Join our Historical interpreter in creating a traditional meal like pioneer families from the 1800’s may have prepared. Blandford Nature Center. 1-3:30pm. blandfordnaturecenter.org

Nov 27

Living on the Edge: World in the Balance. Now in its 17th year, “Living on the edge” is a 10-minute play festival. Spectrum Theatre. 8pm. actorstheatregrandrapids.org

A Very Merry Market Day. Downtown Market Second Floor. 10am-5pm. downtownmarketgr.com Kris Allen: 10 Years 1 Night Tour. The Listening Room. 8-10pm. thelisteningroomcafe.com 100 Years of Memories - 2019 Art Van Santa Parade. Downtown Grand Rapids will be filled the sweet sounds of local marching bands, carolers, and local performers. Monroe Ave NW. 9-11am. santaparadegr.com Cirque Dreams Holidaze. Broadway Director Neil Goldberg, has searched the world to assemble the most unique WEEKDAYS


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Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


Pie Crust to be Thankful For. Master a classic pie crust that puts your grandmother’s to shame. Teaching Kitchen. 6-8pm. downtownmarketgr.com Coffee with Cops. The Harris Building. 9:30-11am. facebook.com/littlespacegr

Nov 28

Grand Rapids Turkey Trot 2019. Van Andel Arena. 8-11am. grps.org/ athletics

Nov 29

“Wee” Are Thankful. Participate in a harvest hunt, listen to stories all about thankfulness and sharing, and create a clever craft that highlights the season. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. meijergardens.org

For more event listings,visit womenslifestyle.com.




Cristela Alonzo - “My Affordable Care Act.” Cristela Alonzo made history in 2014 when she became the first Latina to create, produce and star in her own network sitcom, “Cristela” for ABC. Peter Wege Auditorium. 7pm. grcmc.org



Arts & Entertainment:

Event Spotlight


March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

babies in Michigan are born prematurely



his month, join March of Dimes in their mission to improve the health of mothers and babies at one of the most delicious and heartwarming fundraisers of the year: the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction.


babies die before their first birthday

The evening features 20 of the top chefs in Grand Rapids’ flourishing restaurant scene, offering attendees an extensive assortment of gastronomic wonders to enjoy while bidding on exclusive auction packages. Proceeds from the event go toward funding programs, research and services for premature birth in Michigan. Premature birth is defined as a birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy, and more babies die from it than from any other health condition; it affects 1 in 10 births in Michigan. Babies who survive premature birth can face numerous short-term and long-term health defects, such as cardiovascular, cognitive, gastrointestinal, blood, immune, metabolism issues and more.


are born in a birth defect


What: March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction When: Monday, Nov. 11, 5-7pm Where: Steelcase Ballroom, DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW Cost: $250/person

The Signature Chefs Auction is a pivotal fundraising event for March of Dimes, as nearly the entire evening is made possible by the benevolence of those involved. The chefs donate their time, talent, staff and supplies; 150 volunteers pool their efforts the day of; and more than a dozen sponsors come together to alleviate the cost of production, ensuring the majority of funds raised go directly to the cause. This year’s lineup features several returning chefs, such as Amore Trattoria’s Jenna Arcidiacono, Trimmell Hawkins

from Forty Acres Soul Kitchen, MeXo’s Oscar Moreno; and newcomer to the event, Danielle Scott of Lucy’s Cafe. For Scott, participating in the event hits close to home; she was born a month premature, and at one point, her heart stopped. “It’s feels great to participate — it’s like my life has come full circle,” she expressed. As the city’s culinary scene continues to grow, drawing talent and attention on a national level, Scotts says events like the Signature Chefs Auction allows local chefs the rare occasion to converge for a good cause. “I would like to see us all come together more,” she said. “I am looking forward to the collaboration of [Signature Chefs]. Scott is one of two women chefs participating in Signature Chefs, and she is happy to create visibility for this historically underrepresented group in the culinary industry. “I am excited to represent women chefs,” she said. “We need more.” This year’s event takes place in the DeVos Place Steelcase Ballroom, with chefs positioned at stations around the room. Auction packages include an autographed painting of the band KISS, created live at the Van Andel Arena during the band’s farwell tour kickoff. Purchase ticket at signaturechefs.marchofdimes.org.

