Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club Honors Women of Accomplishment April 28
BY NANCY BIERENGA, REALTOR®, E-PRO, ABR, éLAN REALTY, PAST PRESIDENT, WEST MICHIGAN LAKESHORE ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
Women of Accomplishment is in its 22nd year of honoring local women for the work that they do – often behind the scenes and usually unsung – that change our community for the better. This year’s program will be held as a brunch on April 28 at 9:00 a.m. at the Greater Muskegon Woman’s Club.
The judges have met and out of the pool of nominees, selected the three honorees for this year, Mildred Johnson, Kay Olthoff, and Kimberly Sims.
If you would like to join us in celebrating these women, contact Nancy Bierenga at Nancy@HousesByNancy.com for a reservation. All reservations are due by April 14.
Mildred Bond Johnson’s motto is: If I can help someone, then living my life has been worthwhile. Her mission is to be like Christ, to teach loving and caring by example, and to empower youth to walk with and obey God.
This motto has carried her from her birth in 1934 in Brownsville, Texas, through her education at Tennessee State University where she got a BS in Secondary Education, and her post-grad classes at Wayne State University and WMU, to today.
A teacher for over 30 years, Mildred received several awards and honors for her work with children.
She is a life member of the NAACP – Muskegon County, a life member of the MEA-R/NEA/R, and is a certified Child Evangelism Fellowship teacher.
In retirement, Mildred has found time to volunteer all over Muskegon County. She cooks and prepares meals for God’s Kitchen, mentors and selects families for Habitat for Humanity, works with the Muskegon Heights Zoning Board of Appeals, is a tutor and tester with Muskegon and Muskegon Heights Public Schools, is planting and developing gardens with the Coalition for Community Development health initiatives with the Operation Healthy Heights (OHH) program, and works with Journey of Hope, and assists with activities at the James Jackson African American Museum.
Currently she attends New Bethel Baptist Evangelistic Ministries and acts as a trustee, advisor and director of the SNICKERS Youth program, as Sunday School teacher, choir member, decorator, prayer warrior, and the Card Ministry as well as with the Sick/Shut-In and Hospital Ministries.
In her spare time Mildred enjoys gardening, reading, and listening to Christian music. She also loves to travel. To date she has visited five continents and almost all 50 states.
Kay Olthoff is everywhere. She was president of the school board for Mona Shores Schools for several years and chaired a successful bond campaign for the schools and helped to establish their Education Foundation. She is a trustee of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. She chaired the major gifts campaign for the new Mercy Hospital. She helped create the West Shore Symphony’s LinkedUP program which each year introduces 5,000 fourth graders from 50 West Michigan schools to the world of music by playing recorders with the symphony and serves on the symphony board. She is also co-founder of the Tempting Tables fundraiser.
Kay previously served on the boards of the Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County and the Muskegon Museum of Art.
In 2016 Kay was honored by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. She also received the Patricia B Johnson award for community leadership.
She is a highly visible and effective leader in the Muskegon community. Her influence has helped strengthen the West Michigan community.
On the nomination form, her nominator wrote, Kay is one of the most remarkable people I have had the pleasure of knowing.
Kimberly Sims has spent over 22 years communicating. The messages have changed throughout a very successful professional career. After graduating from GVSU in 1996 with a BA in Film and Video Production, Kim mastered the art of sharing messages. Professionally that mastery has lent support to the reframing of mindsets, community action, and advocacy for those that did not have a voice.
Beginning with an entrepreneurial spirit, Kim was a small business owner, all while working in the non-profit sector of Muskegon County. Beyond her passion for serving, Kim believed there was a stronger purpose for her voice, beginning with the Bethlehem Community Park Project, transforming a vacant lot into a park.
In 2003 Kim decided there was more to do than just tell a story. She ran and was elected to the Muskegon Heights City Council. Rather than leaving her home town, Kim and her husband decided to stay to fight the current status quo, to demonstrate young leadership, civic engagement, and family values that support and sustain communities. Since her election, Kim has taken on roles with the District Library system to County Parks and Recreation, She has become the voice of residents in her city and in the county.
Kim sets the bar high for herself and her children, and she expects others to raise to the same heights. She envisions a place where residents can live, work, and play, a place where differences don’t divide us but are celebrated. Back in the late 1990s Kim started a local Girls on the Run in her daughter’s elementary school. She hasn’t quit working for her community since then!
In addition, Kim has recently begun a new journey to stabilize the health of her community through working with Way to WellVille and the Public Health Dept of Muskegon County. She also is setting up a summer soccer program in Mona Lake Park in partnership with the Muskegon Risers. Her most recent project is organizing Speaking Down Barriers and the implementation of this project in Muskegon County.
If you would like to join us in celebrating these women at the award brunch April 28, contact Nancy Bierenga at Nancy@HousesByNancy.com for a reservation. All reservations are due by April 14.
The Greater Muskegon Woman's Club is a completely volunteer organization, dedicated to community service, philanthropic work and friendship. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a 509(a)(2) public charity. The clubhouse at the corner of Webster Avenue and Second Street is a registered historic landmark built in 1902 and is available to rent for weddings and other special events. Learn more at MuskegonWomansClub.org.