2020 Charity Golf Classic
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Thank you to everyone who made our 2020 Charity Golf Classic a tremendous success! It took a lot of planning, hard work and prayer, but we raised more than $50,000. What a blessing!
We are truly thankful for all of our sponsors, volunteers, residents and golfers who supported GHH, especially during this very challenging year. “We went into the Charity Golf Classic thinking it was going to be a slow year,” says event co-chair Tammy Schnyders. “We said we would do our best, but we didn’t set high expectations. In the end, we were blown away! 144 golfers, 36 full teams and 83 sponsors joined us.”
Even though efforts were made to encourage social distancing and no enclosed indoor spaces were used, we couldn’t have been happier with how it all worked out. The uniqueness of serving lunch and desserts out on the golf course was met with overwhelming positivity.
The Charity Golf Classic is our biggest fundraiser every year, and this year’s event even more so. To protect our residents and community from the spread of COVID-19, we were unable to hold our Spring it Forward Luncheon, and some upcoming 2020 events are still in question. While we received generous support through our first ever virtual Walk-a-Thon in April and a pop can drive, we prayed the community would really rally around the Golf Classic. And they did!
As we reflect on God’s faithfulness through the 2020 Charity Golf Classic, we’d like to share with the community how this event came to be. In May of 2014, right after the Spring It Forward Luncheon, we started discussing the expansion of GHH’s ability to serve and house residents in Ottawa County. Joanne Jesnek, now GHH’s Charity Golf Classic co-chair, says, “I shared my vision with GHH’s director at the time, and that vision was to build more homes. A fire burned deep inside me to find a way to raise money.”
From there, the idea of a golf outing blossomed and the inaugural Charity Golf Classic kicked off in August of 2014. “We started the planning for this fundraiser with a hope and lots of prayer,” Jesnek admits. “But I knew it would be the beginning of something wonderful. That first year we had 54 golfers and raised around $8,000. We were thrilled! In 2015, our golf outing grew to 100 golfers, and by 2016 we hit a full course outing with 144 golfers. We raised over $30,000 that year.”
Since then, the Charity Golf Classic has received support and resources from dozens of local businesses, community organizations and individuals, and has raised more than $200,000. “So many people are involved every year in making this event come to life,” Schnyders says. “We couldn’t do this without their generosity, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
GHH board vice president shares son’s inspiring story
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
There is nothing we cherish more than the smiling faces of our residents. Their physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs are our number one priorities, and each of our homes is designed with those priorities in mind. If we could, we’d shower love upon every adult living with developmental disabilities in West Michigan and provide each of them a safe home at Georgetown Harmony Homes. Even though that’s not possible now, we know that God is working through each individual in remarkable ways wherever they are.
According to the CDC, 6 million adults in the U.S. live with a disability. Nearly 7% struggle with living independently. It’s our goal at GHH to meet this urgent need, and because of the high demand for developmentally disabled adult homes, we are at capacity. GHH receives an average of one request per week from families hoping to place a loved one in a home. We have families who have had a loved one on our waiting list for three years or more.
In fact, most area adult residential facilities like GHH have waiting lists. It’s very challenging for families. Those who are very proactive start applying to homes when their child is still in his or her early teens, and the minimum age for admission is 18. Because of long wait lists, we are not looking for additional residents, instead we want to raise awareness of how important it is for the community to support the critical work happening here.
When our first home opened in 2005, GHH made a commitment to raise funds in order to keep the homes affordable for families. Most residents are eligible for some government benefits (most commonly SSI), which go to GHH as rent. Our total budget divided by the number of residents is about $2,500 per month, per resident. However, the government benefits only average about $900-$1,200 per month. So, we must make up the difference of more than 50% of our operating costs.
I am the mother of an adult who lives at GHH, and I am also vice president of the GHH board. Years ago, there weren’t options for adult community living like there are now. You simply kept your child in the home until you couldn’t anymore. But once these men and women reach their 20s, they want independence. They see siblings and friends going off to college and working, and they want that life too. That’s how my son felt. Organizations like GHH and others in communities across the nation are key to providing that independence.
Most of the adults who live at GHH are high-functioning individuals. They do their own laundry, cook and help with the cleaning. Many also have jobs or regularly volunteer. My son loves his life at GHH! He has his independence, and I have peace knowing his life is being enriched and that he’s thriving. It’s very important for residents to feel like they have control of their own life and can make their own decisions.
I invited you to watch this video to learn more about the abundant life residents, like my son, have at GHH.
If our story touches your heart and inspires you, there are a number of ways you can support our residents at GHH. We have wish list items, mentor opportunities, volunteer openings and other ways to share your time, resources and talents. See how you can get involved today!