Mission Statement Rainbow of Hope Farm is an environment where residents experience a feeling of self-worth, purpose in life and continued growth with staff emphasis on quality care, meaningful work and community integration.
History of Rainbow of Hope Farm Rainbow of Hope Farm (ROHF), a 501-c-3 non-profit located in southern Grand Traverse County, is a residence for developmentally disabled adults. The dream of a building complex started in 1994 with a small group of concerned parents and educators. The Tony and Pauline Rodes farm on County Line Road, Kingsley, was purchased in 1997 by Bill and Eileen Wooer. The Rodes farm was well known for raising potatoes and purebred Hereford cattle. Many seniors living in the Kingsley area remember harvesting potatoes at the Rodes farm. Twelve-15,000 bushels of potatoes were put in crates, trucked to Summit City where they were stored for the winter and in the spring put on a railroad car. Jack Rodes recently told a story when he was young, heating the storage building with an oil burner to keep the potatoes from freezing when the temperature dipped to -25 degrees! Potatoes were their "cash crop" although they had 10 milking cows and 35 Hereford cows. An antique potato elevator was purchased during the Rodes estate sale by Bill and Eileen Wooer and remains in the old Red Shed as a reminder of farming equipment used several decades ago. The farm dates back to 1898. Grants from Rotary Charities, Cherryland Electric, the Oleson Foundation, the Biederman Foundation, the Herrick Foundation, the Filippis Foundation, Sam's Club, the Swiat Foundation and the Knights of Columbus enabled ROHF to begin several building projects and renovations. Rotary Charities was the first grant received by ROHF and was used to restore the century old Rodes farmhouse. Fifty five volunteers were were on site in September of 1997 to begin work. After two days of removing what was left of a seriously damaged roof, Chuck and Greg Bott and other volunteers, replaced the old with a new shingled roof. Inside the home, D & W Mechanical of Traverse City donated materials and labor to install hot water heat. Old Mission Windows, with support from Chuck Ebinger, donated new windows, electricians Dave Fashbaugh and Rob Lajko rewired the entire house and volunteer construction leaders Pat Paton, Frank Rawlings and Dennis Morgan became "crew chiefs" to completely renovate the home inside and out. Roger McGregor and Todd Raven (Consumers volunteers) built a new service panel for the farmhouse, social center and AFC home. Throughout the fall and winter of '97-'98, volunteers would arrive early on Saturday, bring a dish to pass for the "potluck" and work until dark. After the dirty job of removing old horse hair plaster and lath by dedicated volunteers, Muth drywall finished the walls and ceilings. One wall was finished in cedar and one wall upstairs was left as it was over 100 years ago . . . hand hewn cedar logs chinked with sphagnum moss from the marsh on the north end of the farm. Volunteer carpet installer Ed McPherson working with many volunteers installed new carpet throughout the house to finish the 6 month project. In addition to the grants, over 450 volunteers plus in-kind donations from D & W Mechanical, Pearson and Case Surveying, Lajko Electric, Bach Oil Field Services, Consumers Energy, Thon Heating & Cooling, Dave Heim, Dan Blauw Jay and Kathie Price and Old Mission Windows aided tremendously in the development. The big barn and the old granary were painted "barn red" with the help of many volunteers spearheaded by Pete Newell and Ron Hellenga. Bogart-Sedlacek built a beautiful AFC home designed by Kingsley HS alumni, Dave Heim. The Jay and Kathie Price Social Center was also completed in 2000. A donation by the Price family and windows by Consumers Energy funded the project. Built completely by volunteers, a crew of 27, many avid deer hunters, gave up a weekend of deer hunting to frame and roof the building in just two days. Clifford Jacobs, a volunteer with lots of energy and 41 years of experience in concrete work, used a hand trowel to finish the floor! Clifford also built a beautiful BBQ pit near the west pond. Jeremy Thon installed the social center heating system. And Rod Bogart suggested a shingled look around each of the 4 entry doors, and then volunteered his crew to complete the siding. During the winter of 1999-2000, volunteers completed the work inside. A grant by the Swiat Foundation in 2017 provided funding to vastly improve the kitchen area, added much needed storage cabinets plus new carpeting and appliances. There have been several other construction projects and renovations over the years. A MSHDA 4-plex apartment building opened in 2002. This could not have been without the legal help from Dan Blauw, an attorney for Hope Network in Kent County. A beautiful 20' x 40' addition to the Red Shed built by Carl Brown adds much needed additional seating for the annual Mother's Day Dinner. To promote greater use of the west pond the LOGS class from Kingsley High School, directed by Duane Wyse, donated logs and labor to build a unique log pavilion. In addition to the century old farmhouse, the original farm had two barns, a small chicken coop and an old tool shed which is in the process of being converted into a rustic "country store". The long range goal is to have residents help stock and manage the store selling farm produce, canned goods from the farm, craft items made with the guidance of volunteers plus consignment items such as maple syrup and honey. Blueberries were planted in the spring of 2013, 2014 and 2015, over 850 plants. Hopefully blueberries and blueberry products will be become a key draw to the store. The two major fund raising events are the Mother's Day Dinner and Blueberry pancake breakfast the first Sunday of each month (except January & February) . The Mother's Day Dinner coincides with the opening of the greenhouse. These two events have become very popular in the Kingsley community. Fall hayrides, a 5-K run through well groomed trails in the woods and winter XC skiing are other events at the farm. ROHF location is ideal (25 miles from Traverse City and Cadillac) in attracting people from two large northern Michigan communities. Most of the residents are from the Grand Traverse area while others have been from McBain, Gaylord, Manton, Grand Rapids, Shepherd, Flint and Davison. Residents are encouraged to enjoy the facilities available in a rural setting such as XC skiing in the winter or a walk to the woods/pond in the summer. Special Olympics softball and bowling plus seasonal dances in Traverse City are also enjoyed by everyone. Overnight trips to see the Detroit Lions and West Michigan Whitecaps were exciting, but a trip to the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids seemed to hold their attention much better. The goals of Rainbow of Hope do not drift from the mission statement of developing a feeling of self- worth and purpose in life through community integration and meaningful work. Community integration includes traveling to Traverse City, Kingsley or Cadillac for work or social activities. Equally important is the community visiting Rainbow of Hope. Meaningful work on the farm includes chores such as caring for animals, helping in the greenhouse, lawn maintenance, organic garden produce raised and sold at a roadside stand and a USDA approved Salsa and Mustard which is sold at the Forest Area Credit Union in Kingsley during December. Residents help by picking the produce and dicing the tomatoes, peppers and onions. Community volunteers lend a hand in the kitchen. New in 2017 was a recipe to make blueberry salsa and blueberry syrup. Both have been well received by customers. Volunteers have always been an integral part of projects, from the core group of Pat and Vesper Paton, Rick and Gail Ehlers, Bill and Eileen Wooer and Ron Hellenga to the current Sunday breakfast organizers Jean Snook and Eileen Wooer and tomato/pepper "dicers" Jerry Inman, Jim Shaw, Earl Haycraft, Bill Wooer, Rob Glover, Lyle Spaulding, Duane Travis and Jerry Urban. All 450 volunteers in the last 20 years are deeply appreciated and all are an important part of the success of Rainbow of Hope. Rainbow of Hope is a model of what can be done with a clear vision, community support and volunteers that are willing to lend a hand in order to make a better life for the disabled. Visitors are always welcome. Address: 1951 County Line Road, Kingsley, Michigan, 49649. Phone: at the farm 231-263-HOPE or 231-263-5465
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