Area youth invited to 4-H Outdoor Experience Day


Area youth are invited to experience 4-H, to find out what it’s about the 4-H Outdoor Experience Day on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.

This event runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Dr. T.K. Lawless Park in Jones, Michigan.

Youth do not have to be 4-H members to participate.

The 4-H Outdoor Experience Day is open to 5- to 13-year-olds, as Session Participants, and 14- to 19-year-olds, as Session Helpers,  Parental approval is required for those who are younger than age 18, in order for them to participate in these events.OFFKM boy with horse and 4-H volunteer

Pre-registration is $5; participation is $10 the day of the event.  A registration form ~ a copy is attached for downloading ~ must be filled out before participation and either faxed or emailed to Ms. Stephanie Consford (email:, or fax: 269- 445-8978).

Youth can participate in four areas: T-shirt decoration (youth must bring their own white T-shirt); festivals from around the world; game design with recyclables; and horticulture/terrarium or flowers.

There will also be time for games, outdoor activities and getting-to-know-each-other.

For more information, contact the MSU Extension by phone @ 269-445-4438;  via email; or visit online @,



OFFKM helps young woman adjust after death of grandmother

Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries provides several resources to support youth, young ladies with children who are in need of housing, transportation and connection to much-needed resources.

Following is the story of one young women whom OFFKM first came to know on a summer trip to a Bible camp and then later as a student in area schools and for whom we were later able to provide no-cost housing and support of her educational goals during a very vulnerable time in her life.

Michelle began her life on this earth living with her grandmother, as a result of her mother dying at her birth.  Under her grandmother’s leadership, Michelle grew into a wonderful, mannerable and responsible young lady.

Michelle CNA

OFFKM supported a young woman who was able to secure her CNA license.
OFFKM supported a young woman who was able to secure her CNA license.

Life, however, has a way of growing a person up in an instant.  The health of Michelle’s grandmother began to fail after the young woman’s first year at Southwestern Michigan College.  As a result, Michelle was forced to take on the responsibility of caring for her grandmother, such as managing the daily operation of the home they’d shared Michelle’s whole life, as well as physically caring for her aging grandmother.  Her grandmother eventually had to be placed in a nursing home where she could receive around-the-clock professional health care.

Unforuntately, life took another turn:  Michelle’s grandmother passed, leaving the young woman with the responsibility of giving away and otherwise disposing of her grandmother’s lifelong personal effects.  Additionally, immediate family members turned their backs on Michelle, leaving her with no housing and no money.

She found herself virtually alone, even as she was awaiting a final date to head off to Job Corps where she planned to pursue certification as a nursing assistant.

That’s where Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries entered the picture in a major way.  We had first met Michelle a few years earlier on a summer trip we coordinated to Cedine Bible Camp in Spring City, Tennessee.

We assisted Michelle in the disposition of grandmother’s personal items.  We were also able to provide for her transportation needs to and from Job Corps.  Primarily, though, we were able to provide housing for her, in the OFFKM Transitional House, giving her a room, a “home base,” if you will, for the times when she left Job Corps on breaks and when she actually left the program after graduating from it.

Michelle said the OFFKM ministry programs and support were invaluable in helping her regain solid footing during that critical time in her life.

“Actually I don’t think I’d be here (without OFFKM’s support),” Michelle said.  “I’m very appreciative of what they’ve done for me. I don’t think my life would have been like this — with me having a job, being a CNA or going into nursing in the first place. I don’t think I would have been on this path, actually.”

After earning her Certificate as a Nursing Assistant from Job Corps, she returned to the OFFKM transitional houseThe Mays did not charge her rent for her room in the house, but did take a stipend from her — a program component that is a saving plan that help residents save money to have for housing, furniture, vehicles and other needs when they do leave the housing program,  That money was all returned to Michelle when she left: A little more than $1,000, she said.

She credited Sis. May with helping her create a resume and register on some online job sites and apply for jobs.  She eventually found one, which is where she works now.  Since she started working for the company in 2015, she’s earned pay increases that now see her capable of earning up to $17 for various weekend work.

Both she and the Mays count this as one of their many successes.

“They did help me so much,” she said. “I don’t know (what path I’d be on now without them).  Only the Lord would know about that one.”

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Click here to read how OFFKM has impacted the community.

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Need to apply for our Transition House program? Click here!

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Learn more ~ download an OFFKM Transitional House brochure!

OFFKM youth win in 4-H horse competition

At 4-H horse competition meet in late July 2017, several of Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries won awards for their horsemanship.

These young boys won the awards during the Rocky River Riders 4-H Horse Show on July 22, 2017, in southwest Michigan.

OFFKM has been mentoring these young men for the past few years, supporting what they learn with the 4-H horsing program.  (Learn more about the 4-H Horses and Ponies program by clicking here!)

Want to get your children involved?  For more information, contact OFFKM @ 269.476.1257 or via email @

These four young  boys, who are mentored by OFFKM, won awards during recent 4-H horse competition in Cass County.

OFFKM youth join the 4-H Rocky River Riders horse program.

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Want to know more about 4-H in Michigan? Click here for details!