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019







6 signature events, 17 inspiring seasons






Water on the Mind: A Baroque Musical Journey











An evening with Ellen Bass and Kevin Young THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 6 P.M. ROBERT C. PEW GRAND RAPIDS CAMPUS


Water: A Vision in Dance MONDAY, OCTOBER 28, 7:30 P.M. ALLENDALE CAMPUS


Jill Lepore: American History from Beginning to End TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 6 P.M. ROBERT C. PEW GRAND RAPIDS CAMPUS

HOLIDAY CELEBRATION Beloved Songs of the Season


Check gvsu.edu/fallarts for event details. Media Sponsor:








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Dec. 13-15 & 20-22, 2019 | DeVos Performance Hall | 616.454.4771 x10 | grballet.com/nutcracker Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker; photo by Tim Motley

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


Arts & Entertainment:

Event Spotlight

Let Them Sing: Girls Choral Academy Annual Benefit BY AUTUMN LAU | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELLE WISE


iving young girls a voice in society is important, especially today, and what better way to do that than through singing? Enter: Girls Choral Academy, an after school and on campus choir program for girls from ages 4-18.

“The Grandville Avenue Girls Choir is a completely free program, but there is a large cost associated with that so we rely on donors and grants in order for these girls to have the program available for them,” said Angela DeVries, Development Director of the Girls Choral Academy.

“We are mainly about empowering girls to find their voice, and finding community to experience music education but in a very supportive atmosphere,” explained Lori Tennenhouse, Executive Director/ Artistic Director of the Girls Choral Academy.

Proceeds from the benefit will go toward scholarships, so more girls have the opportunity to join the choir.

One compenent of the academy is the Grandville Avenue Girls Choir, a free choir program for girls from thirdfifth grade. On Nov. 12, the Girls Choral Academy is hosting their annual Let Their Voice be Heard 2019 Benefit to raise money for the Grandville Avenue program.

“Our campus choir has a more competitive tuition and audition fee, so we do offer scholarships, and I believe over one-third of the girls receive scholarships so that funding comes from fundraising events like this one, to help more girls be involved in choir,” DeVries said. DeVries added that the event allows the girls to showcase their skills. “It’s a great opportunity for our girls to perform and showcase their talent and

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Intuitive / Psychic Readers ~ Reiki and Energy Therapy The Rev. Vivian Love Kyle • Intuitive Angel Reader

Proceeds from the benefit will go toward scholarships, so more girls have the opportunity to join the choir.

for us to tell the story of what we are as an organization and for our donors to see the girls performing,”she said. Each year the Girls Choral Academy chooses an inspiring woman from the community to honor. This year, they are honoring Christina Arnold. “She possesses an equity in community activism and in lifting up young people and in empowering those that maybe don’t have as big a voice in our community, and she has done that over and over again and we thought that she was the perfect person,” Tennenhouse said. Tickets are available online at girlschoralacademy.org.

Intuitive artist and counselor who channels messages from the angelic realm. Her clients receive insights and guidance from those entities and spirits with which they are surrounded. Vivian is a 5th generation medium who continues the legacy as teacher, spiritual counselor, and healer. www.loveisvictorious.com

Eugenia Marve • Psychic • Medical Intuitive • Medium

What: “Let Their Voice Be Heard” Benefit When: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 5:30-8:00 p.m. Where: Watermark Country Club Cost: $100

Awarded educator, workshop facilitator, Psychic over 45 years. Gives clients information about relationships, economics, health and those not present. International and national phone or Skype readings available. God is her foundation. www.marvecreations.com

Margaret Newman Nickelsen • Psychic Reader

Over 40 years experience reading for people from all walks of life. Each reading is unique, personal, in an atmosphere of calm assurance. Margaret is a certified Spiritual Director. Your Divine Self guides your reading. www.jokersjourney.com

Beth Ann Townsend • Traditional Healing & Educator

Beth offers Craniosacral, Reiki, Traditional Healing Modalities and Energy Therapies creating an integrative approach to wellness. She has studied and practiced with Traditional Elders for over 35 years. www.healingtraditionsgr.com

Call (616) 456-9889 to Schedule

$40 for 1/2 hour reading, $80 1 hour. Gift certificates available.

spirit dreams

1430 Lake Drive SE • Grand Rapids, MI 49506 • www.spiritdreamsgr.com HOURS: M-F 10-6 • Wed 10-7 • Sat 10-5 • Sun 11-4


Jingle, Jingle come sip, shop & mingle

December 5, 2019 5:00 − 7:30pm

Cascade Country Club, 3725 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI Ticket Price: $70 (includes heavy hors d' oeuvres and two drink tickets)

