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You’ll be glad you did! * MILL POND REALTY * BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES * COLDWELL BANKER WOODLAND SCHMIDT * GREENRIDGE REAL ESTATE * CENTURY 21 * SHORELINE REALTORS Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING September 7, 2017 Vol. 15 No. 36 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Nicole Needs Your Help So She Can Help Children In Need Staff Report A caring, giving and beauti-ful young lady who is dedicated to making life better for children in the Dominican Republic is planning to spend the next three years of her life helping those less fortunate find hope and inspiration in their communities. But she needs your help to make her dream come true. A 2012 Saugatuck High School graduate, Nicole Van Loon earned her college degree from the University of Michigan and has been working at Holland Hospital. But her true passion and goal is to work with the international organization Young Life to introduce Jesus Christ to children throughout the Dominican Republic while pro-viding them fun, adventurous, life-changing and skill-building experi-ences. Nicole participated in the University of Michigan’s Young Life chapter and said through that impor-tant engagement found a renewed, life-changing love and affection for the work of helping others. Young Life to date has 32 ministries worldwide with more than 200 volunteers reaching out to and serving over 7,750 children. Sharing why she is so dedi-cated to helping these poor, yet-always smiling children, Nicole says, “Communities across the Dominican Republic are filled with kids facing poverty and lack of education. “They are surrounded by drugs, alcohol and AIDS and broken families leave them nowhere to turn for love and support. “Those same kids, given the opportunity to meet Christ, have the potential to transform their friends, family and communities,” she adds. Nicole’s love of the children and families of the Dominican Republic stem from the time she has spent there, including a trip during her Saugatuck High School years to bring them life-changing water filters to fend off disease while engaging with the youngsters on a daily basis. Her vision is to be a part of the life-altering work and compassion so readily embraced by those they interact with. “I see the young people of the Dominican Republic being changed by the simple message of the Gospel,” says Nicole. “We will meet them where they are at and raise up volunteer leaders, inviting teens into abundant life through the God who gave everything to show them they matter.” When asked why she is so dedicated to working with Young Life and helping the needy in a foreign country, Nicole explains: “I’ve experienced the over-flowing, life-giving love of the Lord and I am passionate about giving young people the opportunity to experience it too. “God has put the Dominican Republic on my heart over and over, growing my love for their language, culture and especially the teens there. Being obedient to God means following His call to share my love and my life with Dominican teenagers.” Nicole’s and Young Life’s goals are currently focused on Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic and building on an established ministry to serve the community. Young Life champions the idea of having their people move into the neighborhoods they serve. “For the next three years or more, I have committed my life to investing in a new neighborhood, a new life,” says Nicole. “Before I depart to begin my work there, Young Life requires that I raise the necessary funds for the three years in order to be most effective.” Nicole is now working hard to raise the needed $42,000 to be part of the Young Life team for the upcoming Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic venture. She needs to raise that amount by November 1 to join others who will travel there to begin work-ing with those in need. The money raised is used by Young Life to help pay for the worker’s needs, such as airfare, mov-ing and deployment fees, a limited salary, programs and operations and training and conferences. Nicole is now asking your help to make her dream a reality. She is seeking both one-time donors and those willing to pro-vide monthly donations and the clock is ticking on the upcoming November 1 deadline. If you are interested in helping this dedicated and caring young lady help others, especially the needy children of the Dominican Republic, please consider making your donation in one of two ways. Those wishing to give -in Nicole Van Loon any amount -through an online donation, please visit: giving.younglife.org/nicolevanloon. Area Account: X3156 Account Name: Dominican Rep-Van Loon If you would like to send a check, please make it payable to: Young Life. On the memo line, please write: X3156/Van Loon. Please mail your check to: Nicole Van Loon, 765 Wintersun Place, Holland MI 49424 Nicole says “Thank You” to all who may consider donating. To contact Nicole directly please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org * * * Young Life is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and has maintained that membership through a yearly review of its compliance with the ECFA’s standards.