Mercy Health

Quality Tool and Stamping

Shon Cook Law Offices in Whitehall

Thursday, November 12, 2020

500 Toys for Christmas - Keysha McClanahan and Friends Are Out to Make the Holidays Brighter

 

What a year.  No matter how we look back on 2020 in the future "remarkable" will have to be one of the words that gets kicked around.  From the problems we've had with the pandemic to how we've struggled with dealing with it, our political differences, our unsure futures, who we've lost, what we've lost and why....this will be etched in our minds.  It's been over 100 years since such times and let's hope that in the next 100 we remember better.  



Of course too, there have been those who've left another memory.  There are those who have risen above.  There are those who have carried on.  There are those who did more with less and gave all they had because that's what was needed.  We have seen champions on every level.  We have seen amazing acts of selflessness and we all know those who have quietly done things for friends and neighbors who will never get any credit, recognition or praise.  They did what is right, because it's the right thing to do and that was all they needed.  Big or small, humanity has certainly risen to the occasion and in our world, it's finding those who preserver and continue to offer the assurance that no matter what comes along, in the end, we will indeed be ok.

This is the story of Keysha McClanahan and her group of friends who have decided that with the holidays so rapidly approaching, that they'd set a goal of gathering up 500 toys to be distributed to kids who have equally been through the ringer in 2020.  Those who's parents may have to focus more on food and rent rather than toys and games.  It's kind of the story every year for some, we all know that.  The world isn't perfect after all, but this year it's these acts of kindness that really need a spotlight.  

Keysha is a preschool teacher at  Glenside she's also part of The Deborah Project supporting single mothers, self described she's a "pastors wife, mother, granny author and educator and the organizations she's with see the need in real time, day after day and it's so very real.  Recently, there was a "Trunk or Treat" event that they held with much success and it inspired Keysha and friends to give it another shot to see if it can be built upon as Christmas approaches.  The goal?  500 new, unwrapped toys to provide to some of the moms and families that they reach to help them out in a time when it's needed most.  They are frontline helpers with those in need.  They are not a giant agency.  They are friends and neighbors who have come together to bless who they can and they represent exactly how community is built.

How can you help?  Well, it's pretty easy.  There are a couple of drop off locations.  Emmanuel Tabernacle at 1885 S. Getty is a drop off location as well as Soul Filled Eatery located at 3232 S. Glade Street.  It just so happens that Keysha's husband is the Pastor at Emmanuel Tabernacle so that made it pretty easy for a drop off point.  Just added drop off locations are MOCAP, Genesis Salon and DVG Beauty Boutique.  You can also find some contact info in the photo below if you'd like to make arrangements for maybe a pick up from a work collection.  How about that for an office or shop project this year?  A great way to help.

Keysha was able to spare a few minutes to talk with us about all she's got going on and share her and her friends desire to make a difference, take a listen. 


This is what builds Muskegon.  Piece by piece and little by little we set ourselves a part by making sure that needs are met.  It doesn't often come with a lot of fanfare or pomp and circumstance.  It's also not the kind of thing that rips your attention for headlines but this is the memory we should all take away from the year that was.  No matter the strife, no matter the fear, no matter the stare downs we had or the times we walked away not on speaking terms....there were those who still assured that the needs were met.  They did it humbly.  They did it for others.  They did it because it was the right thing to do and it's our greatest honor to once again, be able to shine a little light on those who step it up and make it happen.  We live in a town of miracles, and you're watching one unfold now. 



Monday, November 9, 2020

Overcoming Barriers Inc - Meet Kaja Thornton-Hunter

 

Our travels have taken us to so many incredible places and we've had the opportunity to meet some awesome people.  It seems a little crazy to look back to when all of this started with a GoPro Camera and this very free blog program, but when you stick to what you believe in and let those beliefs guide you, at least we've found, the stories that need to be told come to find you.  Well, that happened today while we were out filming for the Muskegon Channel.



Our amazing guest chef LaKisha Harris invited a friend along for a segment to add a little creole zip to a dish, Kaja Thornton-Hunter who's line of seasonings is catching on and quite often featured in L'Soul Filled recipes, and while we were in between a couple of takes and something was cooking, I asked Kaja if she worked elsewhere to go along with the start up and this is where our story begins today.

At 18 Kaja started he working life in a group home.  Working with special needs people who may have a mental or developmental disability and learned at a very young age just what a rewarding and valuable path she was heading down.  After all, she was heading in to the family business so it wasn't a completely new experience, but like any upstart there are ropes to be learned and the finesse of the day to day to warp your arms around.  Off to college she went where she also learned a little about what you'll see coming up on The Muskegon Channel.  

Overcoming Barriers Inc On FB

Spending some of her time working for HGA Support Services and Health West after school, when the opportunity came for her to take over the family business, she was ready.  Today, Kaja is the Founder and CEO of Overcoming Barriers Inc. in Muskegon Heights.  It's a non profit organization that helps those with disabilities find happiness in their home, their personal relationships, and be contributing members of the community.  They have 5 residential homes for adult foster care where they can help with some things as much as possible while encouraging as much independence as possible.  They have an independent living program which is tailor fit to every individual to access vocational, educational and recreational opportunities and they also have a skill building program where the match up mentors with those they serve to help share knowledge and a little understanding which not only helps with soft skills, it enriches the lives of both the mentor and mentee as we all work toward more ways of "together".  

As the smells of the recipes coming together swirled in the air, and we had another quick few minutes to visit, I figured it best everyone gets to know this incredible woman and hear more about her passion, those she and her staff serve and see first hand that there truly are miracles in action right here, and right now in Muskegon Heights and all of our surrounding communities.  Take a few minutes and learn about Overcoming Barriers with Kaja Thornton-Hunter.   


Amazing how life leads you where you need to be next.  We are always just amazed by the kind of work Kaja and her staff at Overcoming Barriers Inc does.  Helping those who are looking for no more than what we all have is truly the highest form of work that can be done and as we spoke in the video, the rewards are beyond measure.  Lucky for us, we've found yet another amazing organization to brag up here in town.  We've got another incredible cause to help champion and we've been given the ability yet again to show you the beauty of humanity when it comes to what's really important and that's our ability to show love, compassion and care.  Tune in tomorrow on the Muskegon Channel for the food...you will NOT be sorry there either.  :)  Our many thanks to Kaja for spending a few more minutes with us today to talk about her passion.  To learn more, click below.