Thank You Sponsors onsors or ors

Learn more & register now at growbusiness.org/sparkle

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

Arts & Entertainment:

Event Spotlight



n a day and age where celebrating women is becoming the norm, the YWCA has been a longstanding pillar in supporting the efforts of female leaders. For more than 40 years now, YWCA West Central Michigan has honored women through the YWCA Tribute Awards, an annual event that recognizes women who have made meaningful contributions to the community. “The Tribute Awards began in 1977, and that was a time when the organization said ‘We want to have these formal celebrations honoring the great work that women are doing in all types of industries and sectors in

What: YWCA Tribute Awards When: Wednesday, Nov. 13, noon-1:30 p.m. Where: DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Avenue NW Cost: $65

theater troupes, who have taken it upon themselves to provide arts education in underserved communities,” Mitchell said. “In advocacy, we have recognized female law enforcement officers who have really taken it upon themselves to be strong advocates for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.”

the community,’” said CEO, Charisse Mitchell. “It’s probably one of the longest running, largest celebrations of women, and we’re thrilled to see so many more pop up, because we should all have opportunities to celebrate women in all the great work they do.” This year’s awards will take place on Nov. 13 at DeVos Place. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., guests will have time to network prior to the formal luncheon, which will take place at noon. During the luncheon, guests will get the opportunity to learn about the unique story behind each award recipient through videos and awards presentations. Awards are granted in seven different categories, including advocacy, arts, business management, industry & labor; community service, professions; sports, fitness & wellness; and student. While criteria varies from each category, recipients go through an extensive review process during which the selection committee looks for specific

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

Since its conception, over 250 women have been honored with a Tribute Award, but the spotlight doesn’t just fall on seasoned professionals. Even young women are recognized for their leadership through student scholarships, like the Judy Lloyd Student Leadership Award Scholarship and the YWCA Helen Claytor Achievement Scholarship.

contributions they have made as leaders in their respective industries.

“I often say at the end of the event, ‘I want to be them when I grow up,’” Mitchell said. “They’re doing things at 16 and 17 that most of us would never have thought or aspire to do so early.”

“[In the arts community] we’ve had women who have started their own

Tickets can be purchased at ywcawcmi. org/upcoming-events/tribute-awards.



See more photos at womenslifestyle.com/party-pics 30th Annual Athena • Grand Rapids Chamber • September 19, 2019 • JW Marriott • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

7th Annual Purse Auction • Woman’s Life • September 19, 2019 • Watermark Country Club • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

VITALity Gala • Metro Health Foundation • September 21, 2019 • DeVos Place • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

5 Year Celebration Dinner • I Understand Love Heals • September 25, 2019 • Frederick Meijer Gardens • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Public Meeting & Community Reception • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority • September 30, 2019 • Richard DeVos Center GVSU • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

VIP Reception • Kids Food Basket • October 2, 2019 • Kids Food Basket • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Submit your event coverage request at womenslifestyle.com/photos 36

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

COMPUTER CLASSES Basic Computer Maintenance Tuesday, November 5 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Main Library 111 Library Street NE

Backup Basics: How to Secure Your Data Tuesday, November 12 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Main Library 111 Library Street NE

Intro to Coding Workshop

YWCA TRIBUTE AWARDS LUNCHEON Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Noon to 1:30 p.m. DeVos Place | Downtown Grand Rapids To make luncheon reservations, visit ywcawcmi.org/tribute or call 616-426-3716


Provided in collaboration with the City of Grand Rapids SmartZone and Grand Rapids Public Library. Registration is required: www.grpl.org/register-coding

ADVOCACY – DANA DOLL Co-founder and Executive Director Treetops Collective

Tuesday, November 12 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Main Library 111 Library Street NE

ARTS – MIRANDA KRAJNIAK Executive Director Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

Internet Privacy: Protecting Yourself in the Digital Age

BUSINESS, MANAGEMENT, INDUSTRY, & LABOR – VALISSA ARMSTEAD Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Spectrum Health

Tuesday, November 19 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Main Library 111 Library Street NE

Social Media Privacy: Taking Control of Your Profiles Tuesday, November 26 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Main Library 111 Library Street NE

COMMUNITY SERVICE – MISTI STANTON Assistant Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Mercantile Bank PROFESSIONS – MICHELLE RABIDEAU President Saint Mary’s Foundation SPORTS, FITNESS, & WELLNESS – JEWELLYNNE RICHARDSON West Michigan Jewels of Africa, One Stop Culture Shop STUDENT HONOREE & YWCA JUDY LLOYD SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT – MIDIAN JOHNSON City High School

CLASSES ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 616.988.5400 WWW.GRPL.ORG/COMPUTER Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019

Special thanks to our Title Sponsor:


See more photos at womenslifestyle.com/party-pics Grand Opening Event • Studio C • October 2, 2019 • Studio C • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

5 Year Anniversary • Latina Network • October 2, 2019 • Goei Center • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Wine, Women, Chocolate • Women’s Resource Center • Cascade Hills Country Club • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Top 25 Latinx • Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan • October 10, 2019 • Goei Center • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Rock the Runway • Girl Get Your Fight Back • October 12, 2019 • One Church • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Seeds of GROWth • Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women • October 15, 2019 • JW Marriott • Photos by Two Eagles Marcus

Submit your event coverage request at womenslifestyle.com/photos 38

Women’s LifeStyle Magazine • November 2019


Kick off the holiday season with local finds you’ll feel great about in a community you love to support. This year Uptown’s Holiday Shop Hop will feature a tree lighting, carolers, Santa Clause, Santa Paws, live music, special business promotions, and more! Experience our vibrant and welcoming district and return to your favorite spots for season-long promotions.


uptowngr.com @UptownGR


■ Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano ■ Aperitivo ■ Bistro Bella Vita ■ Brewery Vivant ■ Byron Center Meats ■ Essence Group ■ Ferris Coffee & Nut ■ Field & Fire ■ Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company ■ Grove ■ Malamiah Juice Bar ■ Railside Golf Club ■ Reserve Wine & Food ■ Terra GR ■ The B.O.B. ■ The Cheese Lady Grand Rapids - CHZ Enterprise ■ The Green Well


■ Arie Nol Auto Center ■ Community Automotive Repair ■ Harvey Automotive, Cadillac, Lexus, Auto Outlet ■ Pfeiffer Lincoln


■ Art of the Table ■ Bill & Paulʼs Sporthaus ■ Frames Unlimited ■ Schuler Books ■ Spirit Dreams ■ Stonesthrow ■ Supermercado Mexico ■ Switchback Gear Exchange ■ The Shade Shop


■ A-1 Locksmith ■ EPS Security ■ Gerritʼs Appliance ■ Gordon Water ■ Morris Builders ■ Nawara Brothers Home Store ■ Rockford Construction ■ Tazzia Lawn Care ■ Verhey Carpets


■ Innereactive ■ The Image Shoppe ■ Womenʼs LifeStyle Magazine


■ Grand Rapids Community Media Center (GRCMC) ■ Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) ■ Grand Rapids Public Library ■ Neighbors Development ■ Slow Food West Michigan ■ The Rapid ■ West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC)

PET PRODUCTS & SERVICES ■ Chow Hound Pet Supplies


■ AgeWise Eldercare Solutions ■ Design 1 Salon Spa ■ Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness ■ Grand Rapids Wellness ■ Grand Ridge Orthodontics ■ Mommas Home ■ The hairport ■ The Village Doula GR

FINANCIAL & LEGAL ■ Lucy Shair Financial ■ United Bank

TRAVEL & LODGING ■ Breton Travel ■ Countryside Tours ■ Witte Travel

When you support a locally owned business, more resources stay in the community and get reinvested in the economy.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ■ Celebration Cinema ■ Community Circle Theatre ■ Frames Unlimited ■ Glitter Booth Photo Booth ■ Grand Rapids Art Museum ■ Grand Rapids Civic Theatre ■ Grand Rapids Public Museum ■ LaFontsee Galleries ■ LowellArts ■ River City Improv ■ ShowSpan, Inc. ■ The Ruse Escape Room ■ Triumph Music Academy


LOCAL FIRST means PEOPLE FIRST Communities thrive when the economy puts people first.

■ Ball Park Floral & Gifts ■ Eastern Floral ■ Romence Gardens

Local First •345 Fuller Avenue NE • GR, MI 49503 • (616) 808-3788 • www.localfirst.com

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Women's LifeStyle Magazine - November 2019  

Women's LifeStyle Magazine - November 2019