Let’s get ready for 2017 Back to School

Getting ready?
We are a few short weeks away from the start of the 2017-18 school year . . . and all that that brings.

One major component of this time is preparing for Back to School, shopping for school supplies and new — or gently used — clothing.

Here are a few places that are hosting free school supplies for those needing them:

*  “School Supply Spectacular,” hosted by United Way of Southwest Michigan:  Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, Brook Learning Center in Cassopolis.

*  Salvation Army Backpacks/School Supplies giveaway, hosted by the Salvation Army of Niles: Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and 1 to 3 p.m., for first- through 12th graders.  First-come, first-served; items available as long as supplies last. Those hoping to pick up free school supplies will need to present the parent’s ID, a social security card for each child receiving supplies and proof of the school the child will attend; this giveaway designed for students in Niles, Buchanan and Cass.  Contact the Salvation Army at 269.684.2660.

(Also, find out more about the Salvation Army’s Feeding His Sheep backpack weekend-feeding program for area children.)

Back to School clipart ~ 28 July 2017


If you’d like to contribute items for back-to-school supplies and backpack drives, here are some events that are soliciting donations:

*  “16 Pack A Backpack,” coordinated by NewsChannel16 WNDU, and other partner agencies.  From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017, WNDU will accept back-to-school supplies donations at McDonald’s restaurants in Benton Harbor, Mich., Goshen, Ind. and Plymouth, and at the television station in South Bend, Ind.  PLEASE NOTE THESE DONATED SCHOOL SUPPLIES WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO LOW-INCOME CHILDREN/FAMILIES IN THE STATION’S 10-COUNTY VIEWING AREA AT LATER DATES!  Visit the WNDU website for a list of agencies that will be distributing these back-to-school items.

Niles company hiring 2nd, 3rd shift workers

NILES ~ The NSG Group of Niles is hiring, and Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries will help provide transportation to new hires who do not have transportation.

NSG Group is seeking temp to full hires, on 2nd and 3rd shifts, and claims “great pay” and a site bonus.  The company is looking to hire production associates and experienced fork-lift operators.

The company also runs a Ride Share Program.

For a limited time, OFFKM will also help provide transportation to and from work.

For more information, go to; those interested can also apply at 2121 W. Chicago Road, in Niles, Michigan, and call the company at 269.687.2113.

Find a job @ NSG in NIles,
Find a job @ NSG in NIles,


How to build strong, ‘resilient’ children

Have you ever wondered how some children who are raised in adverse situations seems to rise above that environment and experience success in their lives and futures?
Rachel Wagner, of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, talks about ways to build resiliency in children.

We, too, wonder at the resiliency, the strength and fortitude of those children, who like the Energizer Bunny, just seem to keep “going and going and going.”

Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries have become aware of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, which teaches parents, families, educators and others how to build resilient children (who become resilient adults).  (Learn more about the organization at

One way the Devereux approach attempts to promote resiliency is by:

  • Speaking positively, ensuring that children feel valued and appreciated and also learn to value and appreciate others.
  • Engaging children in daily routines, activities, and conversations, as appropriate, so that children know they are  important members of the community.
  • Implementing consistent routines and schedules, helping children feel a sense of trust and security in their lives.

The Center promotes programs for:

   ~ infants and toddlers (

   ~  preschoolers  (

   ~ school-age youth  (

   ~  adults  (

~ Want to learn more? Click here to sign up for updates and newsletters from the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. ~

OFFKM leader volunteers with Junior Achievement

Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries is committed to seeing our youth succeed and supporting efforts to see them excel.

Benton Harbor Junior Achievement w Sis May.jpg snippet

We recently has the opportunity to do outreach with youth through the Junior Achievement Program, which taught Benton Harbor’s STEAM Academy elementary school students  job-readiness skills  and taught them about entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Here, Sis. Bianca May, president of Our Father’s Keeper Ministries, is pictured with some other Junior Achievement volunteers who helped with the Junior Achievement Program in Benton Harbor schools.

Enjoy April 2017 Family Expo Fun!

It’s time for the 2017 Community-friendly Family Expo!

Bring your family to the Family Expo on Thursday, April 13, 2017, at the Ross Beatty High School in Cassopolis, Michigan.  The Family Expo runs from 4 to 7 p.m.) Gill Family Expo

Featured presenter will be Jim Gill, a children’s author and songwriter.  Look forward to free activities, a free boxed meal and a free interactive concert.

For more information, call 269.445.6283.Family Expo in Cassapolis Michigan April 13 2017


Click here to download 2017 Family Expo flier.

OFFKM youth serve the community

Our Father’s Family Keeper  Ministries has a special place in our heart for the young people in our community.Color run pix #2 20160924_103826

We love seeing them achieve at their maximum potential, and even more than that, love seeing them giving back to their community.

This past year, our OFFKM youth did just that, volunteering their time to participate in the annual 4-H Color Run and visiting a local nursing home, where they shared cards they’d made for the residents and spent time with them.

Color run pix #3 20160924_110327 (1)

~  Do you or someone you know need any of these community resources? ~