YWCA West Central Michigan unveils remodel

YWCA Nurse Examiner Program, YWCA of West Central Michigan, renovations
A renovated examination room at the YWCA in Grand Rapids. (Oct. 12, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A four-year construction project inside the Grand Rapids YWCA’s Heartside building continues their mission of empowering women.

The YWCA’s downtown Grand Rapids building , located  25 Sheldon Boulevard SE, has been around for 100 years, but now is designed to accomplish their mission.

The renovations are being unveiled Wednesday night to donors and community members. A public open house will be held Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“It’s important to have an environment that says we’re not scary and this is a safe place and one that’s designed for you to be here,” Vice President of Counseling Services Tom Cottrell told 24 Hour News 8 during a first look at the remodel.

The changes are all trauma informed, meaning every single decision made aims to minimize any extra stress.

“You’ll notice the colors are kind of muted and boring but that’s part of the trauma informed thing. We don’t have artwork that’s too bold because it can prompt a trauma reaction or for folks with visual disabilities we’re trying to make sure all the doorways are clean and easy to see,” Cottrell explained.

Another important aspect of the construction was making the building more accessible while upping security. Now nearly every door in the five-floor building has a keypad entrance or buzzer.

“These are hard things to talk about and hard things to come forward with so when we have a building that says we understand, we’re built to understand, our environment says we understand and welcoming, that allows people to come forward,” Cottrell added.

Another program offered here is counseling for the abusers. Cottrell said taking a holistic approach and not just focusing on the survivors of domestic and sexual violence is a necessary step to combating abuse.

More information on the YWCA West Central Michigan resources can be found on their